Homeschooling My Dog… Or Something Like That.Posted: September 23, 2013
Well, while I’ve been angry over this whole stigmatizing t-shirt business, two developments have been afoot in the Kimchi Latkes household.
First, we pulled Mouse out of school. I won’t bore you with all of the details but we felt that the issues we had with the school were pretty intractable. There were issues that were district-related—26 four-and-a-half year olds in a class with ONE teacher. There were issues that were school related—it seemed like the stress on compliance was going up, not down. There were issues that were teacher related—despite my best efforts at creating some dialogue with her, she was, well… didn’t seem like a good match, let’s just say that. On top of these concerns, it became pretty clear that the teacher’s Spanish language skills were not very good. I’ve got resort-Spanish (I can procure alcohol, order food, and find a bathroom) and even I could tell that her Spanish wasn’t all that fluent. This didn’t help convince us to stick around. All in all, we decided that no matter how active we got in the school, there were some things about it that would never change. Not only that, but that it was stuff fundamental to schooling, and it would be somewhat unreasonable for us to ask the school to change in that way. So we left. It’s not you, it’s me, baby.
There was more, but that’s the gist of it. When we told Mouse, she seemed relieved. Girlfriend was tired. And anxious. She spent all her time worrying about how to stay on “green”, who wasn’t on green, how one got off green, how one got on purple… It just didn’t bring out the best in her. She hasn’t said anything about being sad that she’s not at school today, but we’ll see whether she has some delayed reaction. For the meantime, I’ll homeschool her. In my mind, homeschooling at for her age amounts to a lot of play and social opportunities. She’s picked up writing her letters and basic math with very little direction from us (in fact, any attempt to direct her has backfired), so I’m trying to follow her lead. I foresee that our year will be filled with many day trips, homeschool park days, and quite a few craft projects. Wish me luck. (No, really. Please wish me luck, I might suck at this…)
The second thing that happened was that we got a dog. Yep. The new Tater is named Gracie. She’s one year old and I heart her. If you don’t know me you might not know that I’m generally cool with dogs but have never been crazy about one. Except this dog. She’s already very attuned to the household and is showing a surprisingly high level of maturity for a young dog. Apparently her foster family was forcing her into a crate so she’s deathly afraid of anything wire, including the baby gate we put up to confine her while we’re gone. That’s a challenge because she needs a place she can go when I can’t supervise her, but she’s incredibly afraid of being locked up or secluded. Why her foster family thought that was a good idea, I dunno.
Yes, she’s some kind of pit bull. She’s not the scariest looking (she has a much narrower face and jaw than most pit bulls, she seems like she’s a mix of something else), nor is she the scariest acting by a long shot. She just seemed like the perfect dog for us so it didn’t matter too much what breed she was or what she looked like. She’s not a puppy (I can’t be getting up in the night for two dependents!), she’s good with the kids, she’s smart and motivated to please, she’s not too doofy but not too high strung (no offense meant, we just wanted a middle-of-the-road kinda dog), and has short hair. We wanted a medium/large dog that wasn’t going to shed like a lab or a shepherd. Shelters around here are full of miniature breeds or pit mixes, so there ya have it. She’s got great instincts with people, not so much with other dogs. She’s sort of like that mean girl who is only pretending to be mean in case she doesn’t get invited to the party, ya know? Yeah, that is a bit too anthropomorphic of me. She just needs sniff more doggie butts; we’re working on it.
Gracie and LP are shaping up to be buds. Gracie seems particularly interested in LP and has already learned to be extra gentle. She has figured out that LP doesn’t like doggie kisses, so instead she approaches him and offers her nose. He usually kicks it, and she doesn’t seem to mind at all.
Chipmunk? Well. Chipmunk, you see, is afraid of anything that is alive but not human. Butterflies? Afraid. Flies? Afraid. Cats, bunnies, or beetles? Afraid, afraid, afraid. Still, we wanted a dog and figured she’d get over it with the right dog. We’ve been pleasantly surprised. She definitely gets scared if the dog approaches her too fast, but Gracie is pretty sensitive and usually turns right back around when Chipmunk let’s out a yell. Heck, with the way Chipmunk yells, I’d turn around too. Ain’t no need to subject yourself to that if ya don’t have to.
So those are the mundane happenings around these parts. I’d love some recommendations for long lasting chew toys and young kid craft ideas/blogs. Maybe I’ll have the girls make chew toys at home? Somehow I’m guessing that won’t work out so well…