It's not easy finding someone who is from the same Truck Masters School of Language as Annette puts it (I'm the fellow graduate *giggle*), and who is fun-loving, laid-back and non-judgy. But Annette is all of the above and that's why I adore her.
Be sure to read to the end to find out how to win an autographed copy of Annette's hilarious book The Break-Up Diet. (It's one of my favorites now)
Also don't forget about my giveaway for a $25 to Chic and Sassy Design. Enjoy!
My sensibilities have always been more “Dallas” than “Little House on the Prairie”—so, when I decided to homeschool my son through junior high, I quickly discovered that my assimilation to the homeschooling culture would be as easy as shampooing and blow-drying a cat.
I started by attending my first conference, eager to take notes in all the sessions and absorb the wisdom packed into the phone-book-sized manual. During a break, I sat at a table filled with other homeschooling mothers, and began flipping through the binder. I came across a page of sample math word problems. Example: If Eve gave Adam 6 apples in the Garden of Eden and he ate 4 of them, how many sins were left?
Um…seriously? Math sins? I looked around to see if I was on a candid camera show. Unfortunately, I was not. However, I was the only mother at the table, laughing like a deranged witch, and ripping pages out of the binder. By the time I tore out every page I didn’t agree with, the content of the remaining pages wouldn’t have filled a prayer card. When I turned around from dumping the harvested pages into the nearest trash bin, the other mothers at the table had formed a hand-clasped circle and were praying for the salvation of my misguided soul.
Note to self: Not my scene. Run. Run far away. Very fast.
Next, I decided to attend a different type of homeschooling conference—someplace where I’d be less likely to be struck by lightning or burned at the stake. At my second conference, I was embraced by granola-crunchy moms who make organic pasta, name their children after indigenous plants, and don't own shoes. The environment felt much more inclusive and welcoming, even if it was a circus of free-love and Bobby McFerrin unschooling.
Out of the two choices, it seemed like the most suitable fit—until I could locate an organization of college-educated, homeschooling, exotic dancer/single moms. But I wasn’t going to bet my brass pole on that ever happening.
Unlike the first conference, children were allowed to attend, and my son enjoyed meeting kids who reinforced what I told him—homeschooling would be an adventure. He could blow up a bottle of Mountain Dew and Mentos in the backyard. Study the mating habits of the North African gerbil. Or learn to play the “Star Spangled Banner” on a xylophone. Lack of imagination is the only limit in homeschooling.
At this conference, I was introduced to the concept of multiple intelligences and their related learning styles. That’s when I realized my son’s problems in public elementary school were the result of his kinesthetic learning style, not A.D.D. as his teachers claimed. A light came on for both of us and it helped me guide my son to his current success as a professional photographer at the age of 20.
Though my homeschooling days have come to an end, a recent conversation with a like-minded mom (and fellow graduate of Truck Masters School of Language) caused me to reflect on my experience. I’ve always been a little outside of the box, and because of it, I’ve become a keen observer of human nature and an armchair quarterback of social psychology.
I found that although the utmost care is given to making the decision to homeschool their child/student, many homeschool moms try to conform to rigid expectations—outside expectations—of who they should be, how they should behave, what curriculum they should use and how they should teach. This was especially true in the conservative homeschooling culture.
All the posturing and Mary Kay façades seemed so counterproductive to the end goal—preparing the children for attaining success in the world—teaching real life skills: financial independence, social and environmental consciousness, development of aspirations and a sense of purpose, strong communication abilities, emotional maturity and an understanding of their sexuality, interpersonal relationship skills, the ability to reason and overcome challenges, and most of all, to have a solid sense of self to embrace and be authentically who they are.
That’s a big job that goes far beyond teaching algebra and U.S. history. But how can a child/student learn those valuable life skills if their homeschool mom is not teaching by example?
Thoughts? Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear them.
Annette Fix was a single mom, sole support and care of her son for 15 years. She has been happily married for 5 years and is adjusting to an empty nest. She is a freelance editor, a publishing industry and single parenting speaker, Senior Editor of WOW! Women On Writing, and the author of The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir-the heartbreaking and hilarious true story of a 30-something homeschooling single mom and aspiring writer who is working as an exotic dancer, searching for Prince Charming, and trying to find the perfect balance between her dreams and her day-to-day life as Supermom.
You can email her directly at annette[at]annettefix[dot]com.
For the length of her blog tour, Annette will be giving away free digital copies of her memoir. If you’d like a copy, send an email to promo[at]thebreak-updiet[dot]com, please put “So a Blonde Walks Into a Blog” in the subject line.
To win an autographed copy of The Break-Up Diet, simply leave a comment here (Haloscan or Blogger) with your thoughts on Annette's post above.
For bonus entries, you can do one or all of the following (one bonus entry for each method):
~Twitter a link to this post. Then leave a separate comment here with the link to your Tweet.
~Write about this giveaway on your blog with a link to this post. Then leave a separate comment here with a link to your post.
Deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. ET, Thursday, March 5, 2009. Winner will be selected at random through Random.org and contacted by email (so be sure there's an email address to be found in your comment or profile).