Special Announcement!

Good afternoon, friends!

I just wanted to take a moment to make a special announcement: freshly launched today, in the wake of the most miserable case of strep throat EVER, is my new sister site, Mrs. Gore’s Home Academy. Lacking energy to do much of anything else all week gave me plenty of time to sit down and put together this secondary blog that will hopefully be a place of encouragement for any current or potential homeschoolers. And most importantly, for those of you who don’t homeschool or don’t have children underfoot, you won’t have to receive a gazillion blog updates concerning every homeschool event and party and project that we do in our little school at home.

That said, if you are already a subscriber here, but want to receive homeschool updates, as well, you’ll need to sign up at the new blog. Or you can always visit the new site by clicking on the “Home Education” tab at the top of this page. Either way, I would love to have you join us as we embark on this new and exciting adventure in home education!

Have a blessed day,

Mrs. Gore

p.s. please share this news with your homeschooling friends! The more the merrier…

Mrs. Gore’s Peace Treaty on Education

photo property of Amy Jackson

This is Mrs. Gore, coming to you today not as the preacher’s wife, or as Mother Hen, or as an opinionated (and unpaid) editorial writer.

For on September 6th, 2012, I will bear a new title, one that I have been looking forward to enjoying since I first felt the flutterings of human life in my womb.

On Setptember 6th, 2012, I will become…

Schoolmarmee.

Get it? Schoolmarm + Marmee (the famous mother from “Little Women”) = Schoolmarmee?…see, this is why I should never be a comedienne. My jokes take WAY too much explaining…

Even though that’s not really a joke. I’m really going to make my kids call me that when school is in session.

Anyhow, I digress.

On September 6th, 2012, I will put on my fake glasses, I will ring my giant school bell, and homeschool classes at Gore House will finally be in session.

To say I am beside myself would be the understatement of the school year. I LOVED Kindergarden and I’ve been trying to get back there for 25 loooong years.

The only thing that gives me pause in my excitement, however, is this little white elephant in the room. (I have the distinct feeling I didn’t get that cliche right…it’s just “elephant in the room” isn’t it? And a “white elephant party”…meh. Whatever.). And I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noticed it…

Have you ever felt that little thread of tension that seems to be all wrapped up in discussions on education, especially among believers?

Anybody?

Let me explain: It seems at times that homeschoolers can’t mention anything that takes place in their school life without being met with unsolicited opinions and questions concerning homeschool in general, especially on the hot mess that is Facebook. On the other hand, I think many public schoolers feel judged by the homeschooling community for not keeping their kids at home, which might lead to a lot of these sometimes-heated-but-more-often-than-not-passive-agressive-in-nature discussions.

And so before our very special first day of school comes, I thought it might be nice to put together a little somethin’ that might bring a little peace between the home schools and the public schools and the private schools and the charter schools…

~

A Peace Treaty on Education, written by a Homeschooling Mother

Let us love one another and spur each other on to love and good works, even when it comes to our choice of schooling. I promise to cheer for your child to win the public school spelling bee if you promise to “like” the picture I share on Facebook of my child making a homemade bird feeder.

Let us be kind in our speech about the “other side” even when we are surrounded by our closest friends who happen to share our convictions about schooling.

Let us keepeth our opinion to ourselves, unless asked for it.

Let us not challenge or argue with one another on social media unless we are brave enough to have those same discussions or ask those same questions face-to-face. And if we are that brave, let’s just not do it, anyway.

Let us always assume the best, and refuse to jump to conclusions that we or our children are being judged when someone mentions “an advantage” to their particular choice of schooling.

Let us remember that how someone else chooses to raise their child is very personal and private and does not need to be dissected by someone else, nor is it deserving of even an offhand comment.

Let us remain involved in each other’s lives regardless of how we view education. Every parent has different convictions, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate and support one another and show interest in the lives of each other’s children.

Let us be quick to listen and slow to speak, and keep an open mind whenever we do happen to engage in discussions concerning education; sometimes we might be surprised at how our convictions can change. This is, after all, what happened to me!

