Monthly Archives: July 2014

Day 3: fumbling towards direction

See, the thing is: I was a project manager in my past life during which I taught to adults at night; and then a public school teacher (like, seriously briefly).  It’s not like I don’t know how to plan, organize and execute.

I just don’t really love it in terms of educating.

Anyway… I have learned to learn my lessons at least.  We woke up on day 3 and went back to our morning character trait stories and mandatory snuggles.  The day went relatively fine.  For my life I can’t remember what we did in the morning, I just know that there wasn’t a lot of “schooling” for Girly.  BoyChild did whatever he was assigned except that he didn’t come get me for his Worldview stuff.  He did, however, have to do his daily chore (cleaning bathrooms).  We scuttled off to a mommy meeting/playdate where the mommy’s hold an accountability session for our respective businesses while the kids play.  It works.

We also had to do a walkthrough with the renters moving out of the house we really would have rather sold… but that’s another story.

Overall, not a horrible day.

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Day 2: #fail

Oooooh… oh my.  Well, BoyChild got up at the crack of dawn.  We are crack of noon people.  But since he was up and he wanted to, he listened to the 8am lecture for his new biology course, and then stayed on for the 9am live orientation to the system they used.  Which means nobody ate breakfast until 10am.  #fail

This left Girly largely unattended and unhappy.  It means we didn’t kick off our day with our Character Building story.  It means Girly sat in front of Sesame Street and BoyChild joined her while I tried to get dressed.  That puts BoyChild at over 2 hours of screen exposure.

BoyChild had an epilepsy diagnosis as a small child.  He had one obvious seizure somewhere around 15 or 18 months old and then “absence seizures”.  A therapist caught that it was happening and showed us.  Then, we caught them on video which is how he was diagnosed–because a sleep deprived EEG and then a 72-hour EEG showed nothing.  At the time, BoyChild was under the care of multiple specialists and we were confronted with giving him: a daily inhaler for his Reactive Airway Disorder that the pulminologist promised would turn into asthma;  Wellbutrin to rewire his brain because he barely realized people existed and was profoundly delayed (a step up from the initial suspicion of cerebral palsy and profound deafness); and now a seizure medication with the threat that “the next seizure could make him a vegetable”.

He didn’t get any of them.  At 10yo, he doesn’t have asthma, he presents fairly neurotypical (odd and quirky–definitely something “off”, but nothing like he was) and we haven’t seen evidence of seizures in many years.  None-the-less, he definitely reacts to extended screen exposure–even if the screen is showing a series of still images.  :/

But I digress…

Extended screen exposure didn’t end well this morning.

BoyChild did go on (after lunch!?) to finish the rest of his assignments.  At some point, he needed me to be involved for his Worldview discussion questions and he was goofing off.  Now, hear me: I am NOT loving all this schoolwork.  So I really was not having the patience for it.  I told him that it didn’t seem like he was really interested in doing this work–so why do it?  He pleaded with me to stay and I forced him to answer me: why should we do this if he really doesn’t feel like doing it?

He insisted he wanted to do it, and made himself appear more focused and we finished.  But now I feel bad because I’m forcing him to behave the way that LOOKS like he’s paying attention to me when I know first-hand that he can manage to do all kinds of things and still take in information, process it and respond.  One of the many reasons we homeschool INCLUDES “So that BoyChild can be himself and learn the way he is comfortable.”  Ugh… #fail

BoyChild finished up his work just in time for the kids to do their 4pm electronics time.  I shouldn’t have allowed this for him, but I did.  He loves it.  We’d just deal if it was too much for him.  But then I had appointments for the evening and I was gone until about 9:30pm.  Girly was already sleeping, but BoyChild was still awake.  We said our evening “prayers” (3 things we are grateful for) and he was genuine and thoughtful in his.  We are definitely seeing much more depth of thought and introspection in this little guy in the last few months.

And in my gratitudes, I was thankful that we could start over tomorrow.

Day 1: A whole new world…?

Oy… the first day of each “new school year” (read: the day my kids can say they’re in the next “grade”) is usually a party.  They wake up to balloons and streamers and possibly some cool pencils and/or school-ish supplies.  We take a first-day-of-school type of picture.

