Thursday, August 25, 2011

School at home

School at home is going well, all things considered. We're only doing about 90 minutes of actual academic work, and most of that is arithmetic drills and cursive patterns. I alternate reading books about Hawaii to get ready for our trip next week, and taking dictation for Dan's blog. I figure all the time he spends reading on his own counts, as well, so if we add that in, it's about three hours or more every day.

Here is an account of his first day up to the moment he sat down (lifted from an email because I'm too lazy to write another one):

Dan was a little discombobulated on Wednesday morning—at least, that’s the only thing I can think of to explain how unbelievably crabby he was. I took the boys to the Pancake House for breakfast to sort of celebrate not having to rush off to school, and Dan complained almost the entire time about the most ridiculous things: Johnny has new shoes and I don’t; you never let me ride in the front seat; I didn’t get a straw for my hot chocolate; the butter is melting on the pancakes; there aren’t enough chocolate chips; the sausage is the wrong texture;Johnny ’s superball is better than mine; (after throwing his superball under the seat in the car) I can’t find my superball.

Once we got home, he said, “Homeschool?” and I replied with some trepidation, “Okay, are you ready?” He cheered and gave me a hug. What a relief. We’re taking it very slowly—just a couple of hours each day of math, writing, and reading so far, and it’s going well. We’ll see what it’s like when the novelty wears off…

He was so cute that first day—he set everything up on the table (see photo): pencil, pen, markers, paper, ruler, scissors, pencil sharpener, highlighter pen, stapler, Scotch tape, and a little silver bell: “We can ring it when it’s time for recess and lunch.”

Dan's first day of school. Note the array of supplies on his left.

Today we went to a Welcome Back to School after-school park day for the boys who would have been in Dan's grade. Two of his best friends were going to be there, but I didn't know how comfortable he would be, sort of barging in on a big group of kids he doesn't see regularly anymore. In fact, he did spend the first few minutes just playing with me instead of joining his friends. He looked like the poster child for The Society of Socially Awkward Homeschooled Children, and I worried what all the other mothers would think--maybe I'm overly self-conscious, but I had a feeling that they were keeping an eye on him to see how well he'd mix back in with the old school crowd.

Exercising superhuman self-control, I asked him gently only twice, "Do you want to go play with your friend? He came right over to say hi to you, so I'm sure he wants to play with you." And I didn't say another word as my insides tied themselves in little knots of anxiety.

Thankfully, he eventually wandered over (or maybe one of them wandered back, I can't remember) and became once more a part of his favorite group of friends. Huge sigh of relief. Two of them even went with him at his invitation to a distant part of the park to climb a more challenging piece of equipment.

What's also fun is Johnny. He was sitting on my lap last week wondering what to have for his after dinner treat. He asked, "How many chocolate squares do I have left?"
"You have three, sweetie."
"Wait a sec," he murmured, and his brow knitted itself into a frown of concentration. You could just hear his little brain whirring away.
After a few seconds, he looked up. "I want two," he announced, "Then will I have one left?"
My little baby just did algebra! I thought.  3 - x = 1. I was so proud.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! Your kids are going to be able to write amazing essays :D It'll no doubt be a challenge, but if its any consolation, your Japanese classes got me excited about Japanese, and your English class taught me how to REALLY read a book. Two things that are still a huge part of my life. I think you'll do great!

    My sister's kids are all homeschooled, and she can't imagine going back. My mom just started my 13 year old sister this year, with some program I forget the name of. Although in my little sister's case it has more to do with pulling her out of a bad environment than being unsatisfied with the education system.

    I also secretly hope I can do this with my kids one day