Joyfully His

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Running on Empty

So hard to believe that it's been about 5 months since the last post. What in the world have I been doing? OH yeah, homeschooling. Juggling church, Awana, choir, library meetings, Mt St Laundry, soccer, life.
But my newest experiment in the life of me has been doing something I never, ever thought I would do. Interesting, isn't it? How many times have the lives of the unsuspecting taken a 90 degree turn from these experiments?

It all started out with a friend. The more activities we do, the more moms I meet. Some moms are really neat, the kind that you wish you could be when you grow up. The kind that have it all together, or at least brush their hair every day and wear shoes that match. Some moms are the crazy overbearing, scary kind. Some are so discombobulated they make me feel like I should be getting some kind of trophy for remembering my kids' names. And a select few are Friend Material. For me, finding moms made of this special fabric are few and far between. I think I have 2 or 3 right now, to be honest. Maybe a few more than that if I actually spent some real time with some moms at church.

One of these moms, however, was into all sorts of stuff that filled me with awe. She homeschooled her son, then 5. She was into all this organic and 'crunchy' stuff and didn't feed her kids refined anything. No sugar, white flour, etc. And her kids drank water. Without crying or being promised video game time afterwards. Wow! And she was completely unfazed by my kids' food allergies and even made them special brownies out of almond flour. They didn't exactly turn out, but we laughed our heads off at the treacle-like glue sticking our teeth together. I was too overjoyed at the taste of actual chocolate to complain.

Since then, this dear friend has moved to another state, but praise the Lord for technology. We email some and Facebook often. And when I decided to amp up my workouts a bit, she paved the way down the road of running by doing a half-marathon.
She fussed about her short, stubby legs and her slow run time, but the woman has a 13.1 sticker on her car. She RAN 13.1 miles in miserably cold, rainy weather. Even when I scoffed at running, a year or so ago, she was encouraging. She loved it. She felt great. There were endorphins. She was addicted to feeling this good. Try it. You'll love it.

Run?! Me? WHY?!!!

I am not an athletic type of girl. Believe me. It has always been thus. This is why I like books. I was in band. I had a disastrous middle school basketball career and I still have no idea how to play the game. Really. But the uniform was...uh, not neat. It was polyester and the girls on the other teams (and my own team) were scary. It only took me 20 years or so to figure out that I liked the practices and the drills, but not the game.

So I got on my treadmill and tried to run. *The first 2 and a half months were, let's face it, not fun. Constant interruptions (kids, dog, phone calls), I can't run fast and read at the same time, there was nothing good on tv, etc. There was no way I could run outside and leave my kids to wreak havoc on the house and each other. Treadmill it is. So my friend encouraged me to try a 5k. It's only 3 miles, she said. You can do it! You'll love it so much you'll be running them all the time. You'll want to run more and do longer races.

Ok then, I thought. I can be like those weight loss stories where the lady loses 50 pounds and runs this impressive feats of athletic prowess (a short-lived fantasy). So I ran every other day or so. (*see above)

There was a 5k in my town, a little podunk town, for our annual Loyalty Day (Loyalty to what? I always wanted to know.). It was sometime in May. Hm. I could do that. Tell me again why someone needs to pay someone to run? I have to pay $15 for registration to kill myself running on a badly paved road and all I get is this t-shirt? Okay. All right. Fine. But after that, that's it. I'm done. I'll tell everyone I tried it and that will be it, because I hate running! It's why God invented bicycles and rollerblades and cars!

Later on, I was at a gardening meeting and got into a conversation about running (because misery loves company?) and someone mentioned a run in town (the actual Town where we go grocery shopping, not the one I live in). "So-and-so is a runner. I used to run with her all the time. She's in our homeschool group, do you know her?" I did know her; she goes to my church and is in the choir with me. I had never really spoken to her. She is tall and thin and beautiful and looks like a runner. She sings beautifully and uses mushroom compost in her garden. Sigh. Wow.