Let us pray for and encourage all schoolteachers, whether they are teaching a classroom full of 3rd graders or a daughter and a son in their kitchen.

Let us acknowledge that strange and socially awkward children come from home schools, public schools and private schools, as do the most influential and likable and sensible and charismatic in our society.

Let us refrain from turning an educational preference into a war of Christian faithfulness, and look at the entire scope of a person’s life before we decide whether they are or are not evangelistic or devout.

Let us not allow our personal convictions and opinions to prejudice us against children from any school, but determine to make them feel included and loved and encouraged, no matter what.

And most importantly, let us always bear in mind that the outside world will know we belong to God by our love for one another. If we lose that love and kindness over issues of education and parenting, we have also tragically lost the gospel.

~

Dost thou hereby pledge to adhere to this most peaceable treaty on education? Pass it on!

Homeschool Field Day – Part 3

You’ve seen the decor of my sister-in-law Amy’s Homeschool Field Day (Part 1).

You’ve seen the weigh-in and the “photo shoot” (Part 2).

Now who’s ready to PLAY?!

From the obstacle course to the sack races to the tire roll to the foot races to the long jump to the tug-of-war, our 11 participants poured their hearts and their full tanks of childish energy into their first Field Day experience, so that by the time all 9 events were completed, their hair was sweaty, their faces were red (especially Miss Sunday’s) and their little tummies were soooo hungry!

This is where my Mom came in, generously preparing a yummy lunch (corn dogs, chips and fruit) for the children to enjoy outside and a super-yummy lunch (her famous chicken salad on croissants) for the grownups to eat inside. It was such a beautiful day, from start to finish, and it brings me such joy to share the following photographs with you; most of them (the best ones) were taken by Amy herself, further proof that my beloved sister is a superwoman!!! How I love and admire her, and I will never forget this day we shared together in June 2012.

Gotta stretch first!

Amy started off the events with a super-fun obstacle course that the kids just loved. Here, 2-year old Jackson tackles the tires before moving on to the rest of the challenges…

Kate bravely steps over the hurdle…

Rebekah trips over the hurdle…

Gideon CONQUERS the hurdle (and consequently, loves this photograph of himself)!!

Next, the 4- and 5-year olds line up for the sack race…

the competition was FIERCE!

Here is the precious 2- and 3-year old division…

Rebekah (the biggest and the oldest in her category) wins, as the older girls watch with delight; this group of preschoolers was definitely the crowd favorite!

Then it was time for dear friends Abigail and Katy to compete against one another in their age division, but there was a lot more giggling than there was competition – they love each other too much!

Fun + Forever Friends = Field Day 2012

Time for the Long Jump!

Kate gets a little help from her Daddy…

(p.s. and there is our great friend, Chrissy, who helped make this day possible – thanks, Chrissy!!)

Jamie (and her ponytail) fly across the yard…

Gideon (with a captive audience) displays interesting form…

Gabbie LEAPS like a pro…

and Abigail sticks her landing like a future Olympian.

Then the kids were split up into teams for a good old-fashioned game of tug-of-war…

Team Abigail…

versus Team Katy (only partly pictured here)…

My favorite part about this game was that no one ended up crying when it was over! Smiles all around (thank God).

About halfway through Field Day, my Mom sent out this wagon full of fruit and the kids took a much needed water and snack break…

Rebekah, not surprisingly, focused on the strawberries.

Amy planned several races for the day, beginning with an individual sprint that she timed and then recorded on each child’s information card for keepsake purposes. Here, little Anna runs with all her might to get a good time written on her card!

Mr. Gore challenges our son, Gideon, to a race (be still my heart).

When it came time for the competitive foot races, Amy asked me to set up my camera at the finish line for a photo finish…

while she set up facing the finish line. So I think we can safely say it…Abigail won this race.

Here she proudly accepts one of the 3 coveted medals with a GOLD STAR on it.

