Teaching with a Kate

After publishing the post “Teaching with a Betsie” (concerning the difficulties of homeschooling with a little stinker underfoot), my sister-in-law, Amy, reminded me of these pictures she took of HER stinker, Kate, when she was 1 1/2 years old…

In the first photo, she is standing on the dining room table, helping herself to chocolate donuts. In the second, she is standing on her sister’s school-desk helping herself to No. 2 pencils.

Same ornery expression as Betsie.

Same climbing skills.

Same pajamas. (We are firm believers in the art of the hand-me-down).

Unbelievable (and so stinkin’ cute!).

And I thought it would bring those of you who are in the same boat as me – attempting to teach older children while your youngest eats crayons and climbs onto tables – great encouragement to see little Kate now, 3 years old and well on her way to being an upstanding student in Amy’s homeschool.

These days are fleeting, are they not? Before we know it, the little one that runs us ragged will be sitting on a stool reading a book and coloring.

And so I think the best thing we can do is pray for grace, patience, and mostly, for eyes to see the humor and the beauty in life as it is today (and keep those cameras ready!). Because any way you slice it, a baby stuck in a basket of Little Golden Books is just funny…

even if she does interrupt your Home Academy and all thoughts of order and cleanliness for the unforeseeable future.

Teaching with a Betsie

I was initially determined to conduct our Kindergarten classes at 9:00 sharp, in the hopes that both Gideon and I would develop a healthy respect for order and punctuality.

We did very well those first 2 days (and I’ll share more on that in the days to come)…

But we had a little problem.


16 months old and the orneriest kid I have ever given birth to. Just when she stopped trying to eat every single inedible object in sight (for MONTHS!)…she learned to climb. And her favorite new perch is right smack in the middle of our homeschool table…

Or on her brother’s school desk…

where she gets stuck.

Or on…anything, really.

She’s winsome, alright, and just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. But she has reeked havoc on our little Home Academy…

and has single-handedly shut down all educational operations until her naptime after lunch.

Sometimes I try to imagine a bonafide schoolteacher in her classroom-full of students teaching with a Betsie underfoot.

I don’t think she could do it.

But then again, neither could I!

Mrs. Gore’s Hohumhomeschool

{First shared at Mrs. Gore’s Diary on February 17, 2011}

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.)

Mrs. Gore’s School of Incorrection

{First shared at Mrs. Gore’s Diary on March 25, 2012}

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.