Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another Reason to Homeschool

If there's one major thing I have learned over the last two years of homeschooling, it would be that it's imperative to remain FLEXIBLE.  Not as in yoga-flexible (although that's good), but as in time and attitude flexible.  Because stuff always comes up.  Life happens to you when you plan.  Expect it!  Then you won't be disappointed.  It is wise to plan for the unexpected and give yourself some wiggle room during your year, or cop an attitude of going with whatever happens.

We are trailing down to the end of the school year, but I don't have a date set wherein we'll officially stop.  Today Max yelled in celebratory parlance, "only three more days of school!"  Where did he come up with that number, I wonder?  We will likely continue on with some math through the summer courtesy of my extra generous husband who has agreed to strap the math load to his back.  Together they are working it out and I am humbly giddy about it!

With respect to being flexible, we dropped everything on Friday and made arrangements to fly to Minneapolis to attend my grandmother's funeral.  She was 99 years, 1 month and 2 days old.  Born in 1912, she lived out her entire life in a small farming community in Minnesota.  Those are my roots!  Deep in that black soil up there.  My grandparents were farmers and left me with many sweet memories of days on the farm, of all the animals they tended.  I spoke at her church service in an effort to share with everyone what it was like growing up as her granddaughter.  I hope I did the experience justice; she was a gift as a grandparent and I certainly was lucky to have her for 45 years.

This was Max's first funeral.  He's eleven, so I felt strongly about him attending and experiencing the custom of the wake and church service, even though we aren't active church goers.  He was extremely anxious about attending the wake as this would be the first time he would actually lay eyes on a real human being who had passed from life.  He had never seen a casket before, or a funeral home, or a cemetery, or his own grandparents crying.  It was an incredible experience from all angles and I couldn't help but observe him as the events unfolded.  It was an emotional ride for all of us, but overall Max handled everything very well.  He was exhausted by the time we boarded the plane last night to make it back to New Mexico in the wee hours.  Needless to say we slept in very late and completely ignored any school subjects today.

Not once did school or math or language arts cross my mind while we were gone. All of my energy was catapulted to another place so that I could say goodbye to my grandma the way I needed to and I was drinking up the farm, taking a walk through my memories.  An exemplary reason for homeschooling.  You can stop for as long as you need to to cope with life.  You are not bound to an arbitrary, contrived schedule dictated by others who are certainly not interested in the needs of your family.  You can create your own schedule on top of the ebb and flow of your own family's rhythms.

You can have space to grieve your losses.  The world needs more spaces like that!        

Monday, May 16, 2011

Gladly Passing the Reins

Tonight I popped THE question lovingly to my husband.  "Honey, would you consider taking over teaching math to Max?"  Without hesitation he asked to see where we were at in our quest and agreed to take the reins.  I am practically swooning with relief.  I need a break from Max's math monsters!  He holds such disdain for the material and it wears me out at times to try and find different ways to engage him.  We've just come off of a two week break and I can't tell you how nice it was not to have to deal with math-itis.  I've lamented about this many times on my blog and have wavered between loosening up on math, to changing curricula, to playing lots of math games, to not doing any math at all.  I was very excited to purchase the first Life of Fred book on fractions and thought for sure it would be a hit; Max is super-sleuth when it comes to sensing math, though, and he immediately recognized the book as such and lumped it into the "NO" category.  I adore the Life of Fred series.  Max enjoys the stories but resists working out the problems at the end of each chapter. 

I have come to the conclusion that Max, math and I should not hang out in the same room together, at least for the time being or the rest of this school year, which ever comes first.  We coexist very well with language arts, history, literature and geography, so we'll stick with those subjects in the 'Mom' camp.  Dad and Max can play video games, paint trim, practice skateboarding and do math together.  It should be great!  Mom is going to put up her feet and grab a good book (probably some nonfiction on how to teach kids math).

My husband is planning to make breakfast for Max in the morning and work on math together before he leaves for work.  We'll see how Day 1 goes........wish them luck!   

Later.........Day 3 and all is well so far.  Max and Dad are hammering away on least common denominators in the early morning and I haven't seen any formal complaints filed from either of them.  This is great!  Three days in and they are working well together.  It's given me a breath of fresh air to concentrate on all the other stuff we're doing.  Yay!  Max and I seem to be having a bit more fun during the day together!  

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