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!

  • Tiff

    I’ve already been homeschooling my oldest for a year… but this will give everyone an idea of how our typical day goes… one day when my husband came home from work and asked our oldest how his day was his reply was “Great Daddy! Mommy only yelled at me ONE time today!!!”

  • http://www.thewinedarksea.com/ Melanie B

    Oh good. I really want this book but I’m trying not to buy more books right now. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the Amazon page and then stopped myself from buying it. Only to be back the next day.

    So what terrifies me most when the idea of homeschooling comes up?

    The idea that some day it will require more of me than just reading my kids my favorite novels and poems.

    That in fact it will prevent me from reading my favorite novels and poems and from writing and basically from having any free time at all to myself.

    That my kids will all be antisocial and weird and people will blame it on homeschooling.

    That my kids will someday hate me for homeschooling them.

  • Carolyn Svellinger

    What terrifies me the most about homeschooling is perhaps my body’s tolerance level to caffeine will surpass its capacity to contain such a ludicrous amount and then I’ll just have to walk around with a caffeine i.v. or something to that effect while we are rattling off times tables.
    I need from this book what coffee will not give me. Halp.

  • Katherine

    What terrifies me the most about homeschooling? Doing it wrong. The problem is I’m not sure what the “wrong” way to do it is. There are so many ways to homeschool and I believe they can all, or almost all, work well depending on the individuals involved. You don’t know if you’ve picked the wrong way until you are already suffering the consequences.

    The biggest wrong that scares me is focusing so much on getting the academic side done, either to cover ourselves from nosy regulation or to make me FEEL like I’ve made my kids learn something, that something else gets lost like their natural wonder or their love of learning or their childhood joy only to be replaced by resentment of learning and resentment of me.

    Being responsible for young souls is not easy and there is a lot to take into consideration, balance and be accountable for – what terrifies me most is not finishing with healthy, holy, happy, well-educated adults.

  • Courtney Nelles

    My kid is still -1 weeks (as in, my due date is in a week… please let the baby be born by then….) but I’m terrified of all the judgey comments from people who say I’m ruining my kids lives by homeschooling them. Even though my own husband was homeschooled for a couple years and he’s just fine! Gah. Great. Now I’m thinking about it and freaking out. Thanks Calah.

    I can just hear my husband’s voice in the back of my head telling me not to care what other people think. It’s annoying.

  • Brigitte

    My soon-to-be-married daughter and her fiancé are considering homeschooling, so I would like to give them this book. As it is, I homeschooled her and her three sisters, basically until high school, when I thought the balance of advantage tipped toward the challenge and accountability of school. I was more influenced by the un-schooling movement and felt my children enabled my husband and me to be even more ourselves. We taught and read what we liked, while covering the minimum basics. We traveled and played. It was not drudgery. One big factor was that my husband worked crazy shifts as an ER doctor and I couldn’t bear for them to be cooped up in school when he was free, and vice versa.

    My youngest daughter just graduated from college. They all have.

    However I would never recommend it if you felt you were losing your sanity.

  • Brigitte

    I forgot to,say that New jersey was the easiest state to homeschool in. That helped a lot. Move here, y’all, it’s much nicer than you’d think!

  • Magdalen

    I don’t need the book, but since I’m an active (homeschooled!) grammar student I will be annoying and answer your whom and who question. When you said “who I LOVE” it should have been “whom”, because what you’re really saying is “I love [this object]” and “whom” is the objective case pronoun. But when you said “who could probably teach me….” using “who” is correct, since it’s the subject of your clause.

    P.S. I love your blog!

  • CS

    I finally stopped homeschooling and put my oldest — a
    self-taught reader at 3– in school at age 8. My real reason then,
    besides, suicidal thoughts (also not joking, Calah, I Get It, b’lieve..)
    was “That kid has to realize he is NOT the center of the universe.”

    Homeschooling is still an option for us. Right now they are all–except the youngest– splashing around in the cesspool of public school, and I don’t feel guilty; I just feel the moral obligation to keep regularly evaluating whether it is *still* the best option for this child, this year, and that eval includes assessing whether the school itself ought to be replaced with another. I recognize, for example, that my need to NOT homeschool was very real 3 years ago, and it might not be the same in another year or two. I also recognize my calculations might be far different for a girl child if I had one.

    It is hard to be a parent!

    • CS

      Oh, snap! These comments were supposed to be funny?

  • alliespeier

    I’m afraid my second born and I would murder each other within the first week.


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