Teaching in Your Tiara: A Giveaway! Free Stuff, yo!

I have this blogging/facebook friend who I LOVE and who could probably teach me the correct usage of whom vs. who (since I just spent five minutes deliberating that before giving up). She is hilarious. She’s one of my favorite internet people because she keeps it real, and I don’t have much patience for people who don’t keep it real. Keep your photoshopped pictures of idealistic Pinterested homeschool bliss: if I’m gonna read a book about homeschooling, I want to hear about the muck and the mire, the crap days and how to turn them around, or how to recognize when you need to call it a day and order pizza while making yourself a five martinis. Because that’s the kind of knowledge I need.

I homeschooled Sienna for one horrible year. It was horrible for both of us. I read so many books about it before I started, and all of them left me feeling more hopeless than the one before. They all ended with some facsimile of “You can do this! After all, you love your kids more than anyone!” That last sentence would pile guilt on my despair and make me want to hang myself in the closet. Oh, you think that’s an exaggeration and I shouldn’t make light of suicide? It’s not, and I’m not.

Most homeschooling books, in my experience, are written by self-motivated women who have experienced great success in the realm of homeschooling because they have sacrificed EVERYTHING else on the altar of the home as school. I refuse to do that, because it sounds horrible and I would probably flee one night with only my bottle(s) of wine to keep me warm. Sacrificing everything, in these books, generally includes sacrificing yourself as well. And I don’t mean in the way mothers already sacrifice themselves out of sheer necessity; the stretch marks, the sleepless nights, the weird habit of rocking in place even if we have no baby in our arms. I mean, these authors illustrated ways in which they gave up their own desires, pursuits, and hobbies in order to spend years upon decades teaching their children. And the  back-handing “encouragement” of “hey, no one else loves them like you do, so you’ll do it too!” is basically just a massive guilt trip to kick you into submission.

I happen to believe that it’s important for mothers to retain their own interests even if they choose to homeschool. Sacrifice, for a mother, is utterly necessary; but sacrificing oneself in totality to serve the God of the Home as School only teaches your kids that beyond math and geography, mommy’s boring as hell. It also doesn’t respect our own essential dignity as human beings. We are asked to pour ourselves out as a sacrifice; we are not asked to then lay on the floor and become a human-skin rug.

Entereth Rebecca Frech, the most human blogger I know, the one who keeps it realer than real, the one who makes me think that actually I could homeschool again, if the apocalypse happened and I had to. and maybe I wouldn’t be destined to destroy my children and then jump off a cliff in the process.

She wrote a book because she’s freaking awesome and when other people start to realize how freaking awesome someone is, they say, “hey, can you write a book teaching us how to be like you?” So she did, and it’s called Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the Rest of Us, and it’s dominating the Amazon best-seller list right now, and she’s letting me give away a copy because she’s freaking awesome. Did I say that already?

If you’ve ever thought of homeschooling, you should read this book. If you’ve ever laughed hysterically at the idea of you, homeschooling, you should read this book.  If you’ve ever failed miserably at homeschooling and vowed to never make that mistake again like me, you should read this book. If you think homeschoolers are like this:

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you should read this book.

Here’s how you can. Leave a comment here about what terrifies you the most when the idea of homeschooling comes up. Is it the frog dissection? Teaching The Scarlet Letter? Is it long division, calculus, physics, anatomy and physiology, or the simple truth that your kids would quickly find out that you can’t add or subtract without using your fingers? Is it trying to make a 5 year old just accept the fact that “N” doesn’t make the “mergle” sound already, even if it looks like it should? Is it that homeschooling would forever destroy your sacred daily soap opera viewing time? Is it that having the kids home all day would force you to not eat all the cookies and blame it on Daddy? And because I’m all about keeping it real, every single thing I just said is something that personally terrifies me when the idea of homeschooling again rears its beastly head. So unless your fear is more embarrassing than that embarrassingly extensive list, you’re in a safe space.

If it actually is more embarrassing, I don’t know what to tell you. I’d say “I promise not to judge”, but an old story about a twice-removed cousin-by-marriage who didn’t want to homeschool because she didn’t like wearing clothes while the sun was shining keeps popping up, and I guess I can’t promise not to judge you if that’s your reasoning. You can, however, be judged by me while winning a free copy of Teaching in Your Tiara, so I think it’s still worth the risk.

