Wednesday, August 20, 2008

NOT Back to School!

Well, our local public schools started up today and, once again, I did not send any of my children. I could've gotten rid of two of them this year, but alas, I'm kind of used to them being underfoot all the time. ;)

We "celebrated" the day by going to Cameron's 7-yr check-up. He's fine - slightly below average in weight and off the charts in height. He passed the hearing and visions tests. He successfully peed in a cup and asked the doctor neurotic questions about itchy skin and eyes that have trouble focusing first thing in the morning. (The eye thing she chalked up to him having light eyes. She said her green-eyed DH and DS are always complaining about brightness and such while her brown-eyed self can't even remember to wear sunglasses. Sounds a lot like me.) The first thing the nurse said to us was, "What's up? Why aren't you in school today?" Cameron answered that we hadn't started yet, meaning that we would get to it later in the afternoon, but of course she misunderstood and started wondering when his school started and which one it was. I guess there just isn't that much to small talk about to a young child besides school? I don't know, I have a hard time shutting him up about "stuff" and school is rarely one of those topics, lol. Anyway, she didn't look at us like we had three heads when we said that no, we homeschool but she did do that "oooohhhhhh" thing that means that she's heard about "those people."

The next phase of the "celebration" was breakfast at IHOP. It's never as good as I remember it being, but it was eggs and pancakes that I didn't have to cook. That's always a good thing. Cassia actually cleaned her plate which is a shocking event, so she obviously could find no lack of quality in the happy face pancakes. Again, the waitress asked us why the kids weren't in school today. I happily answered that we homeschooled and were out celebrating Not Back To School Day. This time though, the reaction was that of an understanding smile and reassurance that that's probably the best way to do things. She then told us that she had been homeschooled through part of high school. I've been meeting quite a few young ladies recently who have shared that fact with me. The front desk "girl" at our dentist's was homeschooled for junior high.

Next on the list was an OB appointment for Blobby and me. He's definitely head down now and pretty much engaged. Dilation is starting in the tiniest little bit, which usually doesn't happen until about 39 or 40 weeks for me, so things are moving along quite nicely. Maybe this little one will make his appearance somewhere around on time? The kids were psycho-crazy while we were waiting for the doctor to come in (couldn't have anything to do with sugary pancakes and syrup, could it?) so by the time we got home I was ready to hunker down with the remote and attempt to catch up on my Olympics. DH wasn't into watching it all weekend so now I'm like three days behind and running out of drive space on the TiVo!!

Several hours and a disappointing 5th place finish for the Branagh/Youngs beach volleyball team later and we got started on schoolwork. It was a "short" day where we only did phonics (short /u/ CVC words for Cassia with accompanying drawings to draw and caption, eg "I run in the sun" and more multi-syllabic monstrosities for Cam), grammar (contractions), and math (review section on multiplying 3s and 4s and adding and subtracting money). Cameron was NOT the most cooperative student today. We had several long talks about why he needed to learn how to read and why he needed to cooperate when I said he had to do X. Finally, the reason that won out was that if he wasn't going to cooperate with my way of doing school then I would have to send him to another school. I really thought I'd have a few more years before I had to pull out the "public school threat" but, there it is.

He wasn't very cooperative yesterday either when we did the basics. It was all about doing the bare minimum so he could play video games. We had another long talk about the reasons we are doing this and I finally just said that we can no longer just skip days here and there. He loses all momentum and focus. It's not that typical brain cell loss that kids usually go through over the summer, he actually gets a little sharper with many skills after a short break, it's the loss of routine. If we're not doing it every day then every day becomes a bargaining of "do I really have to do this today?" So I laid it out - no more skipping school because it's gymnastics day and we don't get started early enough or don't want to do it while Greyson's awake. No more skipping school because it's park day. No more skipping school because Mommy is tired and just doesn't feel like it. No more. School is in five days a week. (Kind of coincidental I made this grand resolution on the day before the public schools started, isn't it?) And I didn't get any argument today when I said it was time to start school and I didn't get any argument when he had to come back to finish his math after soccer practice this evening because he was dragging his feet too much with everything and didn't get it finished beforehand. I just got a bunch of "I'm tired of reading big words!" and "I hate subtraction!" Let me let you in on a little secret... he only hates subtraction when he rushes through it and borrows wrong. Thankfully, as soon as we make it through the last two pages of this review section we can move on to something totally new and interesting: fractions!

Anyway, back to yesterday, along with the three R's (Reading, grammaR, and math Review) we also read about the Indians living along the Ganges River during the time of Rome (Cameron definitively said that he is not a Hindu because he does not believe that the stories of Ganga and Shiva are true) and started the MPH 4B science books. The first chapter in science is about the respiratory system and so to demonstrate moving air we made aerofoils out of notebook paper and found all the ways we could to make them move by using nothing but moving air. It was pretty fun and even Greyson got into it. Later in the evening, Cameron decided to make a paper airplane and after one particularly nice flight announced, "Behold the power of moving air!" LOL, sounds like something he got from Ms. Frizzle but I'll take it as our science studies spilling over to real life play. The kids really enjoy science and I'm sorry that I let it slip for so long just because we were going to an experimental science class. So what if the topics didn't match up week to week? There's no such thing as too much science.

Due to all our appointments and then soccer practice today (not to mention my mandated tv time), we didn't get to science or history but I said that we would do them both again tomorrow. Now that I think of it, that just might work out best to have short days when we have other stuff to do like gymnastics and the park and then long days where we do as much as we can on days when we're not doing anything else anyway. We'll still get history and science in two or three times a week like we would if we were alternating and we wouldn't end up feeling so rushed all the time. We also wouldn't have days that dissolve into nothing but craziness... which is what most days feel like around here lately. I keep saying it's for the kids, but I think *I'm* the one who needs some structure around here!

Speaking of structure, I know the structure of this post is lacking and probably hurting your brains by this point, lol. So with that, I'll sign off and go watch some more beach volleyball.

1 comment:

G said...

I found/find exactly the same thing with my kids (and myself) - we need the routine of "doing school" on a pretty much daily basis, or it turns into a bargaining chip/act of resistance. And yes, I used the public school threat already. Immediately felt terrible, since I really have no intent of sending them there, but it was useful at the time.

We still have a gift for Cameron - hope to see you guys soon!