___________ October 16, 2015 __________

Over-Extracurricular-ed!!!

Oi, my vey…  Is it Friday, yet?  Wait, it is, isn’t it?  Homigosh, it’s not any better.  Well, that’s… uninspiring!  At least it’s Payday.  That’s something, right?  But… I’m ready for the Sabbath rest, for sure.  And it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen until tomorrow.  A latter-end-of Shabbat.

Homeschool mostly *didn’t* go, yesterday.  Well, not the traditional concept of it, anyhow.  But I kind of know that Thursdays are outsourced-schooled days, at the moment.  For the month of October, Thursdays are my hell days.  And yesterday?  It was hell times six million.  No exaggeration.

Oh, it started off as normal.  We do the same things, every morning, the same way.  Routine, routine, routine.  But directly after my guy’s lunch call (which had to be kept really short), we got ready to go, and… it was insanity, from there on out.  It started with our monthly homeschool group over in another county.  This is NOT a good year for fall color, here.  There hasn’t been a freeze, so there’s been nothing to shock the trees into color.  Along the roads there are some brilliant specimens (from the cold wind in the wee hours from trucks, maybe?), but mostly the trees are dulling from green to murk, to brown.  It’s not as pretty as any other year.

This month we did art with duct tape.  I knew it, going in, so I brought some printed duct tape of our own – wood grain duct tape – LOVE it!  They made pencil cases, ball-in-cup games, and then fuzzy-critter topped pencils for their pencil cases (with google-y eyes).  It was fun, but not as educational as normal.  But I think they were going for a more ‘halloween-y’ theme – their duct tape was candy corn printed, etc.  And the fuzzy-critters were supposed to be monster-ish, apparently?

We went to lunch out, after that… and my new school year plan calls for us spending longer at the fast food joint, doing our ‘Sketch Thursday’.  And it went well… except we’re going to have to have a talk about the difference between ‘drawing’ and ‘sketching’, again.  It morphs from sketching to drawing, inevitably.  Anyhow, the theme was ‘autumn’, and I can attach a picture for you, if you’d like.

After that, we had just enough time to go home and tend critters and paint my nails for last night (Owen wanted his done, but… no).  I wanted black – I always go black when freaked out and dreading… and dealing with christians.  Brian told me NO – not this time.  So I got as close as I could: purple.  Only it’s Lydia’s polish, so it’s super, electric, freak-out dark blue-purple.  And I have a top that same color, so I put it on, and *didn’t* go black.  I was… shockingly bright.  I’m pretty colorful, anyhow – super gold hair, very blue eyes, bright red lipstick… add a shock of purple, and it’s kind of startling.  (Tangent.)  It was time to leave, again.

So off we went, to the Junior Discoverers program.  Last week it was DaVinci’s creations, this week it was electricity.  Now, I’d heard of Snap Circuits, and other homeschool friends on-line have totally raved about them, but it sounded a little over my head.  When we got there, the first station we went to was Snap Circuits.  My kids were like, “Um, NO.”  But I opened the book of directions, and started messing around, trying to locate the circuits we’d need (it’s all labeled), and snapped one down, and that’s all it took.  Just one snap, and they kicked in and took over, and they absolutely LOVED those things!  It was craziness, and very cool.  I think I know what I’m going to be getting them for Hanukkah, this year (for the big final gift).  Anyhow, we painted with magnets, did some weird milk experiment that had NOTHING to do with electricity, and messed around with solar powered grasshoppers and flashlights.  The kids liked it so much, we were there the entire HOUR, this time!

Then it was back home, change into swimsuits, pack towels and clothes and meet Daddy to go to boys swim classes.  Except THIS week (and every week that our long-distance homeschool group meets – they both have their monthly meetings on the SAME DAY of the month, go figure!) was the local homeschooling co-op that I belong to.  When I say ‘belong’, it’s in the loosest conceivable form of the word.  Because I went to one meeting, last year.  And I wouldn’t have gone to *ANY* meetings, this year, except that they changed everything.  They split the co-op into two groups, one north and east.  And everyone was required to pick one of the two.  And if you didn’t go to the meeting, you didn’t get the password to their site, so you wouldn’t be privy to the field trip information and activities page.