Isaiah won in his category…

and Rebekah won in hers. I thought this was a great thing for Amy to do, because while every kid got a medal at the end of the day for participating and doing well in a particular category, they also learned with these gold-star medals that you lose some…and you win some. But not everybody wins. Important lessons happen on Field Day, folks.

Then it was time for the 3-legged race, proof that some things are just timeless. What was fun for Anne and Diana and the schoolchildren of Avonlea is still fun today! How about that?!

Kate and Jackson were definitely the last to cross the finish line during the 3-legged race, but they sure had fun getting there…

Ribbons were handed out to everyone for participating…

and then we posed the children for one last group photograph.

and then…finally…lunchtime!

(That’s my Momma, everybody).

The kids attacked the food.

No, seriously. ATTACKED it.

Sigh. Our first annual Field Day was officially over…

And so we thought that called for a celebration. Water balloon fight!!!

Amy had a silver tub full of water balloons and sponges waiting for the children once lunch was over.

And when the water balloons were long gone, the tub made for a great swimming pool…

Dear God, may days like this be branded upon our memories, for truly they are only possible through your love and grace. What blessings are found in the traditions that we share with our families and friends!

Once more, a special THANK YOU to Amy for creating this day for us, to Chrissy for helping from start to finish, to Mom for a wonderful lunch and a ton of hard work, and to all who participated and came to cheer on our competitors. We can’t wait until next year’s Field Day! (Especially Gideon, who constantly asks me “When is Field Day again?” before we go over the looooong list of holidays we must trudge through before summer is here once more).

And, as ever, thank you, dear readers, for revisiting all of my special days with me. I hope in the future you have the opportunity to host a Field Day in your own backyard – unless you have a super-Amy in your life, it might look a lot different than ours, but…you get the gist. All you need is some energetic kids, some good weather, a little creativity and a lot of hard work…and the fun that follows is almost 100% guaranteed!

Homeschool Field Day – Part 2

At 10 o’clock a.m., our First Annual Homeschool Field Day began! (see Part 1 here).

But before I continue, I’d like to take a moment to share a few thoughts on “homeschool” events. One of the greatest beauties of homeschooling is the freedom and the flexibility that comes in the curriculum, in the scheduling, and, in this instance, the event-planning. There is lots of inspiration and much advice to be found on the subject, but there really is no handbook on “how to create a successful homeschool.” Because that’s the point, isn’t it? To craft a system and a school that meets the needs of your particular (and, in our case, peculiar) family and to fit into your personal lifestyle? For example, we performed our “First Annual Cousin Show” with just our family because the music and drama teacher (ME) is not equipped to handle anymore “performers” at this stage in my life, and the same is true of the homeschool parties my Mom hosts for us (add any more kids to the mix and Grandmother will soon go bankrupt!); however, it just seemed fitting on this day to include our friends. Some of these friends don’t go to our church, and some don’t homeschool, but what we have in common is obvious: love for one another and for each other’s kids, and a friendship that is unified by the blood of Christ. All that to say, there are no rules to days like this, except for one – have fun and glorify God – and after that, anything goes. I encourage you to host a day like this for the kids in your circle, whether you are a homeschooler or not, because, frankly, this was FUN.

So let’s get to the good stuff!

Before we competed in any events, Amy (in a stroke of genius!) chose to start things off in an old-school official manner, just like the old days in P.E. class:

Each child was measured…

weighed…

 and then photographed, standing on an old-announcer’s-type box and holding the antique dumbbells. After Field day, Amy printed off each participant’s photograph and attached it to their information card as a special Field Day keepsake. I can’t tell you what a treasure this is to me!

I especially love how each child’s personality is seen in the following photographs.