So the next choir practice, I screwed up my courage and mentioned that her name had come up in a conversation with (insert name of previous running partner). Later in the conversation, she mentioned the run in town and that she wanted to run in it. "You should do it," she said. "It's weekend after next." Uh. That was the weekend before my town's run. How in the world was I supposed to be ready a week early?!
I signed up for it anyway. I also signed my family up for something called a Family Fun Run.
So I ran my first 5k and it was miserable! By the time I got to the turnaround I was ready to sock the measurer in the eye, because whoever measured this race was a liar. It wasn't this far on the treadmill! The second half was long and hot and the kid in front of me started throwing up repeatedly and shriek/sobbing noisily. I remember thinking "too late to change your mind." Yuck!

Granted, there was some pretty scenery and a scary bridge made of mostly mesh metal where you could see the water below you (urp). Not to mention the inclines (looking back, those weren't really hills, though they felt like it at the time). I rolled over the finish line ready to give up the ghost, sweaty, nasty and chafing.

I also loved the look on my husband's face when he saw me and gave me a hug. "We weren't expecting you for another 5 or 10 minutes!" Oh, balm to my winded, heaving soul. He changed his tune when he realized I hadn't been joking about the Family Fun Run and he actually had to run a mile with our 3 year old. (They ended up walking, with the kid on his shoulders while I actually ran with my oldest.)

The next weekend was the race in my town. I got up at dawn's early light (okay, fine it was 7:30, but everyone else was sleeping) and walked a couple of streets to where our run started. It was another interesting run. I felt like I did better this time, but on a flat country road with nothing but pasture on either side, your mind plays tricks. Wavy heat coming up from the pavement can make the end of the road seem like you're never going to get there. I tripped in a pot hole. I got busy watching horses running in a meadow and almost ran off the road. I counted the phone poles I had to pass to get to the end of the road. And then I got there and had to turn the corner and run still more before I got to the finish line.

I got a really good deal on this one. Due to the smallness of my town and the race, there weren't that many people there. So even though I finished almost 10 minutes after the first person, I was the first female to cross the finish line, so I got a plaque and a medal (for my age group) and some prize money that paid for my 2 races and the one I wanted to do the next week. The look on my husband's face when I waltzed through the door with all that loot was very satisfying. Oh yeah. More balm to my soul.

The next weekend was a Wellness Festival and my husband and youngest opted out of the Family Fun Run. This run was the worst by far. It was cold and windy and I ended up wearing a pair of cotton house-capris because I don't own any cold weather running gear except a fleece pullover. Because I run on a treadmill, that's why. And this run had HILLS. The kind where you look up at the top and the runners above/ahead of you are tiny and you can hear yourself wheezing. I also found out that all those running articles on Running Downhill weren't a joke. I could picture myself tripping and rolling to the bottom so clearly.
This was another race that Would Never End. The last length was uphill. Whose idea was that? My husband texted me "take off your sweater and put it around waist." HUH? Well, one of those great things about having running tights or yoga pants to wear is they don't show sweat like gray cotton. I feel bad for the people running behind ME! Having to stare at someone's sweaty butt-crack could be an incentive for passing someone, but not much encouragement if you can't. Oh, mortification. There will be no picture for this one. We can say it was too cold.
Then I decided to take a break from runs. It was expensive to keep running and I had accomplished my goal. I had run not one, but 3 5k's and even accomplished my secret wish to medal in my age group. I had improved my time to a respectable 28 minutes and change. And I was sore! My knee was hurting and I had a sore heel.
I waited a week and when I felt better, I got back on the treadmill. I realized I felt better when I was doing some sort of exercise. Then one day I wondered how I would feel if I ran 5 miles. What was 10k? Oh, add 2 5ks together. Okay. Well, I got a phone call after I hit the 5 mile mark and had to walk the last 1.2 miles of my 10k, but I still did it.
My friend from out of state congratulated me on Facebook. She said she'd be in Tulsa in October running a 15k (about 10 miles). "You should do it with me!" she said. "You did 10k, so what's another 5?" I looked online for a training schedule for a 15k and it doesn't look so bad. Now my 'easy' run is 3 miles. Yes, this is me. When did 5k get to be the easy run? I'll let you know how it goes in October. Either way, I'm kind of amazed that I am still running. Why would ANYONE want to run 10 miles, much less 13.1? OH yeah, the t-shirt, the ball cap, the sticker. Because anyone who puts themselves through all this, physically and mentally, deserves something tangible. Especially if they never got their endorphins.

