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Cootie Free Environment

Once a week, we are involved in a homeschool enrichment program which is taught by moms and sponsored by our homeschool group. This is a wonderful occasion for our kids to be exposed to different electives and learning opportunities.

And to, well, other kids.

Afterwards, many of us head to the local park for a little lunch and play.

This week, we took a detour before heading to the park. Because I determined that my lunch should come in a grande Starbucks cup. With whip cream and a straw.

I had my 3 kids in the van, plus Emme’s BFF. Cailey and Jensen occupied the middle row, and Emme and BFF sat in the cheap seats, way in the back.

I kept the music off, and tried to listen to the conversation between two 9 year olds in the rear of the van. Which was not easy, since the middle row occupants are compelled to tease, torture, and generally FREAK OUT with each other. It’s in the van by-laws.

I get my best information when I can steal a listen to a 9 year olds musings. With another 9 year old. They determined that when they got their braces, blue should be the color of choice.

Let me pause here to make an observation. A question, really. How is it, that a 9 year old can romanticize about getting braces? Especially a 9 year old who lived in the same house with a mother who had to endure 18 months of adult orthodontia humiliation and torture. A mother, who I might add, does not suffer in silence.

And btw, I chose “clear” for my color of braces. Not something I recommend. Because “clear” is code for “yellow” (or light brown if you’re a coffee drinker) and only serves to make the experience all the more humiliating.

Emme and BFF also concluded that Lucky Charms have WAY too much sugar, and spinach should be stricken from the food pyramid altogether.

There was also talk of fashion and possibly boys, but I couldn’t be sure because that’s the moment that Cailey chose to swipe a toy from Jensen, who then thwacked his guilty sister with the business end of his Blues Clues blanket. Screaming and yelling followed. But, not by me.

I wisely chose to maintain my composure, since we had a van guest. But I did manage to shoot the stink eye into the rear view mirror at the middle row occupants.

Once we were safely ensconced at the park, I joined in on the conversation of the other bedraggled homeschool moms. And since I was WAY amped up on caffeine, I felt rather chatty.

We were discussing that all important “socialization issue” that comes up every time we feel a need to defend our homeschooling choice.

And we all smiled as we looked around the playground at our children. A 14 year old girl was pushing Jensen in the baby swing. REALLY HIGH, just the way he likes it. I made a mental note to warn her that he will on occasion, barf, but will insist on not stopping. I’ve learned to simply stand way back between pushes.

A few yards to the left, 6 or 7 boys and girls of various ages were playing tag. This game also included a dad. And other assorted kids were involved in skateboarding, rough housing, and general horse play.

This was a playground full of children ages 3 to 14 or so, all playing together, with no segregation according to age, race, or sex.

That socialization thing?

Not an issue.

14 Responses to Cootie Free Environment

  • As always, girl, you make me giggle till I fall out of my seat! Thanks for the smile tonite. It’s been awhile since I’ve stopped in. I’m sorry. Hope all is well with you and yours…

  • Yep!!!

    A couple of years ago, we were at a homeschool park party….my then 7 year old sat herself down in the midst of a gaggle of teens. “Normal” teens would have teased her and run her off….the homeschool kids…started talking to her and let her join in the fun.

    Another time, our homeschool group was partying and did the “break the pinata” thing. Candy everywhere but my youngest was too shy to dive in and get some. Along comes a boy about 10. He gave my little one a huge handful of candy he gathered and smiled at her!

    You are so correct – socialization, not an issue! : )

    Happy Thursday!

  • Totally cracked me up on the color of the braces. My daughter is dreaming about hot pink ones. I guess that’s better than ‘yellow’, huh?!

  • Agreed: Socialization is not a problem at all.


  • Oh, the agony of yellow braces! I had mine at 21, and I didn’t even drink coffee.

    I still shudder when I look at pics of me with them.

    Also? I’m glad my SUV bylaws match your van ones. It means I’m not the only one with blankie thwackers. (Which BTW would be a really good name for a rock band…)

  • Well, coming from the person who used to administer the color on the braces, there is another option for you the coffe/tea drinkers! Ask for the teflon ties. More work for the assistant, but waaay nicer on the coffee color ties.

    In our family, the “stink eye” was called “The Look”. It was so effective. My kids, not so much……

  • I still remember hearing your friend, Lisa Cauble, talking to a group of homeschoolers about socialization. She said something about how she doesn’t understand why sitting in a room full of people your own age for 7 hours a day is going to prepare you for real life. Then she said it is not like she sits in a room full of 40 year olds every day for 7 hours a day. I loved that.

    What is it that teachers always tell their students when they start to chat with each other? “We’re not here to socialize! We’re here to learn!”

    As for the braces, I thought it was hilarious that my 10 year old chose black and red, the colors of his fav. football team. Black! Can you believe that? Yuck!

  • AMEN!! Socialization has been the least of my concerns over the past 13 years for my kids. My concern is usually focused more in the line of will he ever get “it”, whatever the “it” is at the time!

  • I agree wholeheartedly with you on the socialization thing and I’m not even a h.s. mom! Like the commenter above mentioned, how often do you spend hours and hours with people exactly your own age? Never! Much better to be able to converse and make yourself helpful in a group of children and adults than to breed the silliness that often comes when many children of the same age congregate.

  • I had the metal braces and chose colored rubber bands as accents. Why oh why?! I thought I was so cool, but I just looked like I had food stuck in my teeth.

  • Sooo sooo true.

    In high school I went to a new school that was being founded by homeschoolers. My class was phenomenal, as were the two classes ahead of me, and the one class below me. But soon, instead of coming to high school directly from a home-school environment, kids were growing up in the school. As the younger classes aged, they developed the typical socialization “issues” that my class avoided.

  • hehehe Loved today’s post! I like your lunch choice. No Starbucks here although I can get a mean cafe con leche. But I miss my iced cappuccino grandes.

    Yeah, the socialization myth never dies despite every indication that it’s just the opposite. The thing that always got me was how surprised people were that we homeschooled because our kids “seemed so normal”. It was always my contention that homeschooled kids are better socialized because they’re not always in age-segregated situations. They learn how to get along with ALL ages.

  • I love listening to my daughter and her BFF in the back seat. It’s always entertaining!

    Stop by and enter in my giveaways (Sinupret for Kids gift pack and Interactive books from Poingo)