We Skip School

…and you should too.

Three Cornered Hug“We’ve been wondering, do you guys get snow days?”, asked our next door neighbor. “No, we take “sun” days.”

We’ve often surprised people with our year-round school schedule. Snowy days–we do play outside. BUT we also do school. There’s no reason not to. Summer days are the same way. Remember those long, boring dog days of summer? We don’t have those. Yes, we go swimming and do theme parks. BUT we also do school. That’s how we fill up the rest of the time when our friends are on vacation, etc.

So, do we ever take time off? Absolutely. You know those wonderful, sun-shiny days, when the temperature is just right? When the smell of the fresh air is intoxicating, and your eyes keep wandering toward the window? That’s when we call up some friends and run away to the park or go hiking. WE SKIP SCHOOL.

There have been other times as well. One beautiful fall, we just randomly took a week off and ran away to Chicago to visit my Aunt. (However, I guess going to the Museum of Science and Industry or visiting Chinatown would qualify for educational experiences.) When my husband has the chance to go somewhere cool for work- we go too. (Again, arguably still school.) When my mom had surgery and needed help, when my sister was in a car accident- WE SKIPPED SCHOOL.

That’s the great thing about homeschooling, the great thing about doing school the way we do: a flexible schedule. There’s such a freedom in it. We can take off and not sweat it. Do I want my child to know that learning is important? YES. However, I also want him to know that enjoying life is equally important. I want him to realize that there’s more to know than what can be learned inside of four walls.


A Boy, a Bike, and a Bribe: Father Knows Best?

Photo Credit: Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo

Photo Credit: Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo

Sweat was running down my…everything. I panted in the hot sun as I ran alongside my son’s bicycle, holding on to the handlebars and seat. As I labored, little Mr. Car Lover, was smiling and looking around from his perch on the bicycle seat, chanting out the names of the different vehicles he saw. “Cadillac Escalade, Honda CR-V, Buick Rendezvous…” I looked down–


Argh! Here was my almost 7 year old child, still with training wheels, and no ambition to attempt a two-wheeler. Usually, I believe in letting kids go at their own pace, but there were three problems with this.

1. He was about to need a bigger bike, he was out growing his current model.
2. I was imagining how much harder it would be to run alongside a teenager’s bike.
3. It just seems to me that riding a bike falls into that category of “Things you’re expected to know”.
4. (Who’s counting?) My pride might have played a smallish part.

When his Dad came home one evening, I expressed my frustrations with the whole thing, and so he took matters into his hands. That weekend, he took our son out front and marched back in triumphantly about 20 minutes later, announcing that said son had ridden to the end of the block by himself! “HOW DID YOU MANAGE THAT!?”, I asked incredulously. “Offered him $20 bucks if he could get to the end of the street.”

I was crazed! Not only am I wholly against bribing kids, but he was able to do something I had utterly failed at! And the child wasn’t even very interested in money!

Just the other day, I was reminded of this story which is why I’m telling it now. Looking back, I’d say it’s a good example of the fact that a father’s methods, however different, are not necessarily wrong. In fact, they may be just the thing your child needs. However, I do want to mention that, however effective this was, it’s not something we’ve adopted as a regular practice. 🙂


*SEND* Oh yeaaahhh. With just one click I had emailed my husband a link which guaranteed us spot in the Homeowner’s Hall of Fame. With this expert advice discovered on Pinterest, I would propel us to new levels of lawn awesomeness.

The plan was fairly simple, pick up a few natural lawn products, apply at the scheduled times, and by the end of the summer we’d be answering phone calls from Home and Garden magazine. Well, while there was no actual guarantee of that, I was fairly sure it would happen that way.

Late spring found us at the lawn & garden center,  as we went through trying find the items on the list. Gypsum to loosen the soil, soil activator to….activate the soil, and Chickity-Doo-Doo. Whoa! Which aisle is that in?!

“Do you need help finding something?”  Hmm, how do you ask for Chickity-Doo-Doo with a straight face? “No thanks. I think we’ve got it.”

We finally found it and headed back home, all the while sniffing a little to see if the…ahem…C-D-D… had any odor.  It really didn’t smell like too much in the bag there and the smell it did have was certainly not as one would think. Maybe because it was dried out, I reasoned, the odor was mostly gone.

And so, we began our yard’s new beauty regimen a few days later with the gypsum. That went fine, and so did the soil activator. Our lawn looked so…activated. We were pretty sure of it. The final ingredient was to be applied in August, and so it waited in our garage.

As August rolled around here recently, I mentioned to said husband that it was time to apply the finishing touch on our lawn. He mowed first, and then had our son shoot the poultry produced fertilizer around with the spreader.

A short while later, I flung the garage door open and was slapped in the face by a pungent odor. Now, if you have a husband, children, or maybe pets you know that this is not all that unusual. Still, this was not your typical kind of whiffy. This was a whole new kind of whiffy to me, a whole new level even.

I saw my husband sitting in the garage with the big door open, trying to cool off. “What’s that smell?” I asked, wondering what he had eaten and how the smell had so filled the garage. “It’s the Chickity-Doo-Doo! -Look every fly in the neighborhood is out here!” And sure enough, as I looked past him, out the garage door and into the yard, it looked like some kind of plague had come. It was unreal.

Gagging, I stumbled back into the house. It seemed like I had read in the reviews before that what smell there was would subside in a couple of days. “What smell there was?” The understatement of the century.

The next day I had forgotten about our little issue, and had decided to go out to check on my garden out back. I opened the door, and smack! There it was again. I looked down at my bare feet and frowned. Even though I couldn’t see that stuff, I certainly didn’t want to walk on it. After donning some shoes, I went poking around the back yard.

What was that? I heard something. The neighbor! He had come out to edge and mow his lawn. I couldn’t bear it if he asked, “Do you smell something funny around here?”– couldn’t bear to admit to him that the torture he was about to endure was our fault. When he disappeared into his shed for a moment, I slipped quickly back into the house. Peeking around the curtain, I spied as he began to trim along the fence, and tried to see if I could detect any nose twitching or sniffing. Hey- did you see that?

I then decided to look at some more online reviews and see if anyone else had this trouble. A few clicks took me to Amazon’s review page for Chickity-Doo-Doo, where I learned that the term “Pee uuw!” has more than two letters. Another reviewer retorted, “I’d think twice before spreading this on grass without top dressing to cover the stink.” ….Interesting. Apparently, I was short one think. It hadn’t been on the lawn “to do” list. Finally, there was the shopper who advised, “if you use the entire bag in one area like your backyard… you will not be able to tolerate the smell for about 2-3 days. I recommend using it right before you go away for the weekend.”

Thank you, I think I’ll do that next time. Maybe the Home & Garden people won’t get here until the smell is gone and I get back.