We Need To Discuss Your Summer Plans

“Summer plans,” or – as I like to call them – “just another group of months with the same old shit only hotter” are steadfastly approaching, and I feel like we need to discuss them.

We were at the doctor the other day, my 15 year old was having her yearly physical. The doctor asked what our summer plans are and the crickets chirped. Summer plans? The concept is lost on me.

It’s been in conversation for about two months now.

It’s a woefully tiresome topic, because – inevitably – it becomes one of those instances in which I feel like I have to explain myself to people. Twenty minutes into it, I’ve gotten nowhere. Usually this is evidenced by whomever I am talking with clearly not understanding what I’m saying, and changing the subject with something like “well there’s always room for spontaneous summer plans!”

And herein lies the first problem I have any time people ask me questions: I can never just give simple answers. Somewhere along the line, I conditioned myself to always justify what I am saying. In reality, I don’t have to explain my or my family’s reasons behind what we do, or in this case don’t do, to anyone.

We don’t have summer plans. Why not? Because we don’t want to.

Because we homeschool, we might be a little unique. My kids are around all the time during the school year, so I can’t exactly identify with the whole you-people-are-driving-Mom-crazy-for-these-two-months-every-year thing.

My kids drive me crazy all year long.

So in terms of camps or classes, or special outings: there’s really no need for it. Why would I put my children in a day camp that is the older-kid-equivalent to daycare when there is literally no need for me to do so whatsoever? It isn’t like they’re getting bored and need to be kept entertained. Or they are driving me batty and I need them out of the house. Summer for other people is our lives, every day of the year (except there’s schoolwork in there).

This is the second problem, although I wouldn’t call it a “problem,” so much as a circumstance. Our circumstance, because we homeschool, is that my kids are around all the time. I don’t need to keep them entertained, or do all kinds of extra activities because they are driving me crazy in the house. These things (the stuff we do, including the fun stuff) is peppered here and there through the entire year, because we aren’t beholden to a school district calendar.

That’s just the way it is, and yet no one (and I mean no one) can seem to grasp that concept.

The third thing worth mentioning is my husband’s work schedule. One of the reasons we homeschool is to accommodate his career in film. It’s hectic, it’s unpredictable, and it’s overnight. Anyone that’s ever worked in the film industry knows that summer and holidays are the busiest times for them, so vacations around then are not always in the cards.

If I’m being entirely honest, vacation isn’t really something we normally do at any time of the year, either. He’s just usually too busy, and when he’s not busy he’s catching up on sleep. What kind of a vacation involves Dad sleeping half the day, and keeping everyone up all night because he can’t (and shouldn’t) change his sleep schedule for the couple of days?

(And also, if we’re being REALLY HONEST… film work doesn’t exactly cover the cost of exotic cruises and trips to Hawaii for 5 + my dad.)

At a tennis match the other day, the mother of a couple kids my kids play with told me that she’s decided since her husband is working a lot this summer, she’s going to maybe just do the craziest thing ever and take the kids somewhere on her own! Can you imagine?

I take my kids places on our own all the time. If we waited for my husband to be available, we would be waiting years behind our graves.

This, I think, is a suburban thing: that families should do it all together, and if they don’t there’s something crazy or exotic or weird about it. The reality of it is that there is absolutely nothing unique about our situation at all. So many people have so many different circumstances to their jobs/homes/lives, it just is what it is.

And yet… this is the fourth thing. I waffle back and forth between wanting to live my life and let my kids live theirs; and feeling the guilting and the pressures that our culture has me conditioned to believe, which is that we should all be patiently waiting to live our own lives with our hands folded neatly in our laps for my husband to be available.

Except that he’s living his life by working in his dream career. This is literally what he dreamed about in childhood, went to college for, and has worked all these years to achieve. So we should not live while he… lives?

Why do we worry so much about summer plans anyway? Maybe this is just some weird stage of life I am in, where your plans end up largely dictated by your children’s plans, forcing everyone into these specific time frames to create family memories and – oh I don’t know – live life.

