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Aha… So THIS is Homeschooling Nirvana

In the few weeks since beginning our homeschooling adventure, I’ve had more self-doubting, confused, and scared days than I’ve had confident, productive ones. Probably to be expected, given the chaotic, sudden way we got our start. We were at first mostly focused on relieving Carter’s terrible fear, anxiety, and sleep trouble. Then we had a trip to SC to visit Brian’s parents. And finally, by the time the de-schooling process was complete and Carter was ready to get to work, I had barely begun to plan, gather materials, or create a space in which to organize our work.

While all of that organizing/planning is still definitely still in progress, we’ve come far enough to have some productive, interesting days and today, I understand what all the fuss about when it comes to this homeschooling thing, why so many people are so over-the-top enthusiastic about it.

We started the day out on a very sour note. Carter was crabby and uninterested in anything. He likes to start the day with some good, hard outdoor play, a preference I wholeheartedly endorse and try to accommodate every day. Unfortunately, this morning, the wind was blowing so hard that he got blown right off his scooter. I’m trying to think of how I’ll meet his need for physical activity at 7 am when the weather gets too cold for that. But at any rate, I stayed loose. Carter didn’t want to do anything; he scowled through Flat Stanley and wouldn’t even consider playing Phishing for Phonics. So we called a halt and I let him crab around the house for awhile. He stomped around and told the dogs off, complained about the lack of good breakfast options, ate some yogurt, and finally settled in to play Legos for awhile. Two hours later, after I had cleaned the kitchen, gotten dinner started in the slow-cooker, and finished editing an essay for the winter issue of Brain, Child magazine, Carter was ready to work.

So ready, in fact, that he asked me for an early lunch that he could eat while he worked. So I put some tomato soup in a traveler mug, gave him a baggie of crackers, and we got to it. We played Phonics Bingo, Math Match Mania, and Reading Roadblock (yes, we always play that many games; he’ll work his little butt off if I make a game of it), then spent some time exploring weather websites to learn why the wind blows. He drew some pictures and played with his clay. He told me some stories, and asked me to write one down. We read some Frog and Toad and played with Spencer’s gerbil (which unintentionally included a vocabulary lesson, since I always call the gerbil either “the rodent” or “that vermin”). We made plans for art projects we want to do when the leaves start to turn in earnest, and we ran out to pick up some free newspapers for the Papier-mâché balloons we’re going to make tomorrow. And now I’m happily blogging and Carter is outside throwing the ball for the dogs. Later we’ll read some more and tidy up the house and when the neighborhood kids get home from school, he’ll be busy with them till dinnertime.

So I’m starting to get it.

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