First, Katy, fun-loving and sweet…

then Abigail, daring and funny and athletic…

then Gideon, silly and excited and (doting Mother alert) PRECIOUS – (by the way, he was asking when the next Field Day was the minute this one was over)…

then Anna, sweet and tender and day-dreamy…

then Isaiah, enthusiastic and energetic and totally in Field Day character…

then Gabbie, a shy but bold girl (see how she ducks her chin but still manages to look straight into the camera?) who loves nothing more than being with her friends…

then Jamie, with the face of an angel and the personality of an imp…

then Rebekah, finally 3 years old and beyond excited to be included in the big kids activities… 

then Kate, who is impossible to describe in one line. So just LOOK at that face, would ya?…

then Jackson, who can easily be described in two words: All. BOY. …

and then our tiny little friend, Izzy, who weighs about as much as those dumbbells. Please take a moment to appreciate her accessories and her silver sandals, which is our sassy little Izzy in a nutshell…

and although he and Baby Betsie were too young to participate this year, we had to take a quick picture of the heavyweight champ of Field Day 2012, Baby Grey. I think I die a little every time I look at the following picture…

But let’s get this Field Day started, shall we?

Ready…

Set…

GO!!!!

Let the Field Day fun BEGIN.

Part 3…coming up next!

Homeschool Field Day – Part 1

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This gallery contains 15 photos.

I am so absolutely over-the-moon excited (and as exaggeratory as ever) to share the following post with you. Two reasons. 1. My sister-in-law, Amy, is a self-taught photographer whose talent and expertise is growing by leaps and bounds, and this … Continue reading

The First Annual Cousin Show – Part 2

Before looking at these pictures, you really must read the preface! That’s an order! Click here to obey me.

~

So like I said yesterday, the night of our little homeschool play was one of the best of my entire life. I don’t know what it was, really…but the timing, the ambiance, the nostalgia, the simplicity…it all came together to create a beautiful night for our family. It took place just last weekend, but a sweet warmth already washes over my soul when I think about our show in the shed…

Take a look.

6:30 sharp. Gideon and Abigail brave the May shower to walk across the yard to our secret dress rehearsal in the shed.

No mud boots on the stage!

Twizzlers for our audience…

and lots of cookies…

Snickerdoodle, anyone?…

And a program listing our recitations, songs and nursery rhymes…

The guest table, safe from the rain, featured chocolate chip, oatmeal and snickerdoodle cookies, along with Twizzlers, paper bags of popcorn, and lemonade. Easy to prepare, and no napkins, forks or plates required.

My Daddy peruses his program. He doesn’t often come “to town”, but he’d do anything for these kids. Even postpone construction on his solar kiln so they could have a show! (If you read the preface to this post, you know what I’m talking about. If you didn’t, I really don’t know what I’m going to do with you. Rebels…).

Here is a photograph of the full program. All of our numbers were based off of the Wee Sing Nursery Rhymes CD that came with our Sonlight P 3/4 Curriculum. It was so easy to invent little skits to go along with the nursery rhymes, and it really  helped the children to understand what the nursery rhymes were about. I highly recommend this CD and accompanying booklet. Click here
to find it at Amazon!

Betsie enjoyed her program, too. Literally. She ate a good portion of the top left corner sometime during the show.

“Curtain” rising…

I seriously thought these kids were going to burst with excitement…

 

First up was Anna Ruth (5 years old), reciting “One Misty Moisty Morning”. Anna, our otherworldly little daydreamer, is especially gifted at theatrics and was a dream to “direct”.

And I loved seeing how proud her big sister, Abigail, was to watch her do well.

Gideon couldn’t contain himself. His recitation of “Peter Piper” was…interesting…

and precious.

And then the amazing Abigail recited “Betty Botter”, a tongue-twister that she memorized in TWO DAYS. Would you like to hear it?

Betty Botter bought some butter, “but,” she said, “the butter’s bitter; If I put it in my batter it will make my batter bitter, but a bit of better butter, that would make my batter better.” So she bought a bit of butter, better than her bitter butter, and she put it in her batter, and the batter was not bitter. So t’was better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter.

Twisty, yes? And she performed it to perfection.

As we do a quick set change to prepare for our nursery rhymes segment of the show, Gideon sneaks a peek at the audience…

We started with Mary (played by our very talented Miss Sunday who wanted ALL the leading parts), who had a Little Lamb with fleece white (oopsie…or black) as snow…

and everywhere that Mary went the Lamb was sure to go…

it followed her to school one day which was against the rules; it made the children laugh and play to see a lamb at school!

