EVERYONE DOESN’T AGREE WITH MY CHOICE TO HOMESCHOOL & I’M OKAY WITH THAT!

Everyone doesn’t agree with my choice to homeschool and I am okay with that. I am not in a place in my life where I have to please anyone except my child.  As long as I do right by her, that’s all that matters. She is 4 years old and extremely above average. She always has been according to her pediatrician. (It’s not just a mother’s love.) She is reading at a 2nd – 3rd grade level, doing fractions, bar graphs and 3 digit adding and subtracting. The kid can tell time, count money and speak Spanish. So, I don’t feel right putting her in preschool so she can “socialize” is the right choice for her. In fact, I feel it is an injustice. Her learning will not grow in a school environment. She will be stuck in a class with a group of children saying their ABC’s. FOR WHAT TO SOCIALIZE?  Socialize is the most common thing people love to bring up, as if she is a hermit with no friends, who I don’t allow out of the house. The kid has a slew of cousins, she takes Tae Kwon Do 4 days a week and has a much better social calendar than I ever have with weekends full of play dates and birthday parties.

I understand some adults live for the weekend and their time to socialize with friends. I hate to break it to you but that’s only the working class. The employees who spend their lives making other people’s dreams come true. No offense, but I am tryna raise a C.E.O, a boss, doctor, entrepreneur or an astronaut. I want my little person to live a life that is all her design, full of possibilities and opportunity. I want her to know you can live every day of the week, not just on the weekend.

Let’s face it… it doesn’t take 8 hours in school to complete the work they assign. Most of it is fluff. I cannot send her to school where she will read the words, SLAVE AND WETBACK in her school books but NOWHERE will she read the KLAN or KKK or the fact that white people were her oppressors! I am just not comfortable with the idea of her never understanding the true history of this country until she goes off to college and takes an awakening African American Studies class that turns her head around like it did for so many of us. I will teach her who she is before the world tries to tell her who they want her to be. 

I cannot leave her education in the hands of people who look at her as a number or a check instead of a person!

If your child is average and you are okay with sending them to school to learn the same bullshit you were fed, that’s okay with me. I am not going to try to talk you out of it. If school was great for you, I pray it’s great for them. Me…myself I wasn’t challenged! School didn’t teach me shit but to read a chapter and answer the 6 questions at the end of the chapter. It taught me that even my own teachers were racist, and I was just someone they had to put up with. My saving grace was my tutor Mrs. Ruthann-Crudup Brown. That 5’2” beautiful chocolate tyrant stayed on my ass and went above and beyond what the California school system had set out for me. I’m going to let you go now because I am starting to ramble. I BASICALLY WROTE ALL THIS TO SAY EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN DIFFERENT AND THAT’S OKAY.  STOP TRYNA PUT PEOPLE IN A BOX BECAUSE YOU WANT TO LIVE THE COOKIE CUTTER LIFE. It simply doesn’t work for everyone.

SOMETIMES I WONDER WHY MY DAUGHTER WAS BORN WITH NEGOTIATION SKILLS

School was not my thing. Kindergarten was a total drag. I didn’t understand why I had to sit in class for hours while people learned their ABCs and to count.  It all seemed like a major waste of my time. At 6 years old, I thought I had better things to do. My teacher got on my nerves. I remember this one time she wanted me to color Christopher Columbus and I refused. I thought it was stupid to spend all day talking about a man who supposedly discovered unknown land. You can’t discover anyplace where there were already people there. I chose to spend my coloring time with my head on my desk. My Grandma taught me about Native Americans, and how they were the first people here. I wasn’t about to participate in a celebration that honored the man who instigated the genocide of the indigenous peoples of North America. I got a chance to explain my view to the class and my teacher. Instead of my teacher respectfully challenging my views, all she said was, “Just color it,” in a stern tone.

