Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Making It Legal

I'm not feeling nearly as anxious about the whole thing this year as I was last.
Last fall (hopefully there will be an eternity of glorious summer days between now and Back To School) there was a sort of Panic on the Homeschool Front.
I was pretty comfortable with unschooling, was well on my way toward being mindful and living consensually, and had been reading on Always Unschooled for several months - probably a year or more, but I had yet to reach a place of trust.
I still had a need for my children to be considered superior (smart, intelligent, bright, above average, etc).

Which brings me to today.
I was feeling my way around the rules and legalities for making it legal this year. In my state - which is pretty dang friendly to homeschoolers- it's only a matter of sending in a notarized affidavit saying "I will be home schooling (though I felt compelled to change those words to 'home educating') my children according to Utah Code xxxxx.
That's it.
Okay. I can do that.

Now, as I sit out in my backyard, watching my three loves -well four, Annabelle is barking at them whilst they play- playing and laughing, I am pondering the difference in my mind today, and what it was around this time last year, if any.

A while ago I briefly considered joining the IDMWOPTAMC (It Doesn't Matter What Other People Think About My Children) group. But then I considered that I can't quite make that claim.
I took it as "I don't care what anyone thinks." Not quite there yet. I care what Eric's Mama thinks. And my dear friend Sam. I prefer that the world at large sees my children as shiny examples of a happy and well-lived childhood. I like to demonstrate. I like to show another way things (such as communicating without admonishing) can be done in a public situation. For whose benefit? My children's. Other children. The world at large. My own.
Though sometimes I fail miserably at this, such as when attending the Family Fun Day the other day. There I was, panicking, trying to get my babes to come out of the bouncy slide, as "their turn was over", thinking that behind me were a bunch of Mama's and babies squealing for their turn, steaming in the heat, tapping their sandaled toes, and muttering behind their hands what a couple of rude children I had - imagine my surprise -and chagrin!- when I turned after finally dragging my bouncing babes out of the thing to find the line empty, and no one there. You may note my embarrassment, because it has taken me this long even to be able to mention The Shameful Occurence.

Moving on...
I am doing my best to shed my "he knows so much, and he's only in kindergarten (or going to enter first grade)! thinking.
I'm not certain where the parameters are yet.
The parental pride "I-adore-you-so!-and-think-you're-the-greatest-thing-that-ever-walked-this-earth" opinion and "if it doesn't matter that he doesn't tie his shoes, then it shouldn't matter that he is learning to tell time" thought.
I'm not sure where I should stand.
I mean, I know where my heart lies, and being enchanted by my children is a blessed thing, indeed. I'm just not sure where the enchantment ends and the boast, and pride begins.
Or if it even matters.
But it seems somehow that it should.

I think it relates to the whole Unconditional Parenting thing again.
And I've yet to find my place in it.
Which is sort of strange, because usually I'm pretty confident about the way I go about living my life.
It seems that if there is a correlation between this thought/thinking/consideration, and between a more encompassing one - "acceptance is acceptance, and not a judgment of good or bad" sort of thinking.
I'm muttering and stumbling, I know.
I'm trying to muddle my way through it.

What I mean is.... finding a true acceptance of What Is.
There seems to be no place for parental pride in Accepting What Is (without judgment).
Is it possible to be thrilled by so many little accomplishments, be lit up when your child enters the room, and have them not feel a lack of such appreciation in another critical moment?
I realize that often I think in absolutes, and I really am trying to be open-minded in finding my way to the end...
The end, of course, being finding my own understanding, and being the best helpmate I can be for my children.

I think this may take a while... and I will gladly accept any enlightening words on the matter.


Stephanie Ozenne said...

No enlightening words here, but for the affidavit, how 'bout "My children will be getting their education at home" I know for a fact that the learning in all of your lives isn't something "you are doing" to your children... For that matter, it doesn't (necessarily) happen "at home," either. Hmmm... This description could get long. Are you allowed to say "My children will be getting their education outside of the school system, according to code XYZ?" :)

whimsigal said...

In your state do you have to submit something yearly about your homeschooling plans? Sorry I don't have any thing valuable to contribute on that topic.

In regard to the other portions of your post, you create such a clear image of what is going on in your life that it's almost as though I can actually see it. What a gift that is! I totally understand what you're saying about finding your comfort zone with unconditional parenting. It's a tricky thing and so very different from how many of us were raised. I also wonder where does adoration stop and pride begin.

Thank you for this post. You always seem to illuminate a topic even while you're in the throes (sp?) of questioning it.


Stephanie said...

I'm not worried about submitting the affidavit. I'm certainly comfortable with the term "home education" because I feel that we DO home educate our children. They are developing, and learning, and questioning, and growing every day, and it is very evident to me that their minds are inquisitive and that they are not lacking in knowledge. (well, most days I'm relatively confident.)
Yes, most of my question (I was very unclear, lol) was "Where does being enamored end, and boasting begin?" When should I not make a judgment? It seems to me, though, to try to curb one's gushing over one's children and their capacity to learn is not necessary, though.
I don't know.
Have to think on it some more.
Also - submitting an affadavit saying "I'm home educating my child" is the extent of the relationship between the state and the child. That's it.
Pretty painless.

Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KMDuff said...

I have so many questions about unconditional parenting that I don't think I can say anything helpful. You are further on that journey than I am. Thanks for the thoughts though.

Stephanie Ozenne said...

I had a thought about the adoration vs. boasting thing. I haven't had time to distill the thought, but I'll just put it out there and see if it makes any sense to anyone else.

It seems to me that what makes a statement "boasting" is the negative intent behind it. If you're trying to make your child feel superior to someone else, it's boasting. If you're telling the story to someone to raise their opinion of you (or your child), it might be boasting. If you're trying to make them feel worse about themselves or their child, it's probably boasting. (in case it's not obvious, I don't think these apply to you At All) I think you are safe to adore quite a lot without slipping over into boasting.

I do think that you have to be very sensitive to the people you're talking to. If you're talking to someone who is likely to think a statement is boasting, you should probably keep it to yourself. And if your child has shown signs that they're taking your excitement as a license to feel superior, you probably want to talk to them about that, too.

Does that make any sense now that it's outside of my head? (I think it's a very interesting question, and have been rolling it around a bit.)

Stephanie said...

In response to Steph:
If, for example, I had a friend that was feeling low about certain challenges in her/his child's life, it would be very unkind and insensitive to tell of our contrasting triumphs.
I think you're also right about the intention. There is a difference between celebrating and boasting.
One tries to build one's self up upon the unhappiness or opinion of others. It's built on fear or anxiety.
The other only comes from love, and is about recognizing and trying to keep ahold of joy.