Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Goggling and other mistakes

My son has coined a new term, "goggling." This is a result of his inability to remember the word, "gargling." It is his new favorite pastime. "Mommy, did you hear me goggling?"

Megan's fun moment of the day came when she was looking at a book on frogs. On the breeding page, she saw one frog on top of the other and declared, "Look mommy! The mommy is giving the baby a piggy back ride!" Ok, sure.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Lego torture

I believe somewhere out there, someone is getting top secret information out of someone else by forcing them to step on individual pieces of legos barefooted, in the dark, so they don't know when they're coming. If they aren't, they should. It could be a very effective form of torture.

But don't you worry about socialization?

Last week at gymnastics, I overhead two Singaporean women discussing their children's schooling. One of them said, "You know, I've heard about people who teach their children at home!" to which the other replied, "Oh, so bad lah!" and they continued in that vein for a few minutes.

It seems in the last few weeks I have had numerous occasions for people to express their shock and disbelief that I homeschool my children in the form of various questions and statements such as, "You must be really brave!" (no, I'm not) or, "I don't have the patience for that" (neither do I) or "how do you do it?!" A common objection to homeschool seems to be that you're isolating your children from others and denying them socialization so that they will grow up to be academically competent yet socially inept. With my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, let me just tell you what I did this week in homeschool in an attempt to "socialize" my children and avoid such pitfalls:
Monday: I picked on them for what they were wearing
Tuesday: I stole their backpacks and played keep away with them in the middle
Wednesday: I taught them dirty jokes and swear words
Thursday: I picked them last for kickball during recess, with a strong, "Aw, not them!" comment for emphasis
Friday: I ostracized them from me with no given explanation, so that they can go home and wonder all weekend what they did to lose my friendship.

Next week I plan to make up mean nicknames for them - should be easy with that last name. And I'll probably start a rumor about them.

Obviously my point is that not all socialization is good. Don't be mistaken that my childhood was flooded with this kind of painful interaction with my peers, nor do I think that's all that happens in public school, but I have to remind us that just because you put kids together doesn't mean they'll learn what you want them to learn from each other. Who would you rather have your children socializing with - a bunch of equally immature 6 year olds with values completely different than yours, or family members who love and accept them for who they are? My kids are quite blessed to have two other homeschool families in our complex, and several other good homeschooled friends around Singapore. We get together regularly, there are weekly field trips, and even a soccer team (although Ethan didn't enjoy it - we still go play there with the younger siblings). The soccer coach, after a few weeks, commented on how much more well behaved these kids are than others. Interesting . . .

I'm not trying to put down those who put their kids in public school. But I think one important thing I'm learning in homeschool is that we can't parent on auto-pilot. We have to be conscious of the things our children are learning and being exposed to, rather than just assuming that schools, clubs, friends, etc. will take care of it for us. We have to be intentional.

Cub Scouts

I was just informed by my six year old that he needs a safe, so that he can put his Cub Scout uniform in it. And right there you see the level of fanaticism with which our son has embarked on this new venture in his life.

He had some friends in Cub Scouts last year, which sparked his interest. This is the first year he could join here in Singapore, so we decided to try it, even though neither Erik nor I was in Scouts as a kid, although I did have a summer stint as a Girl Scout day camp counselor. But that's another story.

Ethan was so excited about scouts that when all he had for a uniform was a hat, scarf, sash and socks, he took them on and off repeatedly the first. Now that he has the rest, he's preening in front of the mirror with a silly grin on his face. We attended the first pack meeting last night. Aside from the fact that half the kids were Asian, you could tell yourself you were in the States. I wondered how all the non-Americans felt about pledging allegiance to our flag. Truth be told, I have a hard time saying the pledge of allegiance these days. I remember the pride with which I said it as a child. Now I have mixed feelings about "the republic for which it stands." Don't get me wrong - I'm immensely grateful for having been born an American. I just think a little of the gleen has been rubbed off. Still, saying it with a crowd of young boys who are being trained to believe it 6,000 miles away brought a feeling of unity back to me. Ethan? He's just itching to get some of those patches and pins for his uniform.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Megan's logic

Yesterday in home school, we were talking about Genesis. I told the kids that we were going to read about God changing Jacob's name. I asked them if they remembered how God changed Abram's name to Abraham. They did, so I said, "So do you remember what Jacob's new name was?"
Megan said, "Jacobham?"
Good guess.