I remember thinking to myself, “Talking to me like that is no way to get what you want from me.” I shut down completely. I pushed the paper to the side of my desk and put my head down. I wasn’t disruptive or rude, but I was frustrated and angry that she was teaching 16 young minds distorted facts. I mean, I had to be in that place 5 hours a day. And for what, to learn the wrong stuff?  At that moment, I didn’t care how my teacher felt, and I doubt she cared how I felt. I knew I wasn’t going to color because I didn’t want to. But I was even more peeved that she sent me home with a note.

I locked myself in the bathroom while my mother read the note. I was too scared to come out. She spoke to me through the door for a while until I felt comfortable enough to come out. When I got out, she sat me down at the kitchen table and asked me again if I wanted to color the paper the teacher sent home or get a bad grade. I told her, “Mommy, I just can’t do it. I don’t believe in it.” She said “Well, you’re never supposed to do anything you don’t believe in.” She kissed me on my head and got up out of her chair, while she was pushing it in, I said, “Mommy, I don’t want to do the Pledge of Allegiance.” “What’s wrong with the Pledge of Allegiance, Cherie?” she asked. “It’s just lame, Mommy. We are not one nation under God. If we were, people wouldn’t kill people and hurt children. I believe in God, Mom, but everyone doesn’t.” She just looked and me then finally said, “No, Cherie you do not have to say it, but you have to stand up with the rest of the class, ok.” “Ok, Mommy but I’m not putting my hand over my heart either.” “Fine, Cherie,” she said as she walked away to make dinner. I felt like I won! That is the earliest memory I have of negotiating.

Maybe some things are in your genes….

MY DAUGHTER DECIDED SHE DIDN’T WANT TO ACT BAD ANYMORE, SO SHE BAPTIZED HERSELF

You read it right. My 4-year-old baptized herself. It seems I don’t get PMS anymore but the week before I start my period, my daughter seems to really have a hard week. Well, after getting punished for talking back during math, saying the answer is, “Eiiiiggght,” real sassy and having a hard day in Taekwondo, we were both happy the day was coming to an end. We started our night time routine by getting her in the bath. At this point, I was quiet and so was she. We were both irritated with one another and ready to go to bed. While soaking, she looked up at me and said, “Mommy, I am ready to wash all my sins away,” very matter of fact. I said, “Oh, okay are you ready to wash up?” I got on my knees in front of the tub ready to assist her washing up. She then said, “NO, MOMMY.  I’ma baptize myself!”  I said, “Oh, okay.” Just like that, she grabbed her nose and dunked her head under water.  When she came up, she had both her hands straight up to the sky, like an old lady in a black church.  She screamed, “My Sins are washed away!” I was in shock and trying everything I could to hold back my laugh. She then looked at me and said, “Nope, I need to do it again.” Lol.  She held her nose and dunked her head, then came up on her knees with her hands once again pointing to the sky. Then she said, “It worked, my sins are gone and from now on Ima be an angel because God lives in me.”

I paused and giggled and said, “Yes, he does boo…yes, he does.”

Smh, just like that I was over it as she was. I giggled and washed her up. She wanted to hug snuggle to sleep so we did…that was days ago and so far, so good. She’s been my angel on earth. Hahahaa.

What it taught me is Baptism is a personal choice, if, when and where is totally up to your children, not you. Lol. I am NOT baptized myself. I’m saving that for the Nile River…but that’s a totally different story about my personal goals.

Not only is being baptized a choice but she has figured out misbehaving is also a choice. Hahahaha.  Aww, 4 years old. One day soon, I’m sure I will miss 4.

7 THINGS I DO DAILY TO LET MY DAUGHTER KNOW SHE IS SPECIAL TO ME

1) We cook together.

I make 3 meals a day and snacks. For at least 1 of those meals, I recruit a little helper. I notice giving her jobs that have to do with the family meals gives her pride. She loves feeling a part of the process and being a helper. She eats better when she has helped make the food as well.

2) I tell her I love her.