Friday, January 21, 2011

January with a Vengeance

The winter storm hit and we finally got enough snow to play in. :) The dog is in raptures, kicking up her heels in the back yard like a calf in a spring pasture. My HC thinks it has something to do with her German (Shepherd) heritage and the fact that she has thick black fur. But when she comes in with rapidly melting cakes of dandruffy snow and shakes all over the play room, the excitement is lost on me.

The play aspect of the snow also quickly lost its novelty when my HC bundled up the kids and took them out. I stayed inside, cleaning frantically, lest the power go out as it is wont to do when the weather does anything out of the ordinary (like rain, snow or get really windy). And there is nothing more aggravating than having no power or warm water, a smoking pile of Mt. St. Laundry and an earthquake of dishes in the sink. But I digress.

So I was washing the dishes and putting clean laundry away, smug in my industry, when lo and behold, I hear wailing and crying children and an aggravated Daddy stomping at the front door. I grabbed the closest towel, a small kitchen towel, tossed it on the floor and prepared for the onslaught of frosted unhappiness. The door opened and 3 red-faced, ice-encrusted snow people squeezed in, two of which were howling. My HC had been playing with the kids outside and chased Ian. Ian did a tumbleweed into the ditch and got completely immersed in snow. He quickly learned the inconvenient effect of cold snow inside warm clothes. On his way out of the ditch, cold and wet, he slipped a couple more times and my HC had the effrontery to laugh. Thus the first round of howling. After a second or two of heated discussion and throwing of blame as to who caused the tumbling into the ditch, two stubborn males stomped (and cry/hollered) their way towards the door, towing an innocent, frosty Erin, now adding her own noisy chorus of crying because she wasn't done playing outside yet.
Well, my 5 minutes of quiet was over and I hadn't even gotten to sit down yet. Then the abominable snow creature yelling like a yeti needed assistance stripping at the door. It was not fun peeling all those frozen, stiff clothes and boots and layers off of him. Then it was Erin's turn. My HC had already washed his hands of the whole affair and retreated back to the bliss of the iphone. The kids finished expressing their emotions and ran off to play and I was left with cold, soggy piles of clothes, coats, boots, mittens, etc and a wet floor. :/

After a snack, more laundry, and a Netflix movie, (having coaxed my handsome HC from the clutches of the evil app), the neighborhood kids came a-knocking. My husband fled, again, and launched himself on the bed, claiming he was resting. The neighbor boys pleaded for some disctraction to ease their 12 year old boredom. My kids pleaded with me for more time to play in the snow. My husband projected loud fake snoring from the bedroom. So I got the coats and accoutrements from the dryer, dressed everyone and went outside to freeze. My Florida born, thin-skinned self would much rather stay Inside and enjoy the snow.

But I stood around, amused the neighbor boys for about 5 minutes before they got on their bikes to be bored somewhere else and then proceeded to yell the same thing about 78.4 times to keep the kids out of the neighbor's yard, whose snow was prettier, deeper, not as cold and so much funner than our own larger yard, which had dirt, dog poo, foot prints and other undesirable elements.

And evidently the neighbor's snow made much better snow angels.

Then it was my turn to drag noisily protesting merengue-children inside to peel snowy clothes off Again, and set them next to the heater to thaw (no handy Campbell's soup to melt my snowman). Followed by begging for hot chocolate and more snacks.

But I am happy to report that I got to work some more on my mini-quilt, made from the leftover squares of Ian's twin quilt. I also got a big box this week from my Grandma and Mom of mat-er-i-alllllll (said in an Oprah yell)! My next project is an amateur's attempt to turn pretty fabric into (hopefully) a casserole dish holder/carrier. Or a cotton origami figure.