Which is the ONLY thing I want.  I’m after discount rates and educational outings.  I don’t WANT to be a part of a support group.  I don’t WANT to spend one night a month in a freakin’ AA meeting, going, “Hi, My name is Anna, I’ve been homeschooling eleven years…”  And then they expect me to bitch about how HARD it is, how LONELY I feel, how much I NEED encouragement.  Truth?  It’s not hard.  I don’t struggle.  I’m not lonely, and I don’t have any need of encouragement.  I’ve had eleven years to get it down, and I know what works, mostly.  We tweak a little, and play around with some things, but mostly it’s good.  And I don’t want to hear them gripe and moan and complain about their kids.  It’s hypocritical, to ditch your children to go off every month to whine about them, while claiming that they love them MORE than public school parents.  I hate their mentality.  It bristles me up.  I could be with my *family*, instead!!  And I don’t school like they do.  I don’t look at it like they do.  I don’t use burn-out school-in-a-box or the christian publications or workboxes.  I don’t WANT to do it their way.  And they certainly don’t want to do it mine.

Last year, the leader/founder (Misty – name changed to protect people.  And myself.) rubbed me all wrong from moment one (that moment where she set into laughing like a horse at her own jokes – so hard that she had to pass off the announcements to the woman beside her, at the very beginning of the meeting.  That moment.).  “THANK GOD you’ve escaped your kids and made it!”  She shouted to the group, when she recovered.  WHAT?  What is that?!  But that’s the way these women talk.  “OMG, I’ve just GOT to get away, I can’t stand it!”  or “I want to kill them all, I hated them so much today.”  And this is a super, mega, ultra Christian group!  Which of course means when they’re not trashing their kids and bemoaning their inability to homeschool them as they want to, they’re constantly using three words:  Jee-zus, Blessing, and Encouragement.  “What a blessing you could come for encouragement, and Jee-zus knows your struggles, and it’s such a blessing and encouragement that Jee-zus is with us in blessing our children with the blessing of homeschool in the name of Jee-zus, and isn’t that encouraging?”  Good god, it’s awful.  Like sitting there, stabbing myself repeatedly with a fork.

I chose the north group – even though it’s an extra 10 minute drive – because Misty was slated to lead the east group, and a woman named Helen* leads the north group.  I wasn’t sure if it was a good decision or not, because there was one other woman from last time that utterly grated my every nerve (Julie* – she was in my small group), and she was signed up for the north group, too.  But I figured being in a big group with Julie was better than being led by Misty.  Likely, Julie and I would end up in different small groups, next time, right?

Guess who showed up and co-led the north group?  No, no… guess who showed up, SAT RIGHT NEXT TO ME, and co-led the north group?  Misty.  I was happily in my own part of the ‘big group’ circle, alone – I have a force-field, you see, and people leave five seats on either side of me and fill up everywhere else.  And I’m *good* with that.  It’s a finely honed skill, repelling women.  But she came over and plunked her social little backside down beside me, which drew a WHOLE lotta others I did NOT need, over…

I’m a non-conformist, too.  You have to wear a name-tag (*gag*), but with as much hair as I have?  Nobody gonna see it, and it’s just gonna get stuck to my hair instead of my shirt.  So I sat down, crossed my legs, and slapped it on my kneecap.  A whole, big, beautiful circle of women with name tags uniformly on all of their right shoulders, and defiant Anna with hers on her knee.  It’s the tiny pleasures, I assure you.  Bwahahaha.

And when we broke down into small groups, guess whose group I got assigned to?  Julie’s.  God has a *WICKED* sense of humor, I swear it!  I was silent the entire time (after re-introductions).  Didn’t really have to participate – those other six women in my small group were in a competition to out-misery each other.  Even when it was my turn, they got off on a tangent, and never made it back to me… which was perfect. And it’s hilarious – of all the women in my small group, I had homeschooled the longest, had the most children, and the widest range of schooling… and NOBODY wanted to pick my brain.  Nobody even gave a crap.  They were all about ‘ME ME ME-ME-ME-MEEEEEEEEE’.  So I let them be.  And sat back, wishing I were at swim class.

