I have been felled by a cold. Oh misery. It’s not a terrible cold, just enough to give me the sniffles and a tickle in the my throat and make me want to lay in bed for a day watching bad TV and eating soup.
Most unfortunately motherhood does not come with bad TV and soup days. Instead I get to blow my nose with Ada’s cloth wipes while carrying on my normal daily slave tasks around the home.
Ah well, at least my kids are cute. When they aren’t screaming. Ok, well Ada is still cute when she is screaming. Rosie not so much at age 4.5.
You know before I survived Ada’s pregnancy full of non-stop gagging I would have been MISERABLE having to take care of the kids and house while being ill. Nothing can compare to the nine months straight of dry heaving, so the sniffles? Oh they pale in comparison. Even the five days of water poo food poisoning incident in October paled in comparison to pregnancy. And to think, I voluntarily want to get pregnant again and again. I never claimed to be sane.
I’ve been trying hard to get our house into a good routine. Rosie needs me to do things with her, not just paying attention to her but also homeschooling stuff. She absolutely loves it.
I struggle with myself, deciding what she needs to really be learning at age four. I don’t want to push it, I have no fantasies about creating a child genius. I’d rather she enjoy childhood and have lots of happy memories. But I don’t want to deprive her of knowledge or learning opportunities either.
I’ve settled on a few things. Following Rosie’s requests she is learning how to read small words and how to write letters correctly. I feel like it’s important to teach her how to correctly form the letters and not let her have bad habits. Nice handwriting is important! I’ve been making her practice on that elementary school lined and dashed paper, asking her to compare if her letters look like mine and pointing out how her’s look different. That is working well, she likes to laugh at her crooked letters and then tries hard to re-write them exactly like mine. I don’t force her to keep going if she’s bored of it, because I don’t want her to hate it. She has plenty of time to learn it, anyway.
Another thing we’ve been doing is reading books and discussing them. I have always loved reading, and it’s a great way to build vocabulary and comprehension, right? I wanted to get away from reading what Charlotte Mason schooling calls “twaddle”. Of course we still read fun, meaningless twaddle sometimes, but I’m moving her towards more complicated books too.
I downloaded some free books for the Kindle. In light of my new family tree discovery, I downloaded a book of Norse fairy tales. They use older English, big words, and they are longer stories with complicated plots, but they are all about kings, queens, princesses, princes, and talking animals. Rosie LOVES them. We read one every day. Throughout the story I stop to explain what new words mean. Rosie now calls our cabinets the cupboard. We’ve been introduced to troll witches and magical hillfolk. The last story had a talking salmon, a talking wolf named Greylegs, and a talking raven. For some reason many stories feature a prince named Boots.
Since the stories don’t have any pictures, Rosie draws her own. I’ve found this keeps her into the story instead of getting distracted quickly. We look up what a troll looks like on the iPhone with Google image, then she works on drawing it in her notebook while I read. She usually ends up illustrating the entire story.
Since spring is coming up, we’ll be planting seeds soon. So for a little bit of science we’re learning how seeds sprout. I started with making sprouts to eat. We’re sprouting mung beans. (Yummy in stir fry!) So far we’re on day 5 of sprouting. Each day we rinse them twice a day, then cover them in water. They’re in a mason jar. Rosie takes one out and examines it, then draws what it looks like in her composition notebook. She tells me how it looks different from the day before and I write it down next to her drawing. I remembered how much I liked doing these sorts of things when I was little, and Rosie seems to love it too.
After we get done sprouting these, we’ll eat them! Then we’ll get some kid books about seeds from the library that have more scientific details and drawings about seed sprouting.
By that time it will be warm enough to start our garden outside, so Rosie will be able to plant seeds and then help water them and see them grow up, and eventually eat the results.
I don’t like the idea of subjects being separate in schooling. I think it makes more sense for everything to be interconnected, like you wouldn’t learn complicated math skills unless you were going to be using them to do something significant–like physics you might need to calculate something when building an air plane. I learned so many random things at school that I was never able to connect with anything in real life.
I think homeschooling for elementary and middle school is going to be easy. High school will be a little more difficult, but I’m not going to worry about that right now. I’m sure I’ll be able to find all kinds of options and resources when we get to that point. For example I know homeschoolers can take college chemistry at a local Christian university here.
I’m so excited for my kids. They will have the world at their finger tips. They won’t waste their days trapped in a school building, where everyone is divided up by age and subject, and where they are constantly judged by their peers, in preparation for joining the real world after they graduate. Instead they’ll get to live in the real world every single day. Apparently now many colleges are looking highly upon homeschooled children. I think as time goes on more and more people will realize how badly the majority (not all, of course) of American schools are failing children.
Sometimes I have split second doubts about homeschooling, but then I think of all of the time I wasted doing boring busy work or waiting for other students to obey the teacher. I wonder what I would have been like had I not endured middle school teasing. Who remembers how horrible middle schoolers are? Who still hears taunting voices in their head? And you know, I wasn’t usually even teased directly. It was just the entire thing, seeing my peers attacking one another. What kind of self confidence would I have today if I had never been forced to be a part of that? I wonder how many adults think less of themselves simply because of how they were treated at school, at any grade level.
It’s because the real world does not work that way. It’s not designed to work that way. No where in the real world do you have people grouped by age, trapped in one small building with no free choice to leave. Doing that sets kids up for stress. I am so thankful that I have the ability to stand up and say that my children will not be a part of that. They will be free to be whoever they want to be.
Rosie belongs to a local homeschool co-op. The kids there are completely different than public schooled kids. There is no bullying, no pressure to wear one thing to fit in. The kids are from preschool age through high school. Some of them wear designer clothes, others wear things that would totally get them beat up or teased to tears in public school. They all seem self confident. Rosie is so lucky to be a part of this. She has lots of friends, and they are all different ages, different body types, dress differently, and have different interests. There is no group of cool kids or popular kids. They meet for several classes once a week, and have field trips and park days and play dates outside of the weekly school day.
Rosie also takes dance class, where she has gotten to know the small group of seven girls she dances with. I have a feeling as long as they all continue dancing together their friendships will blossom.
I don’t feel like she is missing anything at all by not planning for kindergarten in the fall. Instead she’s gaining so much more!
I hope that makes sense. This cold is making my head feel funky. I’m not even going to proof read.
With those thoughts jotted down, I’m going to save this entry and go see what is making Ada scream like someone is applying the Cruciatus Curse to her…