I will pick the winner based on a mysterious algorithm of my own choosing (by which I mean, the comment I like the most wins, because it’s my blog, that’s why) and announce the winner on Tuesday. That gives you the whole weekend plus Monday to come up with something brilliant. No pressure, though.

Oh, and you can enter twice. You can enter fifty times. I don’t care how many times you enter. If you keep coming up with clever and funny things to say at 4 am while you’re rocking the teething baby and you want to come fill up my combox with those things, go for it. I will be reading them at 4 am while I’m rocking the teething baby, so you’re already a step ahead of people who do stupid things like sleep at night.

The winner gets to choose between Kindle and paperback form. The winner will also get accolades and lots of internet gratification, and cookies, but they have to buy their own cookies because cookies don’t ship well.

Ready? Set? Go!

  • Doris

    I just loved your post!I felt kind of inadequate for dreading homeschooling my 3rd grader. I have a 3-year old and a 2-year old and expecting another lil one in 3 months! I just told my husband we have got to put my son in our church’s school because I can’t manage it all! First of all, I do not have the patience! I am recognizing this fact about me and still praying to tone it down. Just by doing homework, we all end up being frustrated because of what I call “his selective hearing” about following instructions. Lord, help me! if I have to deal with 2 toddlers while nursing a newborn on no sleep, added the cooking, cleaning, dishes, laundry, and trying to jump in the shower before my husband gets home, so I can at least smell decently! lol I really hope to win this book because even my bachelor degree cannot equip me in this area! I have the utmost respect for homeschooling parents!

  • Elizabeth

    The isolation scares me. Sorry that’s not very funny. I’m actually pretty smugly confident about my ability to teach them things (I am just begging to be humbled on that score!). I am just already feeling suffocated by how much of my two little ones’ lives is on my shoulders and how much of our lives is just me and them, in the apartment, trying not to get sick of each other. When I think of extending this sort of toddler-exile period way into their adolescence, with more and more little ones joining us (God willing), it seems like such a crushing weight. Yet I’m still thinking about it! I do not want to send my kids to a prison where they learn the art of cruelty in exquisite detail (this is how I remember my excellent public elementary school…). I’m totally getting this book either way…

  • Alicia S.

    What scares me about homeschooling isn’t the homeschooling. It’s everything else. When you homeschool, it’s not like magical fairies show up and do the dishes and the laundry and feed the baby and take out the garbage and keep the other kids from setting stuff on fire. It’s all still you. It’s hard enough keeping on top of regular life. I’ve been sort of homeschooling my kindergartener since November. Some days we homeschool, other days we eat homemade meals and wear clean clothes. It’s sort of an either-or for now.

  • DD

    Well, most of the comments so far are from people who have little ones and have not really homeschooled that much. My oldest just graduated, so I hope I can still qualify for entry! We have a total of 6: said oldest just graduated, youngest is just learning to read. I guess that means I am not terrified of homeschooling. :) There have been embarrassing moments: my 12 year old didn’t know our home phone number (emergency situations is now on the schedule for first day of each school year). There have been exhausting moments. There have been years, early on, when we pretty much stopped when the next baby arrived and I consoled myself with the hope we would “get to that topic next time around.” There has been jealousy when other kids are in band and dance and scouts and… mine are in church and in Kung Fu and in Home school. There has been frustration when 4/6 of my children each would sound out caaaaaaaaaaat and then say it fast can’t. But the two things that I actually fear:

    1) authorities showing up and taking my kids away because we homeschool, or because we make them work around the house, or because we have consequences for disobedience, or because they get hurt because we let them use knives, or because we decided against vaccinating the youngest, or for many and sundry reasons because I just get paranoid at 3 am when life seems exhausting.

    2) friends finding out that for a while I believed in a young earth (can I post this as anon?) and now my kids do and I don’t know how to extricate myself from this. Many of my protestant friends around here believe in young earth, many of my Catholic friends do not (we are converts, my belief in young earth/old earth has followed my theology shift). OK, maybe fear of this is a bit much; let’s just say I would rather eat liver & onions (gag) than have others know.

    Oh, and I guess I fear my kids not knowing the difference between who and whom…. ;)

    Finally — put yourself at ease. I kept up my hobbies: I finished college to get my BSBA in supply chain management (anyone want to hire me?), I have knit many a blanket and sweater, and watched all the MI-5 episodes, most of West Wing (horrible politics, great acting), read all the Patrick O-Brien series (Master and Commander about Aubrey and Maturin) many times over during many pregnancies.

    Of course, all of that might explain why my oldest does not know the difference between who and whom.