My cousin’s wife would SO fit in there: they have children with behavioral issues, and they’re abused by their sons, and sit crying on the sofa, and call their husbands and tell him if they don’t get away, they’re going to turn violent, and on and ON and *ON* it goes… until I could just scream.  For almost THREE HOURS.   I don’t CARE about their self-inflicted issues and whining.  I don’t.  I’m a terrible, terrible person, because I don’t CARE.  I don’t want to hear it.  My take is that if you don’t like something, you DO something about it.  Not just boo-hoo about it for sympathy.  It’s a support group, and I get that there are others there who are all about being sympathetic, but that’s not me.  I don’t want to be there, and I don’t want to support them.  Merciful heavens!!!  I had no idea I was such a bear, until last night.  My apologies, you’re writing to a crab.  Who actually would rather jump over the table make a mad dash for the door, escape to the car, and enjoy the silence.

Then they launched into the evils of ‘Harry Potter’ and horrible books like ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Divergent’, and how we have to counter that with prayer and Steve Green (!!!!!).  I don’t think ‘Harry Potter’ is their problem, personally.  But then, I’m a little hostile towards christian bigotry.  I’ve actually written papers on the symbolism of Harry Potter as a Biblical allegory.  They… would NOT like to hear that, though.  (Ironically?  Found out this morning that the freaky dude at swim that took our picture?  He’s a PASTOR.  Figures.)

They wanted to know how we ‘find rest in our days’.  That’s the kind of BS topics these meetings have – we’re supposed to go around and share our name, how long we’ve homeschooled, our kids’ ages/sex, and answer this ice-breaker question: ‘How do YOU find rest in your days?’.  I should’ve said, ‘By the encouragement of Jee-zus, which is SUCH a blessing.’  (WHY do we always think of the best, snarkiest answers after we leave?)  And of course everyone used that ice-breaker as a springboard to share how they CAN’T find rest, they need rest, they’re exhausted and abused and miserable.  And they looked at me, and I said, “My whole DAY is a rest.  If the kids are practicing piano?  I sit back and listen.  If someone has a lesson, I sit back and listen to them read it.  If it’s time for me to play piano and diffuse, I tell ’em to clear the bench, it’s my turn.  If I want to do a craft, they set up their stuff by me.  It’s that simple.”  Which, of course, is an affront to them, so now they’re all, “Oh, yes, I use the piano to diffuse, too.”  And then it’s,  “Well, I play the piano AND the flute.”  And then it’s, “In OUR house, my daughters all play the piano, the violin, and one is now doing beginning band with the clarinet.”  And then it’s “I taught band in middle school.”  And then it was, “I taught high school for 13 years.”  And… all of this competitiveness.  And I. Don’t. Care!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(And I’m ranting, aren’t I?  I’m so sorry.  It’s even worse in person – you can ask my guy, because I did this whole spiel last night, with hand motions and pacing and growling in four-part harmony, and it was just as aggravating then as it is, now.)

Long story short, I got the password for the co-op website.  And there’s not a single field trip between now and the new year that I want to participate in, so it was a total waste of time.  I came away with only one thing:  a prayer request.  It’s hilarious.  We were supposed to come up with a prayer request, and we’d exchange them in our small groups and pray for that person for the month.  I *really* wanted to put on mine, “Don’t pray for me, pray for yourself, you need it more.”  but that would’ve been rude.  So I said something about being more open to what others have to offer.  (They have NO idea.)  It was a private joke.

But the prayer request I got to bring home?  It says (exactly like this), “To Be more consistant in reading my bible/Divotional.”   I kid you not – an incomplete sentence, with ‘consistent’ and ‘devotional’ spelt wrong, ‘Be’ and ‘Divotional’ capitalized, but Bible (a proper noun) not capitalized.  And that woman’s homeschooling!!!!  *Speechless!*   Besides, that is not a valid prayer request, based on 1 Corinthians 1:5-7.  That woman doesn’t need to ASK Yehovah for help with something He already gave her everything she needs in order to accomplish. Ridiculous.

Anyhow.  This got extremely long and vent-y.  I’m sorry about that.
I guess not every post is a winner?

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