Next, Mother Abigail sang “Lazy Mary will you get up? Will you get up? Will you get up? Lazy Mary will you get up? Will you get up today?”

(When I told Anna she would be playing Mary, she exclaimed in delighted surprise “Oh good! Because I really AM lazy!!”)

“No, no, Mother, I won’t get up, I won’t get up today!” Anna sang in reply, before snuggling back down on her pillow to return to dreamland.

And then it was finally Baby Kate’s turn (At the end of every scene, she would jump up and say “My turn! It’s my turn!”). She practiced so hard all week and received rousing applause after her act. Seriously, how could she not?…

There was a Little Girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead…

When she was good, she was very, very good…

but when she was bad, she was HORRID!

a group singing of “6 Little Ducks” between our nursery rhymes…

followed by Jack and Jill…

then Miss Muffet (watch out for that spider!!)…

then Humpty Dumpty…

then Little Bo Peep and all her hiding sheep…

and finally (my personal favorite) Georgie Porgie, kissing the girls and making them cry!

And the super secret special finale, a performance of The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” for their Grandmother as a fun Mother’s Day surprise.They sang this one with gusto!

“Pleeeeeeeasssse?! Love me do!”

A dance party to end our First Annual Cousin Show!

~

It was so precious to watch the kids relax at their tables and chairs afterwards and enjoy their snacks. Their eyes were alight, their smiles were BIG, and well…my heart was bursting.

Brother (with a mouthful of Twizzlers) and Sister, proud of their accomplishment and happy to FINALLY raid that snack table!

I like to think that Kate and Rebekah were discussing their favorite part of the show, but who knows? They’re best friends, though, that’s for sure! (when they’re not duking it out…)

I am so very proud of my little actor and actresses. They made this Mama/Auntie one happy lady! (and everyone say ‘hi!’ to our friend Joe in the background!

I hope you’ll try putting on a special show in your backyard, whether you homeschool or not. Any way you slice it, this is good (and educational) old-fashioned fun.

The First Annual Cousin Show

I am in a directorial afterglow.

Let me explain…

Since we built our home 2…maybe 3…years ago, I’ve had this dream.

There would be a wooden stage in the side yard with heavy curtains on a pulley-system where the kids could don costumes and put on shows for us. We would laugh and applaud and they would bask in the beauty of growing up at home, where everyone gets a good part and stage fright is unheard of.

Well that dream partly came true this past weekend, and my heart has been singing since the final act.

There is a shed on my parents’ property that adjoins our little acre in town – you might have noticed that it shows up in lots of our gatherings and photographs, as it provides a perfect rustic backdrop for pretty near everything. A couple of months ago, my Dad poured concrete on one side of the shed, with future plans to convert it into a solar kiln for drying lumber. Seeing this open-on-one-side covered pavilion-like area, I fell in love and decided it would provide the perfect stage for our first homeschool play — until, of course, I get my real stage built.

I started planning our show with my children and my nieces, and we scheduled our first practice…

And then I found out my Dad was planning to enclose the concrete slab the next weekend with walls.

Gasp!

In dramatic Mrs. Gore fashion, I put in a desperate plea to postpone this enterprise, and by jinky, to my utter surprise…

it worked!

But Daddy gave me one week.

One week to prepare for and perform our first show.

I was initially skeptical, but then I got brave and we carried forth with our practices and our plans.

And then it started raining on the morning of the show and kind of continued all day and I became skeptical again (and maybe freaked out a little because I’m a super-geek).

And then I got brave again and said “You know what? We are going to do this thingy.”

