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.
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.
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.