In the meantime, we are still dealing with unwanted aspects of the snow, mostly sliding-glass doors that are frozen shut, and frozen car trunks. :)

An update: We ran out of Magic Treehouse books after we finished the BFG. So, since we are learning about the pioneer days and the gradual settling of the west in our History lessons, we are now reading Tucket's Travels by Gary Paulsen, a favorite author of mine. Francis Tucket is a 14 year old boy who gets taken from his wagon train by Pawnee Indians (on his birthday!) and rescued by a mountain man. The mountain man teaches him how to shoot a rifle, ride an Indian pony and survive in the wilderness. Eventually, Francis will try to make his way, alone, to Oregon to find his family again. How is Ian enjoying it, you ask? Ian wishes it had pictures.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Life in General

These are the days of our January. The daily minutiae of our lives is what sets us apart from the other families with 2.5 kids (the dog is the .5, not the half-pint with red hair) and also gives us something to talk about when people ask "what's new with you?" So let's see...
We are reading the BFG by Roald Dahl. My HC remembered this book from his childhood and since I can count the number of books he admits to having read on one hand, we immediately checked it out and started reading it with the kids. This is a bit disturbing to Ian, who is apprehensive abou the idea of giants reaching hands through windows and munching people like popcorn, but the pictures are cute and the part about the BFG tooting is so funny, it eclipses all the yucky parts. I have had immense fun doing the voice of the Queen of England (and the whispering butler). Erin tends to fall asleep during bedtime reading (praise the Lord), but she also enjoys the pictures until she does. When we were finished with this one, we're going back to the Magic Treehouse just in time to correlate "Revolutionary War on Wednesday" with the same topic in History. Yay. So definite school points there.

Erin is going to be ready for pre-k next year. She is very interested in what Ian is doing and loves our one on one time when we work on Cubbies (Awana). I am hoping that she will actually say her verse this week during check-in time, though even the 4 year olds get all bashful and hug a leg when put on the spot. ;)

Ian is about to finish one of his reading books next week, the Robinson Crusoe reader with all the neat craft/drawing ideas that go with it. So far we've made a popsicle stick boat(that's what it's supposed to look like), a tiny island, some rocks, a tent and cave out of various materials, a playdoh goat and a big stack of illustrations. Mr Cheaterpants has been insisting for a couple of weeks that Robinson Crusoe will be finding a strange man on the island with him. I have been denying this, since we haven't read anything about that yet, thank you. Today, we got to the part where Friday is delivered to the island by savages and escapes, where Robinson Crusoe welcomes him and feeds him bread and raisins. Ian was elated and gloated like mad. "See, Mommy?! I TOLD you there was another man. I was right!" Add the victory booty dance to that. And a giant Mommy eyeroll. I will be sorry to finish this book. And a couple of weeks after that, we'll be finishing his other reading book. And by the end of February, he'll be finishing the dreaded, hated Phonics. I gave him the option of just doing one page per day instead of two. He was excited about this until I told him that it would extend Phonics until May, or we could continue and finish by the end of next month. He chose next month. :) It looks like math and spelling will be our long running subjects for this year. Those are two things that have more to do with understanding and less with grunt work. (Like the phonics rules, word-writing and language story-writing.)
We'll be starting a new chapter in Science next week and we'll be spending a lot more time on these than we have the rest. It has to do with sea creatures, with one animal per lesson. We're making an animal notebook with our drawings and colorings. I am very excited. The chapter after that is land animals with more of the same. I hope we can go to the zoo for this chapter! Ian will be happy to be finished with history, but I think he'll enjoy the next chapter on Pioneers. We will attempt to make a covered wagon. haha.
And we're only to the Capital H's in cursive, another hated subject. I'm not being too strict there. He traces a lot and just has to try to write it on his own. I am more concerned with him learning how to form them correctly than doing a bunch of wrong ones on his own. There's plenty of time for cursive in the future, right? Says the 98% of people who still don't form letters correctly...
So there, boring minutiae, yet the kind that occupy my days and thoughts. And it's Friday evening finally. So I'm out.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Almost done.

The year is almost done. It's altogether surreal and relieving at the same time. It does seem, in retrospect, that time has flown. But thinking of all the hard times where the minutes dragged, it is nice that those are behind us and there are better times (and possibly worse) ahead. Either way, we know not what the future brings and the prospect of a brand spanking new year awakens an air of expectancy. Some things will definitely be different this year. For instance, it is not always a wonderful thing to be the one who eats the most black eyed peas on New Year's Day. Especially if you forgot the Beano. We got a new vehicle, after the December debacle. So there are no impending repairs looming over our heads (or under the hood) with their money hungry claws and disconcerting clunks and grindings. Just a long line of payments. But we are thankful that they are within our reach.