Or maybe it’s something bigger. Like a status thing. I remember a movie once where the guy says in a snooty voice: “where do you summer… I SAID WHERE do you summer?” The concept is lost on me.

My summer plans are the same as my every day plans. My kids do schoolwork. They do chores. They play tennis. The baby and I watch Story Bots and play with blocks. I cook. I clean. Sometimes we go to museums and libraries, some days we binge watch Supernatural.

And I think I’m much happier and more content than a lot of people. We don’t save life’s moments for special occasions or the summer months, when conditions are perfect. We live them every day.

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(3 Things You Can’t Say To Me, 1 Thing You Can) On the Topic Of Homeschooling

Summer is upon us, which means everyone with an asshole and an opinion wants to tell me what I should be doing with my family come next fall.

My 11 year old is – technically – a to-be-6th grader; although, to define her as such in homeschooling terms seems very unfair. We don’t take breaks for summer (or Christmas or Easter or even weekends for that matter), because we take a much more well-rounded and un-schooled approach to things.

If I were to actually qualify her, I’d say that my 6th-grade-11-year-old is continuing on about halfway through 6th grade math, beginning 8th grade science, testing out high school level reading and language arts, and continuing on into a whole gamut of subjects that aren’t even covered in public K-12. Like metaphysics, Latin, ethics, art history, and growing up to not be a dick.

But I don’t actually do that. I never say things like “you are a 6th grader” or “are you ready for 6th grade??!” People often regret asking me what grade she’s in, because my response is typically “it’s a little complicated” and people don’t want complicated. They want something simple and they want a label for it, which is probably part of why they want us to stop homeschooling.

What’s important is that at her age, she should be starting 6th grade. In California, that’s when middle school begins. This means that everybody is all up in my business. Now is the time to get her back into “regular” school – what a great transitioning point!

(If I hear the words “this would be a good transitioning point” just one more time, I may completely lose it.)

Ignoring for just a moment that a public school system where kids sit on the floor because they have no desks, bully each other to the point of suicide, and are lucky if the teacher even knows their name by the end of the year – ignoring for just a moment that all of these are actually considered “regular,” I usually indulge them with a smile and vaguely say “all things to consider.” Then I move on with my day and forget about the conversation altogether.

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And yet, I’m tired of slapping a smile on my face and listening to people’s opinions. People I barely know; people close to me. People I talk to once a year; people I talk to every day – everyone else seems to think they know better than I do when it comes to what is best for my family. Maybe it’s that this year I’ve heard a lot more of them, because of this whole middle school thing. Or maybe it’s that as time goes on, more and more people around me believe it’s socially acceptable for them to foist their unsolicited opinions in my direction.

Whatever the case may be, I’m tired of it and am resolving to no longer stand by and smile and nod and respond “all things to consider.” Because while I don’t think that’s the sole reason for all the unsolicited advice, I do believe that is perpetrating the problem.

This makes me partially to blame, and you all know how much I don’t like being at fault.

So here are 3 things you can’t say to me and 1 thing you can, on the topic of homeschooling. Nosy nellies, be warned.

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You Can’t Say You Think Our Family Needs More Socialization

I’m not sure it would be physically possible to have any more positive social interaction than this family already has. While going to a “regular” or public school would, in fact, provide more in-person time with others, that isn’t to say it would necessarily be positive or even true.

When kids go to school, they don’t spend all their time sitting there gabbing and working together. In fact, as project-based learning has decreased in the public school system, individual learning and silent testing time has taken over. The time kids have with each other as actual, social interaction is typically confined to recess and lunch. Arguably, I make up for the lack of that ten-fold in other ways.

And then there’s the whole issue of bullying.

Usually when I tell people that homeschooling affords us more positive social interactions – through extra curriculars, homeschool groups, sports, friends, and family – they retort with some idiotic response like “but they have to learn to deal with bullies eventually.” As if extra curriculars, homeschool groups, sports, friends, and family don’t have their own fair share of bullies.

The difference between homeschool and “regular” school, though, is in the ability to deal with those bullies in a more healthy, controlled, and effective way.

