Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday in Fall

So we didn't read Alfred the King, in spite of our best intentions. Well, E's intention was NOT to read it and I became distracted from my tireless pursuit to make her read it. Thing is, she's reading, rather well actually, but without any interest at all. The whole point hasn't clicked and I'm gathering that I can't make it click, no matter how much I talk about how exciting and wonderful reading is. Amazingly, she would rather read lists of words on boring pieces of paper than an actual book with pictures. Such a strange child.

Meanwhile, E and A are retaining vasts amounts of disconnected information and enjoying it very much-the timeline, the english grammar facts/definitions, the dates and history sentences, the timeline, the catechism, the bible verses, the parts of the body, the latin. To be perfectly honest (I hate it when people say that), I'm totally surprised. I'm more than surprised. I happened to glance at my IHip today (I can't even remember what IHip stands for) and found that we are on track for where I planned to be, even though I feel like (feeeeeeeeelings, nothing more than feeeeeeeeeelings) we're always behind.

As I just said, it surprises me. I'm surprised, shocked even. I guess I just imagined it being so Awful and so Hard. When you say something like, 'Well, we're homeschooling this year,' to someone who knows you have four small children and a 40 hour a week job at church they look so Appalled, so Afeared for your sanity that you go home thinking, 'I must be crazy, this was a terrible idea'.

This very thing happened to me this week. I wondered to myself, 'How am I doing this?' And I discovered the following things about our life.

A. (because we're learning the alphabet). We're very focused on the things that are really important to us, like: home made bread, home made stock, home made food in general. So a day in the kitchen is essential to the functioning of the household through the week.
B. the children are perfectly capable of cleaning and picking up after themselves so I will not waste time doing it better after they have done a bad job. I will just sit down in the chaos and ignore the veritable desert of crumbs on the floor, admonishing them that they will have to do it tomorrow since they did not do it today.
C. Church is more important that sports. So we are not probably going to do a lot of sports. Maybe a little here and there, but basically its going to be a life lived in church. E, actually, is having an hour of ballet a week and loving it. But basically, because we're not running all over creation, we have time to help clean the church, worship in the church, make pies for the church, play in the church and color pictures all the live long day in church.
D. Classical Conversations is SO HELPFUL. Its keeping us on track and providing structure for the difficult things like science, art and music.
E. E and A are recovering the very good relationship they lost a little last year when she was in regular school. They were glued to each other before that, but, after a year of being endlessly on the bus, exhausted from relating to so many different people, they seemed unable to get a long. Now they work together, play together and pray together and are glued back at the hip, only now they have little ones to include and love and its very pleasant to watch.
F. Being with your own children for the whole day is not as awful as one would expect.
G. I'm really glad we dispensed with the whole counting thing. If a child can come at '3' or '10' they might as well come right away. Of course then you have to teach counting another way.
H. Some days are better than others but every day that we do school all day is a good day.
I. I can count well enough for a first grader.
J. I'm a better singer than I thought.
K. I can play the tin whistle better than a four year old on my first try.
L. I'm a lot less lazy than I was seven years ago.
M. My children will be a lot less lazy when I'm through with them.
N. Sometimes its easier to remember the timeline when you're dressed up as Spiderman.
O. Babies are a serious pain when you're trying to delicately glue little pieces of paper together in exactly the right way.
P. It is imperative that everyone goes to bed early on friday night so that I can watch that repulsive program The Soup. There, I said it, I watch TV sometimes, even bad TV.
Q. We actually have more order and structure than we did with a regular school routine. I am not required to get up while it is still dark to make lunch and stand out in the cold waiting for the bus. I can slowly wake up and start school at a reasonable hour when the sun is up and everyone is in their right mind.
R.If Matt didn't cook on the weekends, I would loose my small mind.
S. Homeschooling IS a sacrifice but I can't remember what we gave up to do it. Must not have been that great, whatever it is.
T. I thought I would have to give up doing all the stuff I do at church, but actually, I just needed to do more work in less time (as in being less lazy, see above). Surprise.
U. I really enjoy making charts and books. I don't enjoy reading the Math text to find out what we're doing next.
V. I don't have the energy to read Any books at all except for Calvin and Hobbes.
W. I didn't need to worry that Matt would never read to the children in the evening. It turns out, he just wouldn't read boring things. Now that he's reading them Narnia, he Never forgets and rearranges his whole life to be there at that moment.
X. I probably don't need to worry at all, although its such an essential habit for me, I don't see giving it up this year.
Y. Probably more people could homeschool if they put their mind to it, just like more people could go to church if they put their mind to it.
Z. Gluing leaves to pieces of paper is a legitimate art project and it doesn't need to wait until I know what all the leaves are before we do it.
Well, isn't that a nice cliche, I made it all the way to Z.


Anonymous said...

You give me a whole new perspective - and hope - for home schooling.

One question: Do you fear, sometimes, that the perspective of the world you are giving your children is too small?

I mean, I really, really see the benefit of eliminating the ridiculously early morning, the bus ride, and the general insanity of the schedule public school education places on our children.

Then again, how do you replace their contact with the diversity of the world? How do you prepare them for the realities of the world?

Please don't read that as a criticism in any way. I'm just a grandmother who would, in many ways, love to see her grandchildren homeschooled.

In fact, I'm thinking of offering myself to the task. So, I'm thinking of arguments my son would make and picking your brain for responses.

Thanks, Ann.

Anne Kennedy said...

I'm glad to be a good advertisement. I had been having the same worry earlier in the week after watching a whole playground of children running and screaming, but then I watched the same group all get in line to go back inside and it seemed to take ages. The thing is, we see people almost every day-friends from church, from the CC group, the neighbors. So there are all kinds of people besides just us in our lives. And, for example, we've been talking a lot about the upcoming election, about politics, we watch a lot of youtube clips about various things, we have a wide variety of books. I think its helpful, right now while they're so small, to seriously focus on the things that Really Matter-like God, and good manners, and being kind to each other and reading, writing, math. It is quieter during the day. But I think the children of today, for all the diversity and opportunity, are most of all missing the great gift of silence, of learning how to hear the voice of God. The children coming to Sunday School are battling against business, technology, social trouble, family trouble, all the time really needing God. I want my little ones to hear his voice and recognize him now so that when they go out into the wide world they will know their way and not get lost.

Anne Kennedy said...

ps. feel free to email. I'm not great about it but I can always be better.

Dr. Alice said...

Ann, it sounds like you're doing great and so are your kids. Don't worry and Carry On Teaching. (A British friend of mine introduced me to the Carry On films this summer and I find them cheesy but hilarious.)

Joyce Carlson said...

It sounds completely fascinating. I SURE you need me there. ME

Polly said...

I love The Soup!