I’m just going to come out and say it.
I was really nervous about the whole “homeschooling” thing.  I put it on the blog, and then immediately, I kind of panicked.  “Why?” you ask.  Why would a woman feel fear when she says the word “homeschool?”  A little background…
Last year, Todd and I decided to go to a homeschool convention.  About $100 later I decided this was going to be fun.  Curriculum, planning, fresh pencils….ooohhh this is Type A heaven.  I told my neighbor I was thinking about it and she suggested I start braiding my hair and invest in a denim jumper STAT.  I did neither.  
Recently, one of my friends at church (Hello Heidi!) invited me to a homeschool get-together. It’s kind of a play-and-pray thing where the kids play and the moms pray.  What a cool idea, right? Yeah, cool up until the night before at about 11:00 p.m. when I start to wonder how this is going to go down.
“Todd.  They aren’t going to like me.  I’m not going to fit in.” I pause, waiting for him to play the role my dad did when I was in 6th grade and tell me I was sure to be everyone’s favorite friend (I wasn’t. I’ll save that story for another day…).
“Why do you think that, Ang?”  Oh no.  A reflective question.  He’s dodging it, I can tell.
“Because their kids are really smart, and Todd…..and I’m…..” I pause, and then with great conviction, spit out these words….
“I’m a subscriber…” I start hyperventilating.  This is not going well.
(If you haven’t read my entire blog, you have no clue what I am referring to. Don’t worry about it.  Just know I love Jesus, but I also want to know what Keith and Nicole named their new baby…Sunday Rose, in case you are curious. But you didn’t hear it from me.  I am a homeschooler.)
I am suddenly imagining kids who make the Sound of Music crew look like hooligans. And they are playing their violins.  I have recently discovered that all home-schooled kids play the violin, and you will do well to just say the word “Suzuki.”  That’ll get you in the door.
And then I am picturing Kate.  Who will probably try to eat the violin, and may use the bow as a weapon, while the well-mannered children lay hands on her.
This is going to be a train wreck.
And to top it off, my mom-jeans are in the wash.
I decide to go, and to make the best of it.  I adore the 2 moms who I know from this group so I thought I would survive.  On the way over, I told the kids to practice their new Bible verses, interspersed with the word “Suzuki.”  You know, just in case. 
I debated about leaving Coco in the car, but it was hot, and I didn’t want her to get all sweaty. She’s not heat-tolerant.  She likes it right at about 71 degrees.
I get the kids out.  Oh wait, I forgot the best part.  They wanted to color on the way over, and in my mind I was thinking, Perfect.  I will have them color maps of Russia, and then they can sort of just fall out of the car when we get there, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, a map of Russia, you are so smart, Ellie!’ Maybe not Russia, maybe Africa….now we’re getting somewhere…

Um, no.
What happened was that the door opened, and Abby decided that she was going to boycott the whole shindig, so for three straight minutes, I had to say things (loudly and with dripping sweetness), “Oh Abby, honey, let’s go see your friends! It will be SOOOOOO fun!!!!!” and then under my breath, “Abigail Grace if you do not get out of this car and say something in Spanish, you are NOT going to Chick-fil-a. Remember Dora? You can count to ten, right? Uno, dos…..”
“NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!”  Abby throws a crayon into the driveway and I, unwilling to give up the charade, decide to make lemonade with my precious lemons.
“That is MAGENTA, Abby! You LOVE ma-gen-ta, right?” She looks at me like I am speaking French and coloring Russia.  Kate starts saying “ma-gen-ta” louder and louder while staring at me. Then she starts rocking back and forth and slapping her legs to the beat in her head. It’s loud.  REALLY loud.  “MA-GEN-TA  MA-GEN-TA  MA-GEN-TA.”  She is now tossing crayons left and right, fully immersed in her new anthem.

Abort mission, abort mission…..
So I did what any self-respecting mother would do in that situation. I made a deal with them, and I’m not going to lie.
It involved the dollar spot.  
Bonus item for using the word “ubiquitous” appropriately in a sentence.
Dresses smoothed, hair spit-fingered down.  We walked into our homeschooling destiny like thoroughbreds.  I think two of them held hands.  What can I say? Overachieving is in their blood.
As we walked around to the back of the house, I saw some kids playing on the trampoline, and they looked, by all means, very normal.  Actually, downright adorable and laughing their heads off.  Feeling a little better…the kids are not ready to be integrated yet, so they come with me into the house.  Which is just as well, because at this point I need accessories. 
We walked through the back door and greeted everyone, and it absolutely turned out to be a blast.  The moms were all great, and the older kids took care of the younger kids while we all chatted.  Abby and Ellie loved looking at the birds and Kate didn’t hurt anyone, so by all means, it was a success.  
It really made me think about the way I compartmentalize people…this group intimidates me….this group will think I am too this…..this group thinks I’m out of my mind to do this….etc.I realized I had been worried about nothing, and I felt really welcomed and normal, and a little sheepish about my freak-out.
All it took was a Thursday morning.  If any of you GCC moms read this, know that I am grateful for you, and so glad to have such a great group of women to share life and teaching with.  And I am sorry if my kid kicked your kid in the shins.  She really is a dainty flower most of the time…
Yesterday, I was teaching the girls and we absolutely had a ball.  I decided it would be fun to let you all see our little classroom, and share some of our favorite time of day.  I have starting implementing some of the creative ideas that people sent to me, and I am really feeling good about the whole thing.  The room itself is what we in the South affectionately refer to as “The bonus room.” We don’t really have basements, so this is kind of the trade off.  I hope you enjoy these! And I will tell you ahead of time that if you like any of the decorations, they probably came from Ikea, and were less than $20.  I love that place….

                                                                 Ellie hard at work.
                             Kate’s very own pencil-bag to learn and to create and to…..
                                             …destroy my plan for a “no-bath” night.
                                 Um, yeah, that’s a glue stick. Say it with me, SU-ZU-KI.

                                                   All three girls…aren’t they sweet?
   I’m so proud of my girls (all 4 of them:)) …and so grateful to be their mommy.
                                                   I am a blessed, blessed woman.
As a sidebar, thank you so much for your support regarding my speaking engagement…I am so excited I will get to meet several of you.  I don’t have any more info about it right now, but I will post it when I do.  I’m also going to be sending you an invitation to come and meet the WHOLE Smith clan (and hear Selah sing:)…do you live in Michigan?), so stay tuned….
And the Bible study…still waiting for final confirmation from the church, but I am thinking we will start in the next 2-3 weeks, and I think it will be on Monday evenings at 6:30…this is subject to change, but that’s where we are now.
Love to you all on the eve of, well, another Thursday morning.
I hope it’s a good one for you.