Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Big, Green, Ugly Monster

Envy struck me yesterday. Envy of living somewhere else, somewhere close to civilization.

A blogging friend, Mull-berry, has re-kindled her Addie the Adventure Mouse blog. Take a visit, Addie has had some great field trips. I wanted to host Addie. But I started feeling sorry for myself because there is nothing of any interest in my small town in the winter. There would be no fun place to take Addie. We normally have ice fishing. Our town has several lakes and the winter scene is identical to the movie Grumpy Old Men. But the last time I drove by one of our lakes, there were no ice huts because it's been too warm. That's all I could think of. So perhaps Addie can visit this spring when we can hit the road and actually see something fun.

In all fairness, Addie didn't make me envious. It's been building for quite some time. I envy several things: homeschool groups, museums, field-trip adventures, play groups, parks, zoos, and like-minded homeschoolers.

My small town does have a homeschool group. I went to a couple meetings and Thomas and I went on one field trip. I then decided the group was not for us and did not pay dues. The women of the group are all very, very nice. They just are so different than I am. I welcome differences, because that's how we learn. However, sometimes it would be nice to not worry about mentioning Harry Potter or sleeping in on Sundays or accidentally saying oh sh*t in front of someone.

The homeschool group is *big* on the co-op. The group is basically about the co-op. The leader of the group told me that our children need to learn to learn with other children, thus the co-op is a necessity.

I beg to differ. Kinda. One of the reasons Thomas is no longer in public school is because he learns differently than quote unquote normal. We homeschool to meet his educational and emotional needs. Another reason we homeschool is because Bob and I get to choose the curricula. We're not at the mercy of the public school system. We do follow the state standards.
Thomas has been in Cub Scouts and he knows full well how to "learn with others. "

So had we joined the co-op, we wouldn't have had any say in what was being taught. And the subjects they did teach didn't jive with our studies. Plus, it just wouldn't work out to take a day off from our lessons every Monday to go to co-op and do things that I didn't necessarily want Thomas to do.

At the beginning of this year, the co-op had a planning session. I went, and was one of five moms plus a few dads in attendance. Another newer homeschooling mom and I practically begged to have play groups, park days, and time for just pure social interaction for the kids. That's what I want out of a homeschool group. We were told that wasn't necessary, and that they would get that at co-op. I beg to differ with that, because their co-op is school, and not time for fun, free play.

So I am envious. I'm envious of choice. I'm envious of great groups out there that I know exist.

We had a good day yesterday. We actually started school at 7:30 am, which is amazing because we usually don't start until 9. School went well, but I just felt a little down all day. I felt down again this morning. I got up early again and made some chocolate chip muffins to surprise Thomas. When they were done, I woke him up. He came out to the kitchen with a huge smile on his face and was very excited to see the little surprise I had made for him. I then got a big hug.

And school went very well. He was happy. He worked hard. Half-way through the morning, I looked at him. Really looked at him. All my envy just seemed to melt away. How could I have any feelings other than joy? He was smiling, working hard, and enjoying himself. He doesn't care about co-ops, or that we don't have museums, zoos, or play groups. He enjoys playing with his friends, he enjoys school. He gets a kick out of hiding his whoopie cushion under my chair when I get up. He giggles at silly things. He enjoys writing assignments because he usually writes two stories: one on topic and one on poop. (Yes, he's pure boy.) He thinks it's fun to turn in his writing and have me get mad about the poop story, then say "Just kidding, mom, here is the assignment."

So I took a lesson from Thomas today. Be happy with what you have. I am rich beyond measure. He knows this, but I occasionally have to be reminded.


Angela said...

Huge {hugs}, Frankie! I have had times like that, my dear, and I am sure I will have them again. It is hard to sometimes feel like an island out on your own. Even with the fun learning center, with the majority of the people I feel that I can never be completely myself. But, the kids aren't like that with each other; and them having fun is worth it for me. Are there just some fun classes he could take, like drawing or cooking?
Maybe if you would offer to start organizing play days or field trips, and you will find others will flock to it. I know that is what has helped us.
Go grab that boy and give him another hug, and remember you always have so many of us out here in the blogiverse who love you just as you are!

Hillary said...

May I ask where in Mn you live? My dh grew up in LacRescent (near LaCrosse, WI), and we lived in LaCrosse for a couple years. We also lived and hsed in the Winona, MN area. I remember what it was like being the only hser in a town of less than 1000 people. :) Hillary :)

Frankie said...

Hillary, email me and I'll tell you.

(Unless you have a stat counter, I just visited your blog at 10:59. lol)

Anonymous said...

I bet there's lots to do at your house ... play with the cat, throw snowballs then drink hot chocolate, help ds play Runescape, and ride the train ... it's just my size, you know!

I'll pencil you in for spring! : )

Frankie said...

Addie, come now, it just won't be overly exciting. Then if you're not booked in spring, you can come again!

Anonymous said...

Being on the rural side of the "Big City" I am quite isolated unless I drive. I understand envy I have it every time I find some fun and interesting thing-to-do 45 minutes away on the other side of the metro area. Its not a huge drive I know but its frustrating when everything seems to be anywhere but "here".

Maybe some of us here in the grand Midwest should start a "Field Trip" group that meets at least once a year?! MN is not that far from Iowa and Legoland is at the Mall.....hmmmm

Carole in DE said...

Thanks for the reminder. Needed it today.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I totally know what you mean. I feel that way a lot. Come live with me. Together we can bitch about what a pathetic excuse for activities, groups and anything that this place has. We'll pine and whine for our days living in metropolitan areas, and then we'll go home, look at our sweet boys and say "damn, this is a good life."