Monday, August 6, 2012

Head first.

Yes, that is German for Dummies.  I am German, but I'm also a dummy.  Maybe this will help.  ;)

I love teaching my children and giving myself to them in that way.  I would have missed so much if they had gone to school all of these years and don't know how we could have had the relationship we have now if I'd packed them off every morning.  Not that students who learn outside of the home do not have a bond with their parents, but there has just been so much more time in the day for silliness and memory making because I teach them at home.  I also love watching as they understand or learn something new, rather than just seeing report cards and graded papers coming in the door. 

Though sometimes, when I'm trying to wash floors or get a bit of quiet time, I think how wonderful it would be to have everyone but myself out of the house for 30 minutes on a week day and wonder what stay at home moms who put their kids on a bus every morning do with their day.  I can't imagine what it would be like to not have to worry about someone walking on wet floors or being allowed to finish an entire cup of coffee while it's still hot during daylight hours.  But I know when they are grown and there is no one around to ask five times if the floors are dry, because, of course, no one needs to go in a room util the floors are wet, I will be mopping them with my tears.  So putter away, my little fellas, and Mommy can get a new cup of coffee when the first one gets cold. 

Teaching reading was tricky for the first little guy, but because my second little guy sat listening while putting puzzles together or playing with Play-doh all those preschool years of his that I was teaching his brother, he learned on his own.  That was it.  Done.  He just knew how to read and it was like a gift from him to me, rather than something that I could give to him.  He loved books that showed many pictures with the word printed over each, so once he learned letter sounds he just took off.  So I would say, that after teaching them for all these years, that once you get over teaching them to read, the rest is a breeze, but I only did half that job so can't even take the credit or feign any hardship on my part in that area. 

Algebra.  Now that's another story.  They get it, fortunately, but I still want to cry.  So that has been the hardest thing for me to teach.  I'm so glad they inherited their father's skills in that area and that he can teach them where my abilities fall short. 

Both seemed to learn at the same ages and grade level, right around the end of fifth grade, that if they focused on one task at a time, their work would be done and they would be free, free, FREE.  It's just like making your bed or taking your dirty laundry basket to the laundry room to sort.  "We may not like to do it, but once it's done we don't have to worry about it anymore."  I wonder how many times they have heard that come out of my mouth.  I'm sure they could tell you, too many times! Trying to make lessons as fun as possible really helps, and that has been my favorite job over the years.

But here we are into August and, though we have no idea where the summer went, all three of us are getting excited about the new school year.  It will be bigger than ever because my oldest is starting high school, but it may be my last year home schooling them both.  The older boy is toying with the idea of attending one of his three options in schools that exist in our area.  So, in that respect, this could be our most important year for silliness and memory making, which means I have my work cut out for me in structuring everything to keep us organized.  I'm ready.

We purchase the last of our supplies over the weekend, even enough earth-friendly products to make a humongous batch of laundry detergent to last well into the year, and now I just have the 2+ weeks of lesson planning, chore and schedule chart making that it typically takes me, and a master bath to renovate.  That last item is a long story worthy of its own post.  I'm just too tired from planning for it to even type about it right now. 

So today I am diving in head first while my boys sleep in and then goof off, maximizing their remaining summer days.  And I think we'd better finally make it to the pool before they drain it for the year so we can literally dive in.  Yup.  Good idea.

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