You Can’t Say My 11 Year Old Needs Other Girls To Go Through Puberty With

Someone actually said that to me.

When I asked for a little clarification – not that I cared, only that I was dumbfounded – she told me that there was no way I could understand what my daughter is going through in this pre-pubescent time of her life. Moreover, she could go through it all with others if she were in regular, non-homeschool school.

I may not remember every, single, literal, detail of my puberty – when I started shaving my pits and what brand maxi pads I used for the first time; but I certainly understand what is going on. And what I know more than anything is that the most terrifying thing about puberty as a little girl is that everyone goes through it at a different rate, some even at entirely different age brackets. There is really no such thing as everyone going through it together as friends. And even if there was, I see this as having absolutely nothing to do with our educational choices.

You Can’t Say I’m Going Too Far Ahead

Remember how I said that we have a much more well-rounded, less restrictive, way of doing things? The result of this has always been that we’re well beyond the expectations of any given grade we’ve homeschooled through.

I cannot even tell you how many people have said I’m going too far ahead. People that have actually said to me in all seriousness that “there is such a thing as learning too much.”

You just can’t say that. It’s so wrong on so many levels – morally, philosophically, logically – you just. CAN’T. There is no such thing as learning too much – there never has been, there never will be.

That leaves only one thing. That 1 thing you actually can say to me on the topic of homeschooling. It’ll probably come as a shock to many of you, especially those that have been nosing up in my business and telling me why you think we should stop this little experiment already.

The 1 Thing You Can Say Is That WE ARE DOING A GOOD JOB.

The only people I have ever – in all these years of homeschooling – heard say to me that we’re doing a good job with this crazy, alternative lifestyle of ours is … you’ve got it … complete strangers.

A stranger sees us studying in the morning on a weekday at our local coffee shop…stops at the table to say we’re doing a good job.

A stranger hears us talking in a museum in the middle of the afternoon on a Thursday…stops us in the exhibit to say we’re doing a good job.

A stranger is on a walk and passes us on one of our weekly scavenger hunts…says as we cross paths that we’re doing a good job.

These are the people that have said that we are doing a good job. Not the people around me – the friends and the family who think it’s their missions in life to convert us to the regularity of compulsory day school.

Support. It’s simple. It’s positive. And if you learned anything yourself in whatever education you’ve had, you know it’s the smartest thing anyone can do.

Well, that and minding your own business.

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So I almost vomited in the parking lot of my high school today…

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We were driving around today, killing time and enjoying the seat warmers in our rental car, when all of a sudden I realized that we were in my hometown.

The town I grew up in.

Blast from the past, right? ERR. Wrong. Blast of puke from my mouth.

Let me back track. Saturday we embarked on a cross-country trek to the Chicagoland area, for the Thanksgiving holiday and to visit family and friends. Also to pork down enough good food to last us until our next time out here (hopefully that one will be permanent, though that’s another story…).

And I guess we came out to embark on some nostalgia. Like usual.

So I grew up in a town now referred to as Homer Glen. I say “now referred to” because at the time it was just called Homer Township, which was an unincorporated area just outside the city of Lockport. If you know anything about the famous Joliet prison, Lockport is just across the bridge from that. And Homer Township just up the street from there. Now it’s a town, called Homer Glen. Apparently Homer alone (named after the founders HORSE) wasn’t good enough for them. Whatever.

Because I lived in a township, I was bussed over to Lockport for high school. They still don’t have a Homer High or anything like that, though that will likely come one day as the area grows. Or not. Who knows.

So I went to Lockport Township High School. All four years.

Let me just pause there and say: if you came to this blog post by Googling “Lockport Township High School blows big fat monkey balls, no wait monkey balls are too good for LTHS that’s how bad LTHS is…” … well, I agree with you. My experience there was – shall we say – lacking. But really, whose high school experience is actually all that great in the end? There’s always something horrible about it, even if you’re the captain of the football team (or whatever the position is everyone envies).

Moving along.