Erin and I had the stomach flu before and after Christmas, and my HC had half of the stomach flu earlier this week. Ian missed it and I am thankful for that as well, since I'm not as confident that he would have made it to the bathroom to retch as successfully as Erin did. Erin is more of a take-action person, where Ian just kind of freezes and stares. For example, if my HC jumps out and scares them, Erin will either turn and run away and hide under the nearest surface or run at him screeching back and jump on his head. Ian will stand there and scream like he's the lead in a b-movie. One long, shrill scream, feet planted. There is no obvious remedy for this.

Now I am waiting until the end of the week, when I can start taking down the Christmas stuff. We really enjoyed our gorgeous hand-me-down fiber optic Christmas tree this year (thanks Mimi and Grampa!). It is enormous and shimmers. It doesn't need any garland and all our ornaments fit on it without looking like a flea market stall. It was well worth driving from FL in July with the giant box strapped to our roof. Our yard was also one of the drive-bys with our new lawn ornaments and lights (complete with Santa, sleigh and reindeer). It was exciting for the kids to drive home from Wednesday church to see all the pretty lights coming from OUR yard. ;) (We have gotten lots of compliments on our yard, thanks to the creativity and industry of Mimi and Grampa!) It makes it even better that they remind us of one of our favorite places in Florida. I'll bet it's the first time any of those ornaments have seen the snow we got last week. haha.
We are trying to make it through our last week of Christmas vacation before the Spring semester of school. Ian and I are doing great. He is staying in his pajamas all day as late as possible and I am getting some extra cleaning, organizing, reading, websurfing done. Erin is overset. Her routine is completely messed up and we need to get back to work as soon as possible. She's not used to having Ian in her way every time she wants to watch something or play with a toy. Siblings!
We are also still waiting to see what will happen with the new boss that was elected in November. He officially starts on Jan 3 (read December 31, or earlier, since almost everyone has either gotten a pink slip or a phone call confirming their continued presence; everyone except for my HC!). Then the fun really starts as everything is restructured to his liking. It is always the hope of politics that the things that work well will be retained and the things that are broken will be fixed. It has been our experience that most campaign promises go out the window with the first enormous paycheck. We are more interested in who the new supervisors will be (and if my HC still has a job, of course!). Either way, it's always interesting to see how things work out.
I hope everyone else is having a nice settled, sick-free week and I wish you could see our Christmas lights. :) (or you could wait until next year)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December December

December already? It seems like 2010 flew by but dragged at the same time. I guess that's how all things go. But things especially seem to drag when you are deprived of something that you enjoy, love, are addicted to, etc. Like, diet dr pepper, your car, your sanity because it's too cold to play outside and the kids are bouncing off the walls.... :)
Thanksgiving was good, HC's birthday was good, his trip was good. And now we have Christmas to look forward to. And after Christmas is the long slow wait for spring. But in the blur of days are small moments that make up the things that we remember the most. Tiny cold toes squirming their way to your lap under the couch blanket. Popcorn and hot chocolate in special mugs while watching the weekly Disney movie. Watching the dog have the fastest pee in history due to the temperature change of snuggled-next-to-the-heater to frigid winds and frozen ground. Remembering how miserable it was in the summer every time I was forced to use the oven and now, having it on almost constantly with roasts, cookies, chex mix and muffins in there. Cute winter hats. Looking outside and seeing snow (our yearly quota of 3 snows a year...).
So no matter how things seem to drag, there are other things to focus on.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Corn Maze!

Today we went to the Right Choices Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch in Southwest City, MO (pop. 855). It was a nice drive up, about an hour and change for us, and pretty much a straight shot, so we made it there without hassle. It's a working farm, run by nice, pleasant Christian folks. We got there and promptly visited the small, red, barnlike structure that were nice, clean restrooms. We paid, went inside and ate a picnic lunch at the picnic tables next to the concession stand. Then all the homeschool group gathered in a large wooden area filled with benches for a lesson about the history of the area, the history and uses of corn, and how to farm a giant corn field. We had a great time, as you can see in the following:

Everyone piled into tractor-pulled carts with hay seats for a tour of the fields and woods. We went all the way around the maze, ending at the line of farm equipment and attachments that were used to farm the field (and new pumpkin patch). Erin had more fun pulling hay out of the bales and scattering it everywhere.

