04 February 2010

Crazy Pace! Run Run Run!

Do we really need to finish a good-size chapter book every three weeks? Do I need THREE English curriculum items, one for Literature, one for Spelling, and one for Grammar? AND the vocabulary and grammar worksheets for an entire grade that were purchased separately? And do writing exercises on a regular basis?

Do I really need to do all of Singapore Math AND Teaching Textbooks? Does it all have to be done in one calendar year?

Am I crazy?

What's really nuts is that I'll do every activity in every book, and then "supplement" with other stuff yet still, and then wonder why we work so hard, but yet there is no way possible we're going to finish "on time" this year.

I have just looked a bit at the lopsided expectations I've fallen into and realized that I need to make several changes:

Have a GOAL

My goal for the current homeschoolers used to be that they could read, write, and do basic mathematics. Goal met! Yay us!

Next goal: get them out of my house and living independently, even though I really don't want them to leave. Ever, ever, ever. :( Sometimes it stinks being a Mom.

Breaking that goal down, though, we need more work on social nuances. I live with these little guys and I can tell you that even though they're VERY verbal, they're more than a little odd. They get very upset about things you and I might not think are out of place. For example, we were at Wal-Mart recently and we found little playsets that contain, say, kitchen or bedroom items and a little tiger or bear or horse family that would live in the playhouse.

"WHAT is this world coming to??!" Elfie exclaimed. "My word! That's just... that's SICK!"

Emperor saw the playset and laughed hysterically. "Mommy," he said in a high-pitched baby voice, "Can I have some more human meat?... Sure! Here's another steak!" Ha ha ha haaa!

*Elfie starts laughing despite himself*

I had to tell them both that they were being pretty sick and I was wondering what this world was coming to. These fellows operate on a totally different wavelength sometimes, I tell ya.

Organize

Oh yeah, I hate doing that. But I probably need to catalogue everything and figure out if I have a huge glut in one subject or several. I might even look ahead in my boxed curriculum. When we study, say, Africa, I want to pencil a note in the teachers' manual that I have a sticker book about it in my fifth grade "box of stuff" or whathaveyou.

Get Real

Here's where it's going to get really tough. I feel I need to start having a rough timeline. Maybe even pare my expectations down a little. I might want to figure out what I want to get accomplished each month and plan for that. I'm diligent about DOING THE SCHOOLWORK, but not planning for the schoolwork and certainly not "grading" the schoolwork. I'm starting to get itchy thinking about that. Grades are so stinkin' objective. Plus there's the fact that I make the boys take the same tests over and over until they score at least 90 percent. That wastes some time as well. It would be easier to write "95%" on all tests in the gradebook as D has been very specific that he wants the kids to have grades.

Or maybe I should let them fail a test or two for real. I just would hate to have a big "F" next to "ocean animals unit" should I die tonight and my children need to enroll in a "real school." Thankfully my school presently is rather imaginary, and we just pretend to learn all day. But I think of the clucking disapproval of folks after I die going through the record books. "Tsk, tsk," they'd say. "Mrs. C didn't teach about ocean animals very well. I've also noticed that her children are very unsocialized and laughed at the beautiful tiger-and-kitchen playset we set up in the back of the classroom. What is this world coming to?"

I shouldn't worry, though. Likely if I died, my husband would not be able to find any of the papers I have carefully kept. He would enroll them somewhere and they would TOTALLY BOMB on the standardized tests they'd use to determine grade level. Emperor has a good command of the English language, but will answer a question literally instead of figuring out "what they mean." Oh, boy. He'd be in kindergarten again if they tested him, nevermind how smart he is.

Really, though, I need to sort through all my homeschool stuff and figure out what I'm doing here. Otherwise, when convention time rolls around, I will buy LOTS OF STUFF and want to pack even more into my homeschool day. It's sort of a hobby. I like buying homeschool stuff and doing homeschool stuff. But I sort of make my kids participate in my hobby for hours each day.

We were talking of environments and things parents do to make their children feel safe. Elfie said that what Mom does to make him feel safe is to have school. He loves school! (I think it's the routine that makes him feel safe, but I won't tell him that if you won't.) Emperor groaned and rolled his eyes. Emperor likes his weekends off. I have a sneaky feeling soon he will ask for a vacation. He doesn't mind school, but he likes breaks as well.

Maybe I will take most of tomorrow off and doodle with my books.

7 comments:

  1. I love this post. Your enthusiasm for your kids and for their schooling is so sweet. It also reminds me of me. I love to buy school stuff. Always planning for when we will start pre-school in August (me and Olivia that is), but how much "stuff" does a pre-schooler need. Larry the Cucumber majored in play dough at the Happy Tots pre-school, but minored in rocket science. That sounds like my kind of school. (We watch way too much Veggie Tales at the moment.)

    PS--I am with Emperor. I like my weekends off.

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  2. I wouldn't worry about the humor/odd perspective on life. They sound like young Gary Larsons... and I find Gary's stuff to be hilarious. ...er... maybe I'm just sick too [smile].

    As for homeschooling: Relax. Find stuff that works for you, and then just enjoy it. If you all enjoy doing two math programs a year... well... keep up the great work. But don't stress it. Enjoy the adventure!

    And as you go to your convention, you need to swing by the Sonlight booth.

    ~Luke

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  3. Oh my gosh, those boys are hilarious! That is just too funny. I would've peed my pants laughing if I had heard that.

    Also - as to homeschooling being a hobby that I make my kids participate in... That totally describes how I am. I have spent months making a volcano study for my 5 year old. Research, buying books, looking for free printables, planning experiments.... and then the first time we sat down to work on it, I was all "I worked rilly hard on this! Don't just scibble on it!" like some screechy fishwife.

    Convention time is comin' Convention time is comin'

    Plus, I get to go By Myself and stay in a hotel By Myself and listen to the radio in the car By Myself and order room service By Myself and have a coherent thought without being bombarded by yelling kids....By Myself. Can't! Wait!

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  4. You know what? We are really going to meet sometime in real life? I have to meet you. Where is is that you live? Maybe we could go to a convention together. Im going to miss the convention here this year. Its taking place on the same day that I fly out to Pheonix! Im so bummed!

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  5. Ha! Did you try clicking on my name above? I put the weblog addy in wrong and it goes to some gray haired man an Blueberry something or other. I didnt pay much attention it scared me so much!I'll post my website correctly on this post! LOL

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  6. I live in Kansas City metro area. I'll be at the MPE conference this April, God willing. :)

    PS LOL NO! I didn't click the link! But once I was out of my blogger account and googled "blueberry house" and got some entirely different blog. I think the blogger dashboard is a big LIFESAVER, and I can follow a LOT more blogs that way instead of "checking in" with everyone each day. Just hit "follow" and done.

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  7. We never did a formal curriculum for spelling and grammar, thanks to a Charlotte Mason philosophy. We read really good books, did copywork, oral narration, studied dictation, and eventually written narration. In his last year of homeschool, my son took a writing class with a co-op and worked through a grammar book (tenth grade). At his request we enrolled him in public school for his last two years. He passed the exit exam on his first try, the very first standardized bubble test he had taken in his whole life.

    It can be done without spelling and grammar books . . . or not . . . up to you and your kids!

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)