We were driving around and enjoying the seat warmers and I realized we were in our hometown, and I asked my father just what we were doing. He said hitting up some nostalgia, a blast from the past. Then I started to gag (because if my husband were here, I would be saved from this blast from the past nonsense, but alas my husband doesn’t get in until tomorrow night). Anyway, I started to gag because there is absolutely nothing more nauseating than sitting in the car with my father when he starts on one of these nostalgia tours. At first it’s cute. Five hours later you’re car sick and very seriously annoyed.

He drove past our old house, which is cool to see. Though it isn’t our house anymore so really who cares?

We drove past my grade school.

My father regaled stories about shooting a 75 on this golf course, and eating dinner at that diner that still exists.

Then we started towards Lockport and I really started to feel nauseous because going to Lockport means one thing and one thing only:

A visit to good ol’ LTHS.

We started down the road towards the high school and my father said enthusiastically “does anyone want to visit LTHS?!” I thought he was kidding. I prayed he was kidding. I bargained my soul to the devil to make a visit to LTHS not happen.

A visit to LTHS – for me – is not all cutesy like in the movies. We don’t go in and wander through the halls, remembering my first kiss. Seeing trophies I won in the trophy case. Recognizing a teacher and chatting about how wonderful my life is.

Nope. A visit to LTHS would be taking a look at the woods where my boyfriend and I used to make out and smoke cigarettes. It would be remembering all the times my dad thought I was too dumb to pass a class, so put me in a remedial one in spite of my test scores. It would be being recognized by no one but the security cop that caught me with weed in my locker freshman year. Which doesn’t matter anyway, because my life is nothing to brag much about now anyway. I pretty much do all the same shit I did in high school, that being contribute very little and wear lounge clothes every single day. Wait, in high school I actually had a paying job, which is more than I can say for myself now.

As we pulled in I couldn’t take it anymore and very seriously thought I was going to vomit. My dad kept stopping the car, saying “take a picture here!” and going on and on about all the stories from my time in high school. Or from him covering football games there when he worked for the paper. And on and on he went until finally I just screamed for us to leave before I vomited all over the car and my precious seat warmer.

School was in. I am sure people heard. The lunch ladies were leaving for the day, and may have given me dirty looks as I sat screaming in the car.

I have no shame, though. A girl can only handle so much.

Do you go on nostalgia tours every time you go home, faithful blog followers? Or are you like me: preferring to keep your past blasted back as far back as is humanly possible?

Destroying Your Carpool: A Tutorial

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Be it a carpool for work, extra-curriculars with the kids, vacations, school – you name it, there are a lot of reasons people carpool. If everyone in the carpool is on the same page, it’s great. But for every carpooling success story out there on the Internet, there are about ten times that in horror stories. It’s as if these people are actually hellbent on destroying their carpool from the start; or, they just don’t care about anyone but themselves.

I’ve mentioned a few times, both in recent blog posts and on my blog’s Facebook page, that my husband has been in a carpool from hell for a little over a month now. What made the situation that much worse was that my husband just thought it was the next best thing to my vagina and a bowl of pistachio-flavored ice cream. The woman he was carpooling with was in the exact, same sector of the film industry as him, so he just lapped that shit up like a lost puppy dog wandering the streets in search of anything. I imagine that every day they sat there and just blew their editorial, industry bullshit up each other’s assholes the whole way to and from work (well, that is when they actually carpooled on the days they were supposed to carpool). I fully believe at this point that were that woman single, I would have had something to worry about. Maybe I still did (or do). That is the depth to which Poor Nick seemed to be taking this relationship, and what he was willing to sacrifice to maintain it. In the end, the carpool is no more, though. Too many things stacked up against their woe-begotten arrangement, which has led me to throw together this little tutorial on how to destroy your own carpool.

Because that bitch didn’t just destroy their carpool. She dropped a fucking nuclear bomb on it.

Let’s go step by step on how you – too – can lay waste to your own carpools. We’ll use film industry ass can lady as our tutor.

Always Show Up Late In the First Leg Of Your Carpool

Doesn’t matter what you are carpooling to, if you want to fuck your carpool up worse than you fucked up your marriage, just always show up late in the first leg of your carpool. By “first leg,” I mean the “to” part; so if you are driving to work (for example), I mean driving there.

