It was just too good…
I loved learning when I was a kid, and had assumed that if I gave my kids the kind of education I would have enjoyed, they would lap it from my hand, and gratefully. Um, no. That hasn’t exactly been the case. And, so far, none of my three kids who I’m actively schooling have a real, innate love of learning like I did. Do. Well, I should say they don’t have an innate love of learning itself. They do like learning about the narrow things that particularly interest them, like K’nex patterns, new Legos, new games on Miniclip, and random things of interest, like pirates. Everything else, they learn fairly begrudgingly.
Anyways. We did do school this week, our eighth. Eight down, 27 to go. Not one of the days did we actually accomplish as much as we would have, had there not been a two week old baby in the house. But, we did school. It’s not like “regular” schools have 100% efficiency where the teacher gets everything done on her lesson plan, every day, every week, no matter what. (Trying to give myself some latitude here, and not obsess about my “failings,” OK?)
Much of what led to the success of this week was that on two days, my stepdad came over to help. My stepdad is a mostly-retired public school teacher, and one of my greatest supporters in our homeschooling efforts. Normally, he comes over weekly to give general music lessons to the three boys, and trumpet lessons to my oldest. But, this week, he did Ethan’s one-on-one schooling with him so that I didn’t have to. Ethan is in 6th grade, and 60-70% of what he does, he can do on his own. But, every day, I do take 60-90 minutes with him to read poetry, ask him comprehension questions about the novel assigned to him, discuss science, read history, etc. As I was contemplating starting school back up again, I had already come to the conclusion that this time with Ethan would be the most difficult for me to maintain. Enter Grandpa Joe. He offered, on his own accord, to come over two mornings a week for an hour and a half or so, and do whatever to help with school. Woo hoo! So, this week, he did Ethan’s one-on-one schooling with him.
The only bummer about that is… well, I guess there are two bummers (not that I’m looking for the cloud in the silver lining) is that a) it’s more difficult for me to stay on top of exactly how Ethan is doing, since I’m not the one doing the school with him, and b) I miss out on the learning myself!! One of the things I so enjoy about homeschooling is that I learn, too. My sister recently mocked me about that, but then, I asked her, “How much do YOU know about The War of 1812?” And, even though she was a history major in college, she didn’t know much. Ethan does. I do, but only because I’ve been studying it with him. If I ever learned about the War of 1812 in my 15+ years of school, I don’t remember it at all.
So. Back to the original point of this post. Last week, my 9yo, Grant, asked me, “Can we start school tomorrow?” Initially, a thrill of hope rose up in me. Could it be true? Could my son be developing a thirst for learning, and that he actually misses school? Could it be that he doesn’t actually see me as a school marm-slavedriver, but as the provider of interesting and edifying instruction??? Um… no. As I asked him about his motivations for asking me if we could start school back up again, he said, “Well, every week that we don’t do school now, we just have to add on to the end of the school year later. So, if we keep not doing school now, we’ll have to do school in JULY, and I don’t want to do school in July.”
It is true that, while NOBODY EVER CHECKS, I have signed an Affidavit of Intent to Home School in the State of Arizona, committing to do 35 weeks per year, and I keep track of our weeks… so, we do have to extend the school year as long as it takes to complete our 35 weeks. I really don’t we’ll be doing school in July. But, mid-June is certainly possible.
Although, golly. As I look up the affidavit in order to provide the link, I see that it no longer stipulates 35 weeks. Hm. I’m going to have to look into that.
Anyways, I was telling Grandpa Joe about this exchange between Grant and myself, and he was impressed with Grant’s reasoning abilities. I’d rather be impressed that he was actually excited about learning. Oh, well.