Not negative

By Mir
April 16, 2010
Category Growing

Our next group challenge at Five Full Plates is the I Dare You challenge—stuff that legends are made of. If, of course, the legends involve us all clinging to our old comfort zones, and kicking and screaming our ways towards personal growth and exploration and all of that sort of thing. But the five of us are committed to TAKING THE DARE for the next month or so, and the results are already verrrry interesting.

First Lydia started a rock band (no fooling). Then Joshilyn, who prefers to believe that everyone is smooth like a Ken doll under their clothes, shared the gory details of her recent surgery (and probably had her toes in a permanent curl the entire time) in order to ask folks to please donate blood. Poor Gray, who is still struggling with her health, allowed those who need it a bit of “the dog ate my homework” pass until next week. And Kira, who is most excellent at taking care of everyone else, has committed to doing something absolutely, 100% just for herself, even though it’s scary.

And me? Well, I’ve decided to say yes. I’ve decided to EMBRACE yes. Go on over and read about it if you want to find out how our family is going to be making big changes this year.


  1. Chris

    Yes. Yes. Yes.

  2. Ani

    I am very happy for you that you have found a way to turn the challenges into adventures. Much blessings and good thoughts for the coming year.

  3. anne

    Will you do both of them or just one?
    Either way, it is something that will change your family forever, and in a good way. Even though my kids are back in school now, and one is about to be evaluated for special services, we are still a home schooling family at heart.
    Best of luck, no matter what path you choose.

  4. Nelson's Mama


  5. teachergirl

    i am exhilarated by proxy.

    YES! :)

    you will be an amazing teacher and monkey will love whatever you decide, because it’s motivated by the best possible kind of motivation: love and hope and happiness.


  6. Anna

    Yes, that’s the way to think about it! I am glad you’ve found some good resources and are willing to give it a try.

    Wasn’t it just a year ago that Monkey was leaving a really fabulous school? I wonder about how that school reorg changed everything for your family. :(

  7. jess

    I was so excited clicking over, because I thought this was what you were going to say and “Yes!” is definitely a wonderful thing to here in this instance. I’m glad you feel relieved after making your decision, because if your heart isn’t as heavy, you know it’s right. I was just talking to a coworker (we work at a school) about kids who don’t experience the kind of love and care you give to your children, which kind of put me in a down mood today, but this has lightened my heart — lightened by reminding me that there are parents who are willing to love their children unconditionally, as it should be, and who are willing to make sacrifices to ensure their children’s health and well-being are looked after.

    Monkey and Chickadee are lucky to have you, just as you are lucky to have them. I know you know that already, but I just wanted to say it. :) Thank you for the heart-warming before bedtime. It eases my mind today, just a bit.

  8. Sharon

    This experience will be everything you hope it will be and more. I homeschooled my youngest for eighth grade, the year before he entered high school. It was also the year my middle child started college and my oldest was a senior in college. We all had more fun that year, with the coming and going and traveling and being flexible in ways we never could have been otherwise. Academics wise, I was able to provide advanced math, reading, and writing that he wouldn’t have gotten that year in public school. He entered high school fully prepared for honors classes. In our state homeschooled kids qualify to take elective classes if they want (French, band, etc) and can participate in sports. My child didn’t take the classes but he did continue with soccer and track, which also gave him the team experience with his friends. The decision to homeschool that year, a decision we made with our son, was one of the best things I have ever done for a single child or for my family as a whole.

  9. kate c.w.

    You’re right — Jim Carrey is one creepy mofo.

  10. Becs

    Oh man, AWESOME. I am so glad to read this. Especially because I loved your previous post on this and totally intended to comment at the time, but you know how it goes.

    Anyway, I don’t actually have any kids yet, schooled or otherwise, but I am a product of homeschooling, from 8th grade through graduation. Like you guys, my parents would never have thought they’d end up homeschooling, and your posts remind me so much of the thought processes that they (and I) went through to get there. My parents got more and more frustrated with the academics – tons of busywork, lots of arbitrary and maddening deadlines and “hoops” to jump through, but almost no time spent on challenging, in-depth, difficult-but-worthwhile stuff. And this was at at two different fancy private schools, even!

    And for me as the kid in the equation, getting out of the school environment was an absolute godsend. Your description of Monkey’s various frustrations really hit home for me. I remember having a pretty much constant knot of dread in my stomach throughout elementary school, because every single day it would turn out that I’d forgotten to do some assignment, or I’d worked hard on it but had misread some of the instructions, or I just hadn’t figured out the concept and the textbook wasn’t helping. And yes, people will talk about how jumping through these hoops are important life lessons for college, working, etc – but having now had a fairly high-pressure corporate job for a few years now, I can tell you that employment is nothing like elementary school. Because (a) with any luck your job will not be composed of mindless busy work and arbitrary & unfair rules (and if it is the company needs to rethink the way they do business), and (b) they pay you to do it.

    Not to mention the social pressures – as a deeply introverted kid with maybe some similarities to Monkey, it was incredibly stressful to be in a classroom situation for six hours a day, and it got exponentially worse in 6th and 7th grades. Once we started homeschooling, things were so much better – I still had lots of social interaction and “friends” time, but it was in the context of various clubs and activities that took place a few times a week, instead of being with the same group of same-age peers for 35 hours a week. Which meant I had a ton more emotional energy for social situations, and was able to be so much more successful.

    Anyway, my point is that I don’t think constant stress and fear is a good way to learn anything, especially when you’re 10 years old. And since this comment is now approaching novel-length, a couple random suggestions:

    a. Sports: look around for slightly off-beat sports that aren’t done through the school systems. We did all kinds of skating-related sports, for example, and as a bonus we found several teams that were pretty much like longterm communities among the parents as well as the kids.

    b. Tutors: especially for foreign languages, music, maybe math, etc. Brings in some outside expertise, gives you and the kids a break from the teacher-student interaction, and can develop into some terrific mentoring relationships.

    c. Community colleges: these are a terrific resource for later high school, especially for chemistry, math, computers, etc. A lot of times they’ll let kids actually enroll and earn credit, but even if not they’re usually willing to letthem audit a course or two, especially if you talk to individual instructors. Athens Tech would be great for this.

    Anyway, best of luck whatever you decide, and feel free to email me if you want more anecdata and/or info about Atlanta-area resources, etc.

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