Monday, February 28, 2011

Oh, these things that I have seen.

Things have been, well, interesting lately...
So, I started off this homeschooling journey with this "plan" in mind. This "plan" of mine involved several hours a day of "learning", including math, PE, reading, writing, Art, etc...Now, I don't know...As I bumble around through this, I've learned (or remembered) a few things.
1) Learning needs to be fun--Kids don't like, nor do they learn, from pointless "educational" feats...Sol has let me know about a few things that it was "not quite that educational" and that he "wasn't really learning anything" and, basically, it was lame. He was very nice about it, it was sweet...he didn't want to hurt my feelings. Sweet boy!

2) Learning can happen in all sorts of ways! I find that we spend more time talking about things than we used to. For instance, we were in the grocery store, and I was debating on which item was a better deal. We calculated the costs between the two items, figured it out, and he said, "oh! This is why you always say math is important!" That made me smile and feel really good! He learned about budgeting and algebra all in a just a few minutes!

3) This is the most time consuming thing I've ever done! This is why you may not have gotten calls back from me! Between my school and working and housework, I am having a really hard time getting this "homeschooling" thing done...I assign him with work, he does it, I assign some more, he does it. I have little time to "teach" or do the fun things I want to do. Now I'm about to (hopefully) get another job! How will I do this??!!?? I'm currently considering an online homeschooling approach. I really don't like the idea of Sol sitting in front of a computer all day...that seems really lame to me. 

4) The other consideration is to sloowwww it down...maybe I'm trying to for too much, clearly I am. Maybe if I just slow down, and let him learn what he wants to learn, it might be better for us both! I do think there are some really important things that kids need to know, like math, and writing skills. Those things are just totally functional and necessary for future development, learning and growth into adulthood. So maybe, we'll cut out the "state" lessons, or figure out something else to learn about those states, or figure out a different way to learn about the states. I got a math textbook from my school, with a teacher key, thank you very much! It seems to be a better book than the others we have used, much more user friendly. I think we will keep up with that, as math is important, and it is his favorite subject, right up there with Science. And maybe, we will try for more documentaries during day, when I'm busy. He can pick a documentary, and then write about it. That sounds good.

**Sol has also been attending a college level Psychology course, one that I am a TA for. I teach this class about 3 times a month, and Sol has been attending twice a week and listening to and taking notes during the lectures. He has taken 3 quizzes, which he has gotten A's and B's on (1 A, 2 B's). I think that is pretty amazing! My 11 year old son is doing better than more than half of the college students in the class! By the way, the class is Psychology 265, The Biopsycho-effects of Alcohol and other Drugs! He is about to take his first midterm ever, and I have a feeling he will do pretty well on it! It is pretty awesome when we talk about something related to the brain and he knows whats happening and where! (Maybe when you see him you could ask him where feeding behaviors come from in your brain, which neurotransmitter elicits those behaviors, and what drugs of abuse affect that part of the brain!) He knows and is learning so much, and my hope for this part of his education is two-fold: 1) I hope he remembers just how dangerous drugs and alcohol are, particularly to a developing brain, a brain that isn't fully developed into the mid-late 20's, and thus chooses to not disrupt his brain and development with these things, and 2) I hope these classes will spark an interest in him for higher education, particularly in the field of the brain! He has already said to me that he can tell he will like college much more than regular school because he can choose his classes and still have time to himself! I like that he's thinking along these lines!

I hope to post up here some work that he has been doing, because some it is pretty awesome. For instance, he completely knows what the United Nations Human Development Index is and knows how different countries rate and what that means. There is also a measure created for the U.S that shows the different ratings for each state (for more information, go to and click on interactive map and you will see what Sol's been learning about). This is more of a college level education. I keep finding cool things like this at school and then teaching him about it, and developing lessons around it. I would absolutely say he knows so much more, and is learning so many more things about our world, our environment, our bodies and our cultures than a typical child his age would be learning or knowing.  I do wish the weather were better, but as soon as it is, I will be incorporating some native herbs and plant lessons for us. 

Again, this is by far the hardest thing I've ever done, homeschooling that is. I'm not sure where our path is going to take us, we just take it one day at a time. I can totally say it is so nice to not hear him complain constantly about school and rude peers and power hungry teachers.  And it's awesome that his anxiety problems have disappeared. I am trying to remove this idea that is stuck in my head that things have to look a certain way in order to be okay, trying to step outside of the box that society has created in my head, a box that I was totally unaware of. More kids his age would be cool, and despite all my good efforts and attempts, I can't seem to get us to this homeschooling/un-schooling play group that meets on Friday's.  No matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to get us there...but, as I explore this strange new world for us, I am meeting more people, like-minded mama's and papa's. Soon, we will have a group of kids to play with, I can feel it...Sol needs some kids, even if his cynical self says he doesn't, he really does. I want more than anything for him to have a good friend, someone he can tell secrets to, someone he can play games with, someone he can wander the neighborhood with and just be a kid with. 

For now, we are both learning, learning how to be, how to create this world we want to live in, how to thrive and function daily in this busy, chaotic life that we share. We are learning more about being respectful of each other, more about each others needs and wants, and becoming even better than we were before, and that is awesome! 

Thanks for being apart of this journey with us!
Until next time,

1 comment:

  1. amanda/ninjinko/carrotwoman/robot from rlc, mdc, fb, etc. we're in NE PDX. my son max is 11 too. max has chosen to go to school in our hood, but we find with both our boys we've ended up doing homeschooling as well just because they are so curious and learning never has to stop. he's into chess, math, science, comics, art. If you're interested in seeing if they click or whatever he'll be hanging at the shop with me next sunday. : )