Never let the other person or people know you are running late either. When you get there twenty minutes late, act as if there is nothing wrong with you being late.

Film industry ass can lady was the best at doing this. Once I had to use my husband’s car when mine was in the shop and she knew we would be sitting there waiting – half asleep and waiting to go back home – and that bitch showed up twenty-five fucking minutes late. To make matters worse, she was disheveled and her kid was in the car with her. Which leads me to our next lesson in destroying your carpool …

Expect Your Carpool Mates To Run Your Personal Errands

I always thought that no matter what a carpool was for, it was totally tacky to run errands and shit while your carpool mates are in the car. Say you are carpooling a group of kids and their moms to a soccer game. Would you stop at Ralphs and pick up some bread on your way there, then pick up your dry cleaning too (I mean, it is on the way..)? Fuck no, you wouldn’t run your bullshit errands while you are carpooling. It’s rude and reeks of the notion that others have nothing better to do with their time but sit in the fucking car for no reason.

So film industry ass can cunt lady would sometimes have my husband go along with to drop her kid off at school. Happy fucking family that they were: dropping the daughter off to preschool and waving good-bye on their way to pursue their illustrious careers in film industry ass can cunting. I asked my husband where the fuck this lady’s husband was, to which I got no response.

Indeed. Run your fucking errands into the motherfucking ground if you want to destroy your carpool.

Never Do What You Say You Are Going To Do

This must be a film industry thing, because my husband often does not do what he says he is going to do either. I mean with regards to me.

They agreed to meet at the carpool point near her home on days that she drove, and at the carpool point near our home on the days that he drove. He drove a lot of fucking times. I mean a lot. She met at the carpool point near our home once. He went to her every other fucking time.

If you want to bury your carpool, never do what you say you’re going to do. If you say you are going to meet in one place, meet in another. If you say you are going to leave earlier, leave later. Always expect others to cater to you when you don’t do what you said you would do too.

End the Carpool Day By Expecting Everyone To Wait For You

At the end of a long day, I think the last thing I ever want to do is sit around and wait for people. At the end of a long vacation, the last thing I want to do is be delayed in getting back to my regular routine too. I could go on with every scenario in which one might carpool; you faithful blog followers get the point. The real surefire way to destroy your carpool like film industry ass can bitch cunt lady did is to always make people wait for you at the end of the day.

This bitch was so ballsy about it. She’d just show up forty-five minutes after they were supposed to leave, and act like there was nothing wrong with it. Once it was an hour and a half. The worst was when she kept telling my husband to wait for her until it ended up being two hours after the work day ended. He got home that night at 10:15. Family? Household responsibilities? No such thing can exist or be considered for anyone in the carpool, if you want to destroy your carpool.

In the end, the real kicker was that driving to and from this woman’s work in city traffic from my husband’s work, as well as to and from her home since she could never make it down fairly for him, added our gas bill up to such a point that he spent more money on gas in the month he carpooled than in the months he drove himself. Between the extra driving, and the many times she just never showed up, this was the end of this cuntly behavior affecting our lives.

He has yet to tell her she destroyed the carpool. They are off carpool this week and he is probably coming up with ways to justify continuing to do the carpool anyway. I’m sure he’ll blame me, like he always does. Not to emasculate my husband, but he doesn’t really seem to even want to have the cajones to be honest with anyone. But me, of course. If it were me he would have told me I was a film industry ass can bitch cunt face and that the carpool was off on the second day (which is another blog post altogether).

If you want to destroy your carpool, I highly suggest you follow that broad’s behavior, with her nappy ass hair and her disrespect for anyone’s priorities other than hers.

Good riddance, carpool!

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young B(itch)

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Some of you may or may not know this (depends on how much you pay attention to my blathering), but I am quite the educated lady. I don’t mean that I’m smart or wise or know shit, though. I mean I’ve had a breadth of education.

In spite of approximately a decade of higher education, I still consider myself pretty much an imbecile.