Before I could change my mind, with the help of my husband and brother Jerry, we loaded all of our supplies and props up into the pick-up, drove them through the yard in the rain, unloaded everything in the shed, wiped all the rain off of the wood and then, in dramatic Mrs. Gore fashion, I asked to be left alone…

My eyes roamed the large slab of concrete surrounded by three walls. It wouldn’t be how I had envisioned it. The audience wouldn’t be sitting on haybales in the grass facing the shed. But they could sit under the roof with us in the farmhouse chairs Amy sent up the hill to me. The curtain wouldn’t be draped across the large beam at the front of the enclosure. But what luck! There is another beam right inside here that we could use! The snack table couldn’t sit on the outside of the shed, beckoning our guests. But there is a perfect little spot right inside the entry that is just the right size for the table…

Alone in the shed, light rain hitting the metal rooftop, a utility broom in one hand and a dream in my heart…magic happened. When the children arrived for their dress rehearsal, and their eyes landed on their performance area, their special props set neatly on wooden beams or hanging from rustic hooks, their feet screeched to a halt, their eyes lit up and their mouths dropped open in delight and wonder. And I remembered why I had set out to do this “play” in the first place.

It turned out to be one of the best nights of my life.

Wanna know why? Because sometimes us homeschooling mothers worry a little that our kids are going to miss out. That they won’t have moments like we did growing up where they will unexpectedly bloom a little and their chins will raise up a little higher and they will stand a little taller because they did something so brave and extraordinary.

But in our little shed in the backyard, four little girls and a little boy, surrounded by a tiny group of people who love them unconditionally, put on a show and made people laugh and applaud and…they bloomed. Right in front of my eyes.

Those same eyes are already filling with tears at the memory of our night. Perhaps I should have been a director.

Or perhaps I am right where I’m supposed to be, putting on plays in the backyard with a 7-year old, two 5-year olds and two 2-year olds…

waiting for the curtain to go up…

Tomorrow, I’ll share details and photographs! Stay tuned!!

Mrs. Gore’s School of Incorrection

I sometimes wonder if I’m really and truly cut out to be the schoolteacher of my own children. Not because I’m a dummy…I did graduate from college, you know. (Aaaand I managed to snag the nicest guy in at least the middle portion of the state…).

I worry because I am a procrastinator.

And not in the “oh, we’ll get around to that ol’ alphabet next week” way, but in the “I wish my children could remain children forever” way. Meaning that, “rod of discipline” aside, I rarely correct them.

Thus, rather than correct Gideon’s way of saying some statements, the entire family had adopted them as not only cute and noteworthy, but as the correct way of saying them.

Which has resulted in our own sort of language around here, nonsensical and hard to crack. So just in case you ever come over for snacks, I thought I would provide a Gore family dictionary to help you know what in the world we’re talking about:

Go peep v. To hop on over to the closest bathroom and take a #1.

Hot sauchez n. A delicious dip made of cheese, known in most households as “cheese dip”.

The bateeno with the buhwahva n. A vent in the earth’s crust with molten rock erupting from its fiery lair, pronounced by most of the country as “the volcano with the lava”. (You wouldn’t think this phrase would be used often enough in our home to make it to this list, but you’d be wrong).

Buhfrise n. surprise! an unexpected gift

Buhweeseman n. The local hero in the blue uniform who drives the white and black car and keeps us from driving too fast.

Show (rhymes with cow) Wash n. the most fascinating and terrifying location in the world where we cover our ears or scream at the top of our lungs while our car is being smacked around by giant soapy instruments of cleaning. We love/hate that place.

Uncle McDonald’s n. the place that gives us a toy to eat the most delicious french fries on the planet. We love/love that place.

Hanguber n. what Miss Sunday asks for at Uncle McDonald’s, but never eats.

Janamas (pronouced juh-nah-muhs) n. What Miss Sunday – and now all of us – wears to bed, also generally known as “pajamas”.

Captain America n. the bottled drink that Granddaddy shares with Gideon and Rebekah after work, perhaps better known as “Diet Pepsi” or “Diet 7 Up”. (long story…)

“This is my deal.” Miss Sunday’s explanation for everything, most likely in response to her Mama frequently asking (in exasperation) “What is your deal?!”