This year, I kind of dreaded this day.  I felt like suddenly, we had to really SCHOOL our oldest.  On one hand, I felt like it was a LOT of work to school-at-home.  In fact, schooling-at-home is what a LOT of parents envision when they think of homeschooling; and they use this to determine that it’s not for them.  But we haven’t really done that and I didn’t really WANT to do that.  I’ve spent the last month really looking at how to feed his desire for higher level learning in greater quantity without it being a school-at-home situation.  I’m not sure I’ve fully “got it”, but I have the first 2-3 weeks figured out.

This was BoyChild’s firm desire.  I feel like: okay, so we just full-on hit it hard per his request and if he pushes back–we just stop!  We do our annual family vacation in 3 weeks and surely by then, we’ll either be on this train or off.  Given that this is pretty far-fetched from how we operate, I figured day one would be rough going.  Except that it wasn’t.  And the stuff I planned took more of our day than expected.  Still, no complaints.  *dumbstruck*

We are starting the year with a foundation in “worldview”.  I landed on a curriculum that is faith-based and although our family is Bible-based, Jesus-following and often identify as Christians, we are not Christians–we are Quakers.  So I felt strongly that we needed to have an understanding of how worldview affects some of the works we use.  To that end, we are spending this first week on “A Young Historian’s Introduction to Worldview“–a four-lesson curricula by Brimwood Press.  BoyChild is doing that and then we are going through the first few pages of Usborne’s “People of the World” followed by the first few pages of Usborne’s “Encyclopedia of World Religions” and “A Faith Like Mine” by Laura Buller.  I feel very strongly about my children understanding and experiencing multiple cultures and seeing commonalities among them–not just differences.  This is a really big deal to us.  My husband and I have also been looking for opportunities to travel more and even be places long term, but BigPuppy makes a lot of that hard to figure out.

Oh, and BoyChild decided he wanted to return to calculus…after putting it down 18 months ago.  He wanted to do it for a year and finally got to a level of math prerequisite to the program I found for kids… but then (after a few months) decided it was boring.  Honestly, he was right: the content was monotonous and dry.  And dude, he was a 3rd grader.  He didn’t need calc.  But he suddenly decided to tackle it again, so I spent a lot of the morning erasing pages of “Calculus Without Tears” so that he could start from the beginning all over again.  We’ll see how THAT goes.

I’m tired.  A friend is having a Usborne book party tonight and I’m almost afraid to go because truly–we’re totally broke and I don’t really NEED anything.  And I’m starved.  And my husband just pulled up from a doctor’s appointment.  Probably a good time to sign off…

Change is in the air…

Currently, we have a 10-year-old son (a 5th grader for 2014-15) and a 5-going-on-25-year-old daughter (a new Kindergartner).  We have homeschooled since the oldest was entering Pre-K.  The list of reasons is really, really long but physical health (for my oldest) and emotional health (for my youngest) are significant factors for my particular family.  Everything else is really secondary to these priorities.  Not that they don’t matter, just that these two things are the things that drive us to ensure the continuity of educating our kids at home.

I’m a plan-and-execute-er at heart and we have gone the full spectrum of ways to educate a kid at home.  We had finally gotten to a “follow the child” mentality that worked well as long as children were doing something that didn’t take mama out of her comfort zone.  🙂

This past year was kind of an eye-opener for us.  Long story very short: we had to do a battery of psychology testing on our son and the results were rather surprising.  Where most kids his age average about 15 responses on a Rorschach test, Gig had 90.  There were a number of tests done.  We also definitively ruled out an attention problem.

I’m a fan of this kind of testing when 1) the day-to-day activities of a child seem to be affected negatively by their behaviors; and 2) the results are being used to understand exactly what a child’s strengths and weaknesses are so that the adult can accommodate them rather than change them.  Tests are by NO means the be-all-end-all on this matter; but they’re a really good jumping off point or can at least provide you a direction to go in.  They really don’t have all the answers and sometimes, they can even be inaccurate.  For us, the results explained a lot for us, and we have been able to change some things in our home that have made our son’s life an easier experience for him.

That being said, BoyChild has shifted gears this year and is suddenly looking for “more”.  He wants a more Socratic method of learning “instead of just reading books” and he wants to do more “cool stuff with science–like building atoms”.  Girly, on the other hand, has stopped saying that she wants to learn to read and is happy to do lots of art and athletics.

Mama has very mixed feelings about all of this.  I want to follow my kids, but I’m feeling very fish out of water.  This blog is my journey from being a pretty lax semi-unschooler to changing course at the behest of (mostly my oldest) child/ren.

Today was day 1