When I first moved to California, I had just graduated high school. I went to community college for two years, where I did what I always planned on doing – majoring in studio arts. But as time wore on, the obsessive nagging of my parents to “do something more realistic” got to me so I changed my major to political science and philosophy. After earning a bachelor’s degree, I went on to graduate school in philosophy, became terribly disillusioned with the entire process, left graduate school and have since been floundering around.

To some degree, I’m pretty happy with my current life. I homeschool, which in a way is teaching – it just isn’t a room full of college kids, or (for the most part) philosophy that I’m teaching. And I get to have the time to be a writer, which is cool.

But something in the back of my mind (heart, soul, whathaveyou) has not been satisfied in all of this. I miss being an artist.

Semester after semester has gone by that I have attempted to take an art class at the local college; or to start drawing and painting on my own – neither thing I have done in over 10 years. I thought that after I renounced majoring in studio arts, I really needed to renounce art altogether to be comfortable with doing that. And so it has been a struggle to get back into it. I find excuses not to draw or paint on my own. Classes I have signed up for have been canceled, or I have found a reason not to take them in the end.

Then last night, I got passed into a class that was full at the local community college by my former studio arts advisor and teacher. He remembered me. He was happy to add me, in spite of the fact that the class was already filled to capacity. Today the class began.

But there are things that come along with going “back to school” that strike me as odd, maybe annoying – even when I’m just going for fun.

#1 Student Parking = State of Nature With Cars

I never used to have problems parking at school. There were always spots, and where I wanted to park. I never had to get to class an hour or two early just to have a place to put my car. Now it’s different, though. Now you have to very carefully manipulate yourself around the parking lot to get a spot.

You have to defend your prized place with everything you have in you too. After parking my car today (something that took twenty minutes and an hour early to class to do), I saw two guys get out of their cars and begin to fist fight for a spot. As I walked to class I heard someone screaming obscenities out their window.

Student parking is like the state of nature with cars. It’s nasty. It’s brutal. But if you don’t hold your ground, you won’t get a spot and you’ll miss your class. With a student body of roughly 12,000, it seems like the college could work to have better and more adequate parking availability. But then again, maybe this is a part of weeding out the weaklings. Only the true warriors will survive in this community college.

#2 Artists Have Too Much Freedom

I realized today a big part of why I have avoided doing art on my own for so long – there is too much freedom in it. After I changed to a political science and philosophy major – and especially when I went to graduate school – I fell into that groove of doing exactly what I was told. Papers could be about one topic, and one topic only. And it was the topic you were told. Essay length was no more and no less than what the professor told you as well.

You can imagine, then, my response today when my professor said “projects this semester are entirely based on you and what you want to do … it will be your topics, your ideas, and whatever medium you wish to use.” I almost passed out. Choice? Freedom? My ideas? These are concepts I abandoned a long, long time ago.

#3 There’s Always That One Asshole…

Something I absolutely despise about community college classes is there is always that one asshole that has to show off to the teacher. It’s as if they designate this person in the registrar’s office in the beginning of each term. “OK, we need some total jerk off that will interrupt the teacher, try and impress everyone with facts, ask way too many questions, and share a plethora of personal information no one else in the class wants to know.”

It never fails. Every single damned class I have ever taken has been like that. These people in community colleges – no matter how old, how seasoned, how experienced they are – just don’t know when to shut the hell up.

This class is no exception.

This lady in the class (and I call her “lady” using the term loosely, really I just want to signify that she is clearly older than me), will not shut up. She asked no less than forty-five questions today. She talked and talked and fuggin’ talked over the teacher. She rambled when her name came up during roll. She rambled when other people’s names came up. And just when the class was about to dismiss, she asked a detailed question that absolutely required a detailed answer.

Ugh.

So our first assignment to kick start all of this free-will-do whatever you’d like-stuff is to do a self-portrait. Of course even that is loosey-goosey: we can do something that isn’t even an image of ourselves, just what we think of when we think of “me.” I started snapping photos of myself today to see what I could come up with, and this photo below is my favorite. It really depicts all the levels of my psychosis. I think I’ll call it A Portrait of the Artist as a Young B(itch). Or – alternatively – Psychotic Nosepicker, a Study.