“Last morning” a phrase alluding to what took place yesterday or the day before. Or the week before, or two years ago. The only thing “last morning” is not is the present. (which can be confusing when Gideon wants to listen to the song he heard “last morning”…does he mean the one we listened to yesterday or the one we listened to on his birthday in 2008? We never know).

~ Other notes of interest ~ 

Rebekah has taken this “School of Incorrection” to a new level, inspiring us to use poor grammar, as well. She has been stringing sentences together for some time now and was just born with the gift of gab, but she makes this one mistake that I adore and therefore refuse to correct, ever: instead of using “her” or “his” or “our” as a possessive pronoun, she (and now all of us) says “she’s” or “he’s” or “we’s”.

As in “I wike she’s hat” or “He wants he’s mommy.” But my favorite is “Are we driving we’s car?” (Please, God, pleasssssee, let her talk like this just a little longer, but not so long that she is unable to function properly in society – I’ll leave that timing up to You. I completely trust You to fix she’s poor grammar).

Oh, and the “Captain America” thing started when my Dad’s Diet 7 Up bottles were promoting the superhero’s new movie this past year. “Are you drinking Captain America?” Rebekah asked with wonder. “Yep.” said my Dad. So now, the minute she walks in to my parent’s house, she immediately says “Hey, you got some Captain America?”

And one more thing. Its a good thing that Gideon somehow figured out that he was spelling our names backwards on his papers, because I was more than content to be “Amam” forever.

Mr. Gore was, of course, “Apap”.

~

And now a test:

So did you hear about the little boy (still wearing he’s janamas, no less) who got lost last morning? He’s Amam and Apap called on the local buhweeseman to help find him. “What if he walked to the batino with the buhwava?!” they cried. But buhfries! They found him at the show wash. “This is my deal.” he explained. “I needed to go peep.” They celebrated by going to Uncle McDonald’s and having chips and hot sauchez and hangubers and little cups of Captain America. “Now let’s go back to we’s house.” Amam said. “Good idea.” said Apap. The end.

If you understood the above, you get an A+ from the Incompetent Schoolmarm of the School of Incorrection. Congratulations…and welcome to we’s world.

Mrs. Gore’s Hohumhomeschool

Gideon loves to make us proud…

Not really. He loves to make us look stupid.

I know this happens to a lot of parents – you witness your children do something spectacular, or you teach them a new song or a joke or, even better, a Bible verse – and the minute you go to show off their trick to another, they clam up, play dumb, and completely leave you hanging, muttering one of those pathetic parental statements like “He’s usually very cooperative…”

It has been this way for us from the very beginning.

I went over and over the ABC’s with my son, trying to make sure he learned them by the same age my niece Abigail had…which was very early. She knew the entire song “Oklahoma” before her 2nd birthday! But Gideon would never, and I mean, never, sing them back to me. Not even the first three letters! I quit trying, deciding we would pick up the ABCs during his first year of school, that there are some things not worth my stress. And that surely by the time he was 16, he would know his ABCs. Right? Surely. (By the way, that was the same reasoning I used to stop worrying so much about his pacifier…he won’t still have it when he is 16! Right? Surely.) But then one day I walked up the stairs, pretty much shocked to hear him singing the entire song, letter by letter, as he played in his room. The booger was holding out on me, all along.

One of my greatest sources of pride in my son is that he knows the great old hymn “Be Thou my Vision” by heart and cherishes it as his favorite. In fact, our entire church sang it along with him on his 3rd birthday and I just about died on the spot from the pure sweetness of it. I’ve let him practice singing it twice on the microphone at church, secretly entertaining the notion that I might someday let him “perform” it for the congregation…

But as Gideon himself would say, “I change-ed my mind.”

The first time he practiced it on the microphone, he used his artistic authority to change the timeless words from “Be thou my vision” to “Be thou my trackhoe.” The next time he made it a little further along before changing the lyrics. “Be Thou my vision, o Lord of ABCs…”

So nevermind that singing-in-big-church idea….I have officially scrapped it.

