With the pandemic experience, parents around the world are learning real fast what homeschooling is about and many are pulling out their hair. Well, except for amazing mom/teacher Marilyn Guerrero, who is originally a New Yorker, now living in North Carolina. With two sons at home and two older kids way into their careers Marilyn is fascinated that she is able to cater to her son's education, on a one on one basis. Mostly the littlest one Graydon. She has learned new ways to teach and says that becoming a part of the homeschooling community has been a blessing. So, when she's not an entrepreneur running her DYI projects or soap/candle making for her client's, she is preparing educational agendas. I'm sure you will agree with SkysOcean on how Mari's ebullience shines a light on the homeschool life. Very encouraging and absolutely a proud moment on talking to someone that just gets it. Photos taken from Marilyn's social media sites.
Marilyn Guerrero, Homeschool Mom, Entrepreneur
How did you discover that you were good at teaching and homeschooling?
I didn’t know I was going to be good at it, let me say that, but my little guy is very special. Very delayed and has been diagnosed with ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). Meaning, if you tell him to go right, he would purposely go left. So, because of that he needs a lot of direction and a lot of patience. So, you have to play... it’s almost like reverse psychology with him. So, I had to learn how to manage a child that has ODD. So, for example, If I wanted him to write the letter B, I would write the letter D and be like Graydon I’m trying to write the letter B and he will be like, I don’t think that’s right. So, he would eventually come around and start writing the letter B. But if I tell him, Graydon we are going to write the letter B today, girl, homeboy would never write the letter B. Again, the same with numbers.
So, he knows his stuff?
If he sees me doing it wrong, he sighs and says, give me the paper I’ll write it. Now he’s a little bit more advanced, obviously, but that’s how it started. In school, the teachers were wonderful, but who has the time to dedicate their time to a child like that? People don’t have the time for that Elsie, honestly. Schools aren’t equipped to deal with children like that and that’s why kids that have behavioral issues, can get so lost in the system,
because ODD is a behavior issue. And it's so sad, because parents have to work. If you don’t take the time to take your child to a psychologist/ therapist and get them diagnosed or the treatment that they need, that child is called bad. “ Ese nene es mas malo” (that kid is so bad), etc. and that’s not the case. They need someone to work around them. They are children that need more time, more breaks. Graydon needs a lot of breaks in between and that’s not something that the school can manage.
I’m not a good teacher, so I definitely give you credit.
I didn’t think I was either, but when you have the chance and I’m home now, I said, if I don’t do this for him, he’s going to get lost in the system, because the school is going to do whatever they are capable of doing. This is how I started looking at it. When kids become… we went to school in Brooklyn, and when kids were labeled they were pushed into special Ed class and by law today there are no special Ed classes.
Yes, but now their classified with an IEP. (Individualized Education Program)
Yes they are. I remember seeing those special Ed kids and they looked just like me.
That was a big ass label to call a child and they got made fun of, and why because they needed a little bit more time to understand. Why, because the brain wasn’t as receptive as everyone else and that was foul because those kids...fell into the system in those cracks.
Yes, and a lot of them failed out and it was hard for them.
Yes, and you think as an adult, if only they had what they have now. The IEP to give them that extra ten-minute break. When the work is hard to understand it adds stress and also other kids can be rough and they bring out the aggression from the children that need that assistance. That’s when it starts affecting the behavior. And that’s when the suspensions come in and not only are you delayed in academics, but now it’s affecting your behavior.
So, when my child got diagnosed with ODD and I saw that academically he was so delayed. The school told us it was its going to be a challenge. He was receiving speech and occupational therapy...everything you can think of. I was like my God this kid..is not going to do well. I feel like he's going to be disruptive in class. So, we tried kindergarten for a couple of months and we were getting calls every single day and I said this isn't benefiting him. To the point that he hates the word school. Till today, we are not allowed to say the word school, he gets into a full fletch panic anxiety attack. So, we call it mommy and me learning time. So God bless, we are in first grade and we are doing great.
What’s a day of homeschool like for you and Graydon?
He has his moments, that, by 12:30 the day is done. It’s a shut down day and it is what it is. However, there are days that it's up to three o’clock and he's on a roll. That's usually a good day. Listen, you have to take it for what it is when you have a child like that.
How about your older child GavIn?
We started homeschooling him, but when he found out that our town is doing remote learning during Covid, he chose to do that. However, its still at home so he's cool with that.
