Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Come Spend a Day With Me

People generally mean well but sometimes they just don't get it.

Over the past few weeks a lot of folks have been helping me out-I'm grateful for that. But something that has happened is very strange to me. People assume that if a family member gets sick then the kids need to go back to public school and not be homeschooled. I don't understand what has happened to families these days. Why would I push my children away when I need them the most? Several years ago, my parents moved in with us. Both were frail and sick. All of the kids were involved in their care even up until the very last moments. While dying and sickness are not easy lessons for kids, they are a necessary part of learning and loving. Homeschooling kids during illness is no different than homeschooling them in times of health. Just the lessons are different. A few friends were completely appauled when I told them if we needed to postpone school for a few weeks until I felt better it really wasn't a big deal.

It's so difficult to explain how homeschool works for those that are so used to public school. A fixed start time, moving to class, 35 minutes spent on one subject then move on. We may spend our day engrossed in one book. Maybe it starts out in Ancient China then moves onto construction of the Great Wall of China, then Chinese architecture, then the topography of China, maybe food and local customs, maybe Patrick goes on the internet to find Chinese Recipes and we make egg rolls and lo-mein for lunch. This happens all year long, even during the summer so my kids are fine thank you. We may wake up late, stay in our pajamas and make zuchinni bread instead of sitting at a book. Today's lesson is fractions-how to measure-did you get that 3/4 cup of oil right and what happens if we double the recipe?

If we start on math and the kids are struggling we spend extra time and may not get to phonics. Or maybe we put the math away for another day because the kids aren't ready and it's causing tears. Nothing worth learning is worth crying over. I've spent too many years crying over more important things than wondering whether my kids know how to conjugate a verb. I will admit there are times that I wonder what those kids in PS are doing. Do my kids compare? Are they as smart? Are they getting everything they need? I have no idea. What I do know is that I'm so much closer to my kids since we started homeschooling. I know their quirks and their needs. I know that they now love learning and search out things on their own for their own knowledge. You see as a parent, I don't feel it's our job to teach our kids. It's our job to show them how to learn and let them do it. Yes, I guide them and help them but mostly show them where to find the answers and how to apply what they already know to what they don't know.

I don't know if they are learning the same things as the kids in public school. The general subjects are covered but they work at different grade levels. Patrick does grade level math, one full grade ahead in English and is doing High School Science-specifically Marine Biology. So I guess I just answered my own question. Each child does what they are capable of and life takes care of the rest.

I spent some time outside today taking pictures. My bottleneck gourds are coming along nicely and will be turned into bird houses, maracas and bowls when dried. My pumpkins are starting to ripen but see how the bugs have devoured the leaves? If anyone has a natural remedy with no chemicals let me know.

More pictures in the next entry-won't let me put anymore in.

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