After the hay ride, we lined up to ride the cow train. Erin hopped right in.

Ian decided that he wanted to go too, and the Train (tractor) Conductor said that the big barrels were for grown ups, so I piled in too! (I was the only adult in the whole train.)

The Train went into one side of the maze. The tractor moo-ed the whole time. It got slightly annoying, but there were enough little kids moo-ing along with it that it wasn't so bad.

This is a picture looking into the outer wall of the maze. There ain't no cheating by going through the wall, folks. And there are also mesh walls to hold it together, as we found out later.

There were two slides built into the side of this big hill. The other one was slower, for smaller kids and required riding on a gunny sack. This one was the roller slide and required plywood squares. My adventurous cutie piled into line with the big kids and loved every second. Doubters be gone!

This was close to to the concession/picnic area and was a triple level accumulation of shin-deep corn kernels. And yes, it got everywhere. Ian dumped plenty out of his shoes in the car. Erin shucked her shoes off after a few minutes and kept playing.

This was on one side of the Corn Box.

There was a Hay Tunnel and an Echo Bale. This was the Hay Jump, outside of the opening to the Short Maze (the long one is a couple of miles; I was completely fine with the short one).

Ian took the map with the clues and did absolutely nothing with it. He guessed at every turn and it took us about 20 minutes longer than it should have, but he had fun being in charge. Erin just ran around. I trudged behind with the cooler and my purse.

We survived and were completely worn out.

We went to the Farm Zoo and visited the cute animals. The pig and chickens were Erin's favorite. She 'talked' to one chicken for quite a while (I was going down the slides with Ian, yee haw). Then we did the Corn Cannon, where they help you shoot ears of corn at targets. It was noisy and Erin was tired and crying, so we did not linger. I could tell that Ian could have camped out there for another hour.

So we quickly picked out our baby pumpkins and piled our tired selves into the car for the ride home with a movie and a cold drink.

And guess who conked out on the way home? So now I am ready for bed and everyone else is recharged. Sheesh.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I have been reading a lot of blogs and articles lately on homeschooling. As a normal female, I am inherently curious as to what everyone else in the barnyard is doing and am also on the lookout for new helps, advice, curriculum, etc. And of course, I want to evaluate what I am doing to and for my kids. :) One blog in particular I read is the Pioneer Woman Homeschooling blog. She has different moms contribute to this particular facet of her site. It talks about homeschooling, has discussions on general opinion and stigmas, what different homeschool moms face, etc. I have been asked why we homeschool by a few different people. They seem to expect a passionate diatribe about spiritual conviction, the evil of the world, or some kind of mental genius or handicap. So, for personal clarification, this is why WE homeschool.