Not a day goes by without me saying, “I love you!” I never want her to have any doubt in her mind how I feel for her, so every chance I get, I let her know. I tell her, “I’m really proud of the way you did your school work today or put away your socks.” I notice this kind of praise leads her to doing more positive things the next day. (Works most of the time.)

3) Children love hugs and to be rubbed.

Give lots of hugs, rub their back. Kids never get too old for a positive physical touch from their parents. Always hug your children before you or they leave, when they come home and before bed.

4) We don’t watch much TV. We read together.

Since the day I found out I was pregnant I have been reading to my daughter.

We read for fun just as much as we read for school and she loves it. Instead of making it a chore, we go on shopping sprees to the bookstore where she goes in and picks out her own books.

5) We use technology as a teaching tool. We limit YouTube.

Electronics can be a huge distraction not only for my daughter but also for myself. For 1 week stay conscious of your screen time. You will be surprised when you realize how much time you could have been spending with your kids.

6) Listen to your children when they talk.

I have a daughter that runs her mouth all day long, even when we are trying to homeschool. I know firsthand it’s hard to actually listen to everything that comes out of your child’s mouth, but I try really hard to pay attention because children are so pure that they speak from the heart. So, you get to learn their desires, fears and about their mental health daily if you just take the time to listen.

7) Make bedtime special.

I do my best to keep our routine. It allows for extra time to chat, catch up on feelings, read a book and pray. This is the time my daughter will open up and say either today was a good day or sometimes, “Mommy, I am sorry for being bad. Tomorrow will be a better day.” I don’t have to prompt it. Bedtime is her reflection time of the day. Since I homeschool, it’s often the time when I ask her what subject she would like to start with in the morning. I have noticed when I let her pick the subject, there is less resistance.

A FISH SITTER?

It’s that time of the year again where I am looking to escape to a tropical beach. Only this year is different. I have to find someone to babysit our daughter’s fish, Molly! No joke, a fish sitter! My daughter said, “Mommy, you are forgetting you have to get another plane ticket.” I said, “For who?” She said, “Mom, we can’t leave Molly.” I looked down and wasn’t sure whether to laugh or get irritated but her little face was so serious. I said, “Honey, don’t worry. Molly will be okay…” Then, I started to think will she really be okay? She’s a fish! F@CK my life, a fish… My daughter would be devastated if we come back and Molly is belly up. I couldn’t be the only mom in history with a fish dilemma.

Now, I did know they have dog sitters and animal hotels. The thoughts in my head started to race. I have to call around to see if they take fish too! LOL. My daughter is 4 years old, so asking one of her playmates to keep Molly is probably not a good idea since the kid already has anxiety about her being alive when we get home.

Awww, get your child a pet they say.  It will be fun. Don’t fall for it! As I am browsing the world wide web for ideas I find there is a site called petsitter.com and there are actually people who babysit any animal, hahahah, including fish! They come to your home. Mmmh, I dunno how I feel about having a stranger in my home to look after a fish.

Then, I find Petco has something called Betta-Vacation Feeder for $3.59. BINGO! Petco for the win!!! Bells literally went off in my head. I am more comfortable with Molly staying in her own home and getting to eat than having a stranger in my home to feed the fish or buying another plane ticket for Molly like my daughter suggested, lol!

I was really sitting there thinking well, maybe I can pack the fish bowl and put Molly back in the little plastic cup she came in. It does have a lid. How ridiculous will it be tryna walk through the airport with a kid, a fish and luggage? (Would the airlines even allow that? I have no idea.) But Molly will be staying home. Thank you, Petco and thank you to the world wide web for all the resources for a Betta fish!

Sometimes I have to laugh as I think, this is not my life. Then, I remember my life has always been this ridiculous, it’s just taken a much more entertaining turn for me. Enjoy your children, enjoy their pets, just enjoy every moment. Our sweet girl, Molly is still swimming at home while I’m trying to swim on somebody’s tropical beach! I pray she makes it while we are enjoying our vacay! I will keep you posted. Wish us luck, I need all the positive vibes I can get!