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Saying Goodbye to Summer

I don’t mean “saying goodbye to summer” as in it’s nice and cool and you can all break out your Uggs and seven-layered scarves and crap. No, no – as I sit here and think about changing my shirt since the boob sweat has now soaked through – no, I don’t mean that.

I mean that all these little bastards are going back to school somewhere between the end of this week and the Tuesday after Labor Day. This is a blessed thing, in my book.

Now before you all get huffy because I called your precious cargo “bastards,” please keep in mind that I don’t actually mean to say all kids are bastards. Just the majority of those in my community are. And we’ve all got to admit that some kids just are not the little sweetie-pies kids are supposed to be anymore. I think video games, television, and the culture of entitlement really ruined it for everyone.

Being a homeschooling family, I don’t usually get a sense of “back to school” time. I know when the kids are back to school, because those little jerks aren’t running their scooters into my car and letting off fireworks outside my bedroom window anymore. They aren’t screaming at 6:30 in the morning to each other. Their parents are back to work too, rather than overcompensating for their lack of involvement during the school year.

I think you know what I mean, though, when I say we don’t really get a sense of “back to school” time. We are in school all the time.

There will be no “back to school” supply shopping for me because homeschooling is done all year in this house. Sometimes I take advantage of the back to school sales – because, quite frankly, homeschooling ain’t cheap – but if I don’t really need anything at the time, it usually comes and goes with no notice. This year, I already had more than enough of everything and had planned through the end of December of this year.

I will have no overachieving parents to contend with whose children are in the same class as mine. I won’t have to stand around at the bus stop and chit-chat with mothers who don’t know my name, no matter how many times I’ve told them. There will be no carpool to deal with. No pick up/drop off lines. I won’t have to dread the return of the P.T.A. or P.T.O. or whatever the school calls them now. The “back to school” carnival will have no fish for us, because we won’t be there. My husband won’t be worried that this year he will finally have to volunteer for the carnival’s dunk tank. And when the Halloween party comes, I won’t have to take a Valium to prepare for the parents yelling at me – the room mom – for not presenting the baked goods in a way that properly highlighted them.

There will be no volunteer hour requirements to once again meet. There will also be no fundraisers. There will be no auctions that I have to make baskets for. There will be no bake sales. There will be no cookie dough orders and gift wrap sales. There will be no bills for funds not raised and hours not volunteered.

Summer may be coming to an end, but my sleeping until 9 in the morning every day won’t.

Summer may be coming to an end, but trips to the museum whenever we want won’t.

Summer may be coming to an end, but the added traffic and lines and public hassle sure will.

At the end of the summer, I usually celebrate the return of school by scheduling all of our really fun stuff. This year we’re going to Catalina Island, although there will be very few people there. We’re going to Disneyland and there will be no lines. We’re heading to the Angels/White Sox game – in the middle of the day on a school day. No one will be around, but we will and this is so awesome words cannot describe.

There are plenty of reasons why I am envious of the end of summer for many of you. You get showers again. You get “me” time again. You get order again and eight free hours a day to sip your coffee or tea or whatever until it’s time to get the kids and start on the homework. You don’t live and breath school, which is exactly what we do.

There will be no day that comes and it is suddenly quiet in my house. There will be no quiet shower in the morning; uninterrupted by questions and complaints and “I’m hungry”s. There will be no eight hours of uninterrupted “me” time, when I can go to the spa or mop the floor in peace. Shopping will still include a stop at the toy store as a bribe to get the rest of the shopping done with no issues.

But on the note of shopping, we will have no “school clothes shopping” day, where I am suddenly confronted with dress codes and the rising cost of uniforms.

In the end, I still prefer my end of summer much better. Without the hassle of supply shopping, and the drag of getting out of bed before 7. Without the jerk kids running their scooters into my car and the overachieving parents forgetting my name. Saying goodbye to summer is saying hello to pretty good times for me.