Homeschool middle school are great years to create LOTS of good memories (yes, a little academic stress, but mostly memorable educational experiences). We 7 Sisters co-oped with our homeschool friends for years. One of our unforgettable homeschool middle school field trips gave birth to a legend that I have not been able to live down for the past 10 years:
Homeschool Middle School Field Trip
We had been studying the federal works projects in the 1930’s, so we decided to take our co-op kids to the Conowingo Dam. It started out well enough- only raining a little bit (it ALWAYS rains on co-op fieldtrips). The boys (being good kids who never used foul language) were enjoying the “legal” edgy talk:
“We’re going on a dam field tip…”
“Look, there’s the dam river…”
“Do we get to see the dam turbines?”
Everyone enjoyed the dam parking lot speed limit sign: “12.5 mph”.
Then came the actual dam tour. Turbines, tiles, offices, turbines, tiles, offices, turbines, tiles, offices…
For kids from kindergarten through 14 years old, it was excruciating. By the time we were able to politely wrap things up and escape, the kids were feeling a little miffed and out-of-sorts. We trudged through the drizzle back to Marilyn’s big, black 15-passenger van and clambered in. Being compassionate moms, we allowed the young teens to pop their Joy Electric pop-synth cd on, but our own nerves being fried, we quickly switched it out for Enya.
My 13 year-old daughter had had enough. She began to complain- quickly answered by my scowl…
Her arms crossed and she put on her vinegar expression.
Now, I’m telling you, I work at being a model Mother. I never let a kid know she’s pushing all my buttons (ok, everyone quit laughing). Instead, I give my kids back the ownership of their own bad behavior. My daughter was embarrassing herself, not me. AND she was embarrassing herself, not with her words but with her non-verbals (and we do a lot of homeschooling about Social Skills and non-verbals).
So, I informed her so that she could own it and self-correct:
“Daughter, you’re embarrassing yourself with your non-verbals!”
What followed next was laughter- the kids all thought that was the most bizarre thing a mother ever said. So bizarre, it must have been meant to be funny.
To this day, “…embarrassing yourself with your non-verbals” is an adage.
Even at my daughter’s wedding, her best friend (and sister, Marilyn’s daughter) squeezed it artfully into her speech at the reception.
So, while an EPIC FAIL as a parenting ploy, it was an EPIC WIN at being legendary with a bunch of homeschool middle schoolers (and their moms).
(And nobody forgets their non-verbals anymore….)
What is one of YOUR homeschool legends?
Our Ebookstore has several curriculum resources ideal for middle school students. Check ’em out!
$6.99 for 10 weeks of bite-sized instruction in essay writing
$3.99 Guide to accompany Tolkein’s The Hobbit, a favorite with middle school readers