JUST LIKE THAT I HAVE A LIL CHAMPIONS GREEN BELT

I’m amazed and proud my daughter is so committed at the tender age of 4 years old. Just a month shy of her 1-year anniversary of taking Tae Kwon Do, she took her green belt test. I was really worried because we moved after her first 2 months of taking class and she had to start at a new dojo with new masters. She earned 2 white belts with numerous stripes, but I was afraid she was going to be discouraged. My fears were not projected onto her because she felt none of the pressure that I did for her. (Again, my anxiety is not hers. Thank God.) Her Tia Jacelyn bought her a belt rack for her birthday and she loves it. She looks at it daily and it’s helping her count down the time to her black belt! When she is in her room playing, it is a reminder of her goals.

4 days a week my daughter is at Tae Kwon Do on time, dressed, on the mat in first position, focused and ready to start class. Often, she is the only kid who shows up for her class and she has learned to take advantage of the one on one time with her master. To my surprise she said to him, “I’m ready. I know I can pass my green belt test”. He allowed her to do it. It took 7 LONG minutes. She was focused and determined though the whole test. I don’t know if I have ever been so nervous and proud at the same time. The look on her face when he said, “Good job,” was everything! She turned around and looked at me with the biggest smile when he walked away to get the green belt. Then she turned back around and tried to look focused, but she was smiling so hard her Master couldn’t help but to smile back.

I always tell her, “Mommy is proud of you baby but it’s more important for you to be proud of yourself.” At that moment, I could see it. She was super proud of herself! After he put the green belt on her he handed her the yellow belt and said, “Take this to your mom.” I got a chance to hug and kiss her and say, “Good job.”  It was only a second before she was running back on the mat to continue class. It was only a few seconds but those seconds, I will remember forever. She teaches me so much about life.

This test was a big deal! It wasn’t scheduled but she took control in the direction of her goals. Her Master also believed in her enough to follow her direction. That’s trust and the fact that he believes in her is everything. It was more confirmation for me that our move was right. Prior, she was in a class with 30 other children, so she wasn’t getting the 1 on 1 time with a master I was paying $150 a month for. We lucked up and found the right school this time.

I truly believe this world would be a marvelous place if everyone knew how powerful they really are. For my child, Tae Kwon Do helps her connect with her power. I hope you all help your children find an interest that helps them connect with their power.

MOMMY IS PROUD OF YOU SCOOTCHA. KEEP LIVING YOUR DREAMS!

DAILY MENTAL HEALTH CHECK

I think it’s important to be transparent with how you are feeling so that everyone in the house is on the same page. Being a homeschool mom, sometimes, the relationship between parenthood and teacher isn’t always a happy one for my child or myself. When we are transparent with how we are feeling we are better able to aid in each other’s journey.

There is something about female hormones and mood swings that doesn’t always mix. Yes, she may be 4 but she is fierce and mighty.  I have to remind myself that nobody wakes up happy every single day and everyone is entitled to bad days… even a 4-year-old!

So that I can keep a grip on how she is feeling, part of her morning work is to draw a silly face about her mood on the top of a worksheet. After I grade the worksheet, I hand it back to her with my mood on it as well. Sometimes we laugh… other times we share a hug and an encouraging word! Either way we are able to be on the same page.

An extra 2 minutes with this chart helps me stay in tune with my daughter’s inner self!

NATIVITY ACTIVITIES

So, with 6 days till Christmas my daughter shows up to her desk and decides her name is Mary. As in the Virgin Mary, with a scarf over her head and all. Sometimes I really feel I’m not mature enough to be her mother. Instead of correcting her, I was impressed she knew how to spell Mary.

That’s the great thing about homeschooling. I have 1 student, so I know whose paper it is. She read the paper perfectly the first try and answered the questions. So, what if her name is Mary today? Hahahaha….