1) Easy situation. We're different. Not in the, hello, I'm-a-freak-of-nature-way. I am already staying home with a younger child. I am not quitting a job to stay home. It was not a huge sacrifice to keep the older one home and torture him with Phonics. (Ask me that later when I am lying on the floor with a cold compress on my brow, moaning "Why?!" to the ceiling.)
2) Food allergies. We are allergic to a bunch of stuff. It was a pain in the butt to pack breakfast and lunch and various birthday cupcakes and holiday treats last year for Ian. And he still got a hold of stuff that made him sick. So, it was a mark on the + side when we considered homeschooling. (Yes, I made a list with little pluses and minuses.)
3) Concern for our child. Our kid seemed bored in kindergarten and was redoing stuff that he had learned in pre-k. When he was out of school for a week with a broken elbow, he did his entire week of make-up work in a hour. I asked for harder stuff for him to read at home. I didn't get much of a result by asking. I got the feeling that his teachers, who are great ladies, thought I was a pushy parent. I saw my kid getting disinterested and lazy and stop trying.
4) An Inkling. My husband and I homeschooled (but not together, though he did pretend not to understand math so I would 'help' him). I did 11th and 12th grade enrolled in Christian Liberty Academy, which is a correspondence-type school. They send your books and tests, you do the work and mail in the tests. You get graded and graduate when you're done. I liked it. I also tutored a bunch of younger kids in their various subjects. So I know how it feels to get to a point where your parents are no help at all and hide in the closet when they see you enter the room with a textbook. Like...Chemistry! Or Saxon Algebra 2!
No permanent scarring, though it shook my belief that my mom knew everything. Haha, Mom.
With the younger kids that I tutored when I was in high school, it was an eye-opener. There were kids that did just fine. There were kids that were several grade levels behind what they should have been. There were kids that the other kids thought were weird. There were normal(ish) kids. There was one boy with atrocious table manners. Those who were in the tutoring group will remember him as well as their inability to enjoy a meal when they were seated across the table from him. Or next to him. Or in the same room with him.
The point is, it's easy to say that you have these beliefs, opinions or feelings and you're going to homeschool. It's quite another thing to sit at the kitchen table for 5 hours a day, more or less, and try to get your child to understand the rules of plural, why you have to carry the 1, and why qu is spelled with a qu when it makes the 'kw' sound. And that is just first grade, with just one child.
I know the parents meant well and they thought they were doing the best for their children. But I wonder if they would make the same decision again, now that their children are grown and their lives are set. The ones who did not do well homeschooling hated it. They still hate school. Some of them got so far behind that they quit school. The ones who did well may have loved it, or may have secretly pined to be in a public school. Others did fine and went on to trade school or college and lead productive lives. We did not suffer from not going to prom or having a commencement ceremony. [Be honest! When you reach the 3rd hour of any commencement, are you still excited to be there? No! You wanna get it over with and go eat! All during my college graduation, I thought about how nice it was to have skipped the high school one.]
But it is important that I remember to give myself the option and freedom to change my mind if things don't work out the way I have envisioned. One day we may go back to public school. If the kids absolutely want to, then they have a say. But right now it's going pretty well.
5) State laws. We live in Oklahoma, a very accomodating state for homeschoolers. A couple of miles away, and the state our co-op is in, is Arkansas. I'm not exactly sure, but I think they are required to do state testing every year. Different states have different requirements. Some states make it very difficult indeed, like having lesson plans and checking in with a state-certified teacher once a month. We avoided a lot of these difficulties during my childhood in Florida by being enrolled in an actual school, even though I completed it by mail.
6) New oppoortunities! There are some neat things in our area that I wasn't aware of (or interested in) in my time. There's a play group at the library every Tuesday. The library is continuing it now that Cherokee Nation has pulled out. At least it will be a specialized play time and there are books to read and crafts. It is for children 5 and under, but Ian is still welcome. It is good for Erin to be around other kids (sharing is always a noisy debate) and Ian as well. We also joined a homeschool co-op. It costs $20 a year for dues. They have low-priced field trips, learning days, special classes, special ticket prices to performances at the Arts Center in Fayetteville, and more. We went to a swim day at the coolest pool ever in a nearby larger town. There were lots of other homeschool kids there and mine had a blast. Next Friday we're going to a Fire Safety Field trip at the Fire Station there. And October 1 is the Corn Maze in Southwest City, Missouri! There's no way we could find out about (or afford!) these things on our own. And meeting other families that share our daily trial is a great encouragement.
7) Curriculum Choices. I can't give all of the above reasons without mentioning that we get to focus on learning opportunities that would not be an option in public school. Our curriculum includes science from a Creationist's perspective as well as a Bible course. And if we want to take a bunny trail and make a covered wagon out of a shoe box, then we can do it together and have a good time. We take extra time on things we're interested in, like pirates, castles and volcanoes. And it's really nice not to get every question wrong because you skipped a line and wrote all the correct answers on the wrong line. Had to put that one in there.

If anyone is making or considering a decision to homeschool, here is my humble opinion. These are our reasons. I won't gush and say that everyone should homeschool because it's the ONLY way. To quote Pioneer Woman, "It's not for everybody, but it works for us." And obviously, I also don't think that public or private school is the only way. In the end, our goals are the same. We want our children to learn and grow and prosper. And we want to make it through without bald spots and facial twitching. I'll let you know how that goes.