I suppose as a pastor’s wife, I feel even more pressure to make sure my child is well-versed in the Scriptures and has an early working knowledge of Bible stories, theology, catechism, hymnity…on good days, my desire is rooted in him becoming a godly man; on bad days, my desire is to appear perfect in the eyes of the church, the community, and the world in general. But Gideon continues to make it his job to keep Mama humble and dependent on the Lord. Several times this Christmas season, in public (for example, in the middle of Hobby Lobby), young Gideon would notice a nativity scene and say the exact same thing, loudly, every time: “Hey Mama, that’s just like on that movie we saw!”…

As if we have not been over the story of Jesus’ birth a hundred times! I would look around to see who heard, smile/grimace, and literally restrain myself from making another of those pathetic parental statements: “His Papa is a preacher…he knows who Jesus is [insert nervous laughter here].”

But nervous laughter doesn’t begin to describe what I was doing the Wednesday night before Christmas, a momentous and sacred night when we had our church’s children, youth and adults all meet in the sanctuary to hear a reading of the Christmas story. I knew ahead of time that Chris would be calling the children to the front of the church to gather around him as he read aloud. What I didn’t know was that Gideon would not join the rest of the children at Chris’s feet, but would decide to sit right next to him on the stage, where everyone…everyone…could see him. Which also meant that I began to sweat before Chris even started reading. About halfway through the first chapter of the reading, Gideon laid down, flat on his back on the stage and yelled out, “I’m not sleepin’! I’m just layin’ down…”

And just last week, Gideon’s sweet Sunday School teacher had a funny story to share with me. She was going over the story of Jesus’ death, using the Big Picture Story Bible, the same book we use for family worship, and asked her little class of 3 year olds if they knew how Jesus died. Gideon knew the answer. He just knew it! “In a war!!!” he proudly proclaimed…

I’m sorry, what? A war? 1. I had no idea he even knew the word “war.” 2. We read the entire story of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection the week before his class. A war! At least Ms. Megan knows us and that we’ve been over that story with Gideon; I didn’t have to make any lame excuses with her, or even laugh nervously.

All of the above would make me a little unsure about my decision to homeschool Gid the Kid, but I’ve known for awhile what I’m in for…

We were still living with my parents, and I was so eager to show off what Gideon and I had worked on when my Daddy came home from work. “Gideon, lets show Granddaddy how smart you are!” I said, pulling out his magnetic slate. I drew an “A” – “what is this letter?” I asked in my best teacher voice.

“B!” he yelled.

“No…try again.”

“B! Its a B!” he insisted. I cleared my throat.

“Gideon you know this letter – what is it?”

“What is it?” he parroted.

“Its an A.” I finally supplied.

“A!!!” he yelled. Well next I drew a “B” but it was not that impressive when he got it right, because he had said “B” on the last guess as well.

We moved on to “O”. “What is that?” I asked.

“A circle.” he said, completely throwing me off.

“Yes…that’s right, it is a circle…but what else is it?” I asked.

“What else is it?” he repeated.

“What letter is it?” I clarified.

“What letter is it?” he repeated.

“Its an O.” I said, deflated.

My Daddy finally piped up, grinning like a possum. “Boy, Gideon, you’re really smart!”

I gave him a withering look and said “Okay, let us try one more. He knows this one.” I drew an “S.”

“OKAY…what is this letter, Gideon?”

“Ummmmm…” he stalled, thinking hard, thinking hard, weighing all the possibilities, before shouting triumphantly, “…a worm!!!”

My Daddy hooted and I decided to put the slate away until next year. Which was at least a year ago, but I’m not sure if either of us are ready to conduct our hohumhomeschool quite yet. We might just go outside and play and dig in the dirt until Gideon is in the third grade.

Because when it comes to his schooling, I think Master Gideon will either be uncooperative…

my class clown…his explanation for most everything he does is “I was just tryin’ to make you laugh!”…

Or my prized student.

But probably?…all three.

(The featured photograph was captured by Lisa Cartwright at http://www.lisasportraitstudio.com. Gideon was being completely uncooperative…resulting in perhaps my favorite picture of all time.)