Well, maybe the fact she is walking around with a baby doll calling him Baby Jesus is something we will have a talk about tomorrow, if this carries over after today.

It all started with a field trip that my community creates for the children. It’s amazing, they literally recreated Bethlehem! They made old school crafts with the children, taught them to make flour from grains, put on a play, they made perfume from herbs and prayers for the kids were optional. It was a beautiful experience for her, whether you are religious or not. She learned a lot of history and the way the olden days really were. Best part of all, it was free!

Nativity2

I understand what works in my house isn’t for everyone. We celebrate everything, Chanukah, Christmas & Kwanzaa and are looking forward to Chinese New Year. I use all holidays as teaching tools. Introducing her to the world early, will help her understand different cultures and respect them. I think the greatest lesson of all is watching her be so empathetic to everyone’s beliefs. Religion is really about kindness and for us kindness is key!

Let me go back and finish teaching MARY!! Please share your funny homeschooling experiences.  I can’t be the only mother whose child changed their name, right?

YES, I AM THE BAD PARENT WHO TOLD MY CHILD SANTA ISN’T REAL

Don’t worry she won’t spoil it for your children… she will play along for their sake. She plays along for my mother who comes from the school of if you don’t believe, you don’t receive.

Bottom line, I couldn’t let my sweet child believe a fat, white man was going to bring her gifts every year for free. It in my opinion, that was setting her up for failure! Yes, black people, pipe it down.  I know I coulda told her Santa was black and took her to the hood to see a black Santa. Realistically turn on TV, look at pajamas and the decorations when you walk your child in the store. I have black Santas all over my house, thanks to my mom painting them, but the images of Santa thrown in our children’s faces everywhere is a white man.

She was smart enough to ask me if he was like Mickey Mouse…I giggled and told her, “Exactly honey, he is a character!”

She said, “Mommy, Uncle Chris lives in Thailand and Uncle Avreeayl lives in Singapore, we live in the USA, it’s impossible for him to get to everyone’s house in 1 night.”  (She knows how long those plane rides are.)

I giggled again and said, “You are too smart for your own good”. Then I whispered “The spirit of Santa is real. It’s all about giving and doing nice things for other people because everyone deserves nice things”. She smiled and said, “Mom, I want to be Santa.  Can we buy gifts for the kids in the orphanages?  They don’t have anyone to be Santa for them”. “Of course, we can,” I told her.

Regardless of your opinion about me telling my kid the truth, I did something right because her heart is pure and golden. She bought gifts to give to children in need (tried to use her own money but I wouldn’t let her). This is the second year for giving presents to children in need. This was her idea with no prompts from me, but from her own heart! She will grow up to be a self-thinker and know it’s okay not to be a sheep. At 4 years old, she is empathetic

to others in need. So, I will be that bad parent any day!

SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO RUN AWAY!

Every once in a while, I just…can’t! I can’t do life. Hahaha.  So, I quit and do something completely irresponsible as a parent! Yes, it was a school day and it was a little cold outside, but you know what, life is short. Ima enjoy it and I’m going to make sure she’s enjoying it to!

Sure, there were emails to answer, work to do and phone calls to make but guess what they will still be there tomorrow. The look on her face when she realized we were going to Disneyland was everything.

Southern Californians are terrified of drizzle and cold.  So, with a 20% chance of rain and 55 degrees on a Wednesday, Disneyland was perfect! Our longest wait was 15 minutes for It’s A Small World. No fast passes needed this trip.

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When it’s all over, all we have are memories. Ima do my damnedest to make sure we have great ones. Believe it or not, we spent an entire day there. My daughter and I ate lunch and dinner, came home with a few treats of her choice and I only spent like $300.00, including paying for VIP parking. I think I did pretty good! I understand everyone can’t do Disneyland but an ice cream date, a trip to the bookstore or library are all amazing dates to share with your little ones. Live it up and keep it fun.