Friday, January 13, 2006

Rainy Ordinary Day

Boy, did I wish the temperature outside would have dropped today. All this dark rain would instead be gorgeous white snowflakes covering and the ground like a freshly laundered fleece blanket and sticking to trees like cotton candy. Instead it's just dark, dreary, and sopping wet outside. If it had snowed, today would have become a bonified SNOWDAY. I'd be locating sleds, making hot chocolate, collecting soggy clothes from red faced freezing children to put in the dryer, drawing hot bath water to warm their chilled bones, reading aloud under a toasty comforter on the couch. Instead and alas, we spent the day as we do every other predictable weekday- homeschooling.

After easy Eggo or cereal breakfast, we read more on Abram. In his Genesis saga, we found him rescuing Lot from kings who had kidnapped him after raiding Sodom. Afterwards, I read aloud _Peace Child_. All of us have found the book *really* boring and dry for the first zillion chapters, but I'm promised by an expert, the story is so especially powerful, that it's worth pressing on to the end. Next, I invited the children into the kitchen for group dictation. You'd understand why if you ever examined the handwriting and spelling of my three boy children. I know our chickens could scratch out neater letters and our goats could outspell these rascals. Everyone dispersed for individual work following dictation.

Peace worked much more diligently on his Saxon Math today, because yesterday I spoke to him so harshly over the multitude of errors in his math assignment that I needed to apologize later. He likes his _Adam of the Road_ assignments now that his book has taken a turn toward more action. Peace is also "working" on identifying and spelling the 50 states correctly. At the rate he's going, he will not master spelling the states correctly in his lifetime. Perhaps his reincarnation will have better luck.

Tator fought with me AGAIN over subtracting fractions. He flew through his language arts today with the same style and grace as always.
Wise One is sincerely a puzzle to me at this stage of his academic game. Though he's completely unaware, Wise has some slight developmental delays to fight as he goes. He's not up for third grade _Total Language Plus_ assignments (a favorite language arts curriculum of mine), but he's not below enough to step back into second grade work for reinforcement. So for now, were using _First Language Lessons_ by Susan Wise Bauer, reading aloud and silently _Great Illustrated Classics_, dictation, cursive. Aside from his delays in writing out problems, he's above grade level in Saxon Math.

Each day Pooh Bear demands Sing, Speed, Read, and Write (Sing, Spell, Read and Write, SSRW, is the curriculum's real name). I didn't think she was ready, especially when we began to play the games and it was over her head completely, but she LOVES it. Desire directed learning is a principle I implement as much as possible, so her begging to study this SSRW in particular qualifies for a resounding "Yes" from me. We've just begun a laborious process of blending sounds with the Ferris wheel, and I can tell it's going to take a looonnnggg time and much review for this to stick. I turned on the incredibly annoying and cheesy CD for the song which matches the game, and the boys literally fled from the room holding their ears and shrieking, "Oh, no. Not that awful song again. Are you trying to kill us with goofy music?" I've prepared an area in the homeschool room just for her which has Montessorish materials for her to explore while I work with her brothers. She often crawls up in my lap at intervals during the course of a day, picture book in hand, flashes her marvelous big eyes, and whispers, "You have to read THIS to me." Unbeknownst to me and between the rain, Pooh Bear played outside by herself for a good while this afternoon collecting chicken eggs and running with the animals until Frankenbelle frightened her with his threatening rooster prowess. Pooh's just five, so I usually ask a brother to be outside with her when I'm occupied.

Why wish for a snow day with all this fun? The truth is homeschooling is a bit monotonous. My children argue, pout, cry, whine, over assignments. They regularly announce in a sing songy voice, "Daddy doesn't make me do that" or "Daddy doesn't do it that way" when Buck's not here. They look for ways to get out of work. The varmints bicker with one another. Sometimes, my sons hide from me and play instead of study; by the time I figure this out, it's 3:00 pm and my patience is utterly worn thin. Homeschooling is a journey of the painfully ordinary bound up in moments of sheer joy.

One might conclude from this post that I am not an unschooler. Honestly, I wish I could be so confident. I believe I lack the luster and enthusiasm of an inspiring unschooling educator, because, frankly, I'd rather be reading a great book I enjoy. So as a compromise, I have found mixing academics assignments into a rich learning environment of a pretend farm to be the right fit for my low key teaching style.

I love this quote, and I'd enjoy your responses to:
Every home is a school. What do you teach?


unquenchableworshipper said...

When dad is home... it snows!

Scott said...

"Every home is a school. What do you teach?" was a bumper sticker on an education professor's car. I thought it ironic, yet inspiring, that a professor who taught teachers how to teach would be homeschooling his son. Apparently, his son completely withdrew and "imploded" in the public school, and my professor was gutsy enough to go the homeschool route.

truevyne said...

Gutsy is right!

Running2Ks said...

I agree--we are our children's first teachers.

"Desire directed learning", delight-driven learning, child-led learning--all wonderful. Pooh Bear sounds so amazing--what a treat to have that curious kid keeping you on your toes!

Samantha said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Samantha said...

Hi, there! Thanks for your librarian comment on my blog. Glad I'm not the only one with strange librarian experiences, heheheheheee.

Regarding your question about zines, here are a few links about that:

What Is A Zine

My Zines

thicket dweller said... you live in my house, or what? Have you been taking my kids when I'm not home? In any case, I'm glad they aren't doing any better for you than they do for me. I thought it was all my fault. :-)

Hang in there. You're not alone.

truevyne said...

Funny, Thicket.