So, when you were a little girl do you have memories that relate to your current profession?
I have to tell you, I don’t know if it necessarily falls under the window of teacher, but I always knew early in age that I wanted to be a mother. I truly love everything that has to do with being a mother and if I can have 5 more children I would. So, I don’t know if it ultimately has to do with having to be a teacher, but being a parent is being a teacher. So, to me that's all that comes with it. So, if I was born to be that, yes, because I take full enjoyment in all of that. From our good morning songs, to making breakfast, to still making my 25-year-old daughters Dr. appointments and food shopping.
Is there anyone that you talk to about homeschooling?
No, but I have to tell you, I started taking online courses to finish my degree in Elementary Education.
What is life to you, especially during this pandemic?
We have been completely quarantined on faze two for the longest. I have missed my older son and daughter in New York immensely. As for us us four, there has been just a lot of coloring, painting, movies, ordering.. I think we probably have every game board that Amazon has offered. I mean I have game boards coming out of every single bed in this house. So, a lot of family time.
So, life to me is my four kids in my bed, just laughing. Just us five. My husband is a bonus and my mom is an extra bonus and anybody else that wants to jump in. Honest to God. I’ve come to a conclusion, that I’ve worked and unfortunately I got very ill and I had to retire early. So, I'm constantly in and out of hospitals. So, any moment that I can have, it doesn’t matter with whatever kid that’s my joy.
In life, I don’t know how to half ass anything; If I bake you a cake, I’m going to rest assure it's going to be the best cake, if I throw you a party I’m going to give you the best party my dollar got and if I throw a BBQ I’m going to make sure it’s the best BBQ you have been to in that summer. I rather not do nothing, unless it’s the best.
Does your husband help with homeschooling?
We definitely do tag team. The other day Graydon and I did a whole project and created a whole itinerary of going on a trip to SeaWorld. We priced the tickets, hotel, etc. and we went on You tube and saw the activities that he wants to do. Now he is collecting money for his SeaWorld trip, that he wants to possibly go on his birthday.
How exciting. Does he have to get tested?
Yearly no, but we can get audited at any given time and I have to have all of my notes of his attendance and all of his class criteria that he participated in. So, I have all of the books with all the info. I do 50 percent workbooks and 50 percent application. So, we do half and half. I have many apps that he does on the computer. Many do 80/20. I do 50 50 because I like to handwrite everything and I teach Graydon how to write in script. I taught my older son GavIn as well, and it took us only 2 ½ weeks. He's really good at it now.
Do you recommend homeschooling to everyone, do you think it's for everybody?
I don’t think its for everybody, because I think you have to have a sense of character. There is a beauty behind it, that quality of that one on one. You would be surprised at how many homeschoolers there are. You know, there is a membership at the museum and we meet twice a week with other homeschoolers. So, they are not missing out on socialism with other children. We do reading time at the library, we meet up with other stay at home moms and children at the parks and the kids mingle. So, when people worry about socialism and certain activities. Those kids are the most active kids and the best part is visiting the empty zoos and aquarium. You actually get to give full class lessons not 20 minutes of it, like you do in a regular class.
5 shot questions
1. Favorite place in the universe? – Home/Beach
2. Chocolate or Vanilla - Vanilla
3. Worse place to get lost at? - Anywhere on the road.
4. Beast place you have traveled to? – Jamaica was good to me.
5. Favorite candy? - Snickers
Besides being amazing, we know that you are an entrepreneur with your own business. Tell us what kind of products do you offer?
I love to create. My business is Handmade by Marilyn in which
I make all of my own skin care and cleaning products and I offer
Candles, soap and skin care.
We loved this interview! Thank you Mari! Marilyn is definitely a hero in our eyes. Her dedication to learning and teaching is exceptional. We wish Graydon and Gavin much success. Thank you for passing by, please don't forget to subscribe for future posts. We promise we do not swamp your emails like others do. Also, you can find us on SkysOcean1 and SkysOcean. Please follow Marilyn and the boys on her guerreroschool and on Handmade by Marilyn for her wonderful products created by her. She can create all types of products for any event or for your personal use at home.
Occupational Defiant Disorder
The IEP, Individualized Education Program, is a written document that's developed for each public school child who is eligible for special education. The IEP is created through a team effort and reviewed at least once a year. Before an IEP can be written, your child must be eligible for special education