Homeschooling: September 2008 Archives

Weekend recovery


I'm still recovering from the conference this weekend and trying to attend to all the things that fell by the wayside last week. Liam has a cold and a fever so he's relaxing and doing worksheets and such from the sofa dressed as a ninja (Nana bought them costumes over the weekend) and Ewan is finger-painting while dressed as a police officer. The costume comes with a ridiculous, well-toned, pillowy sick-pack abdomen which makes him look even more delicious and buttery. When they nap, which should be soon, I'm going to try to reclaim some of my dining room from the books, canvases, and crayons, like in the above.

The days are getting shorter

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I've gone back and forth the past year about whether or not to create a "strictly-learning" space. When school started last year I transformed the third-floor playroom into a giant classroom, but it was too distracting for Liam to do his lessons there, I missed the French press in the kitchen on the first floor; plus I was too neurotic about paints and glue on the brand new Berber carpeting. A couple of months later and we somehow scooted all the way down the stairs to the first floor again, books, chalkboard and all, and took over the dining room. The playroom became a playroom once again. I was within steps of my French press. The boys could paint without me hovering over them. Liam was at the kitchen table instead of his small desk, where it was easier for Ewan to bother him and fiddle with his homework.

So every afternoon we hold court in the dining room and pretty much learn all over the house. We eat a simple breakfast and Liam practices his handwriting while I check email. We then power through phonics, spelling, history, math, and science. He does his reading and seatwork under how own will at points throughout the day. I don't nag him, except to remind him that his independent work is his responsibility and in order to get the mark it must be completed correctly by morning. I set his desk for him to work at in a far corner of our dining room where it's quiet and out of Ewan's sight.

All of his extra classes begin again in one week; Spanish, art, and gym. It's been a non-eventful summer for him - stressful and heinous for Chris and me - but the boys haven't noticed anything but summer afternoons full of games, tents outside, days in the sprinkler and nights catching fireflies. Summer is the only season that I can't stand to end. I always enter fall with what ifs and should haves. I don't linger on regrets though; I use them as motivation. Next summer maybe we'll get to take that ever elusive family vacation. We've never had one.

You know that summer you had as a kid, the summer where you took some big trip with your family or did something together that you will all talk and laugh about while sitting around the holiday table? Every kid has one. I feel as though I have to make every summer like that while I still have my chance. 

The Rules


After his grandparents told him no wrestling around in the pews, Liam scratched this out on his lap at church. His grandfather has a game wherein he informs the kids "There will be none of this ..." and demonstrates that there will be a moratorium on headlocks, body-slamming, tickling, etc. by demonstrating it on the nearest grandkid. Probably sulking after being scolded, Liam drew this, rolled it up like a scroll, and delivered it to his grandpa, who showed it to Liam's grandmother and the two of them laughed.

I'm struggling to keep some things balanced, put out fires, and sometimes I wonder if what I signed up for is worth the trouble of everything I have to go through for it. Everyone has those days, I know. I just wish mine existed without things to make them more difficult than necessary. I'll take what I can get, I suppose.

Today marks our first official day of second grade. I'm still piecing together a homeschool resource page; I know some of you have emailed with a bunch of questions on everything from curriculum to how I schedule my time. I'm not ignoring them; I just I'm a bit slow in answering emails at the moment due to my workload. Thanks for your patience. I'll be here with more regularity, in a very non-fiber kind of way, as soon as we settle in to our new schedule and I can get Liam to stop feeding pencils to his new pencil sharpener.

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Dana asks: "Thanksgiving Traditions: Yours or Your Mother's?"