Monday, November 28, 2011


Parker woke up "sick" Monday morning a couple weeks ago. It happens almost every morning after a day off from school. It is funny since he knows he can go back to homeschooling at any point. He talks about coming back, but he wanted to wait until after the Speech competition and now he wants to wait until after a school play in December. He likes the teachers and the kids, but he complains the days are too long and he doesn't get to see us enough. He says certain things bother him about school, but it also addictive. We'll have to discuss this more because I'm not really sure to go with that one.

His Monday-itis is even worse after a three of four day weekend. Last night he was pretty sure his days at school are numbered. It didn't help that he was slapped in the face today by a girl in his Art Club (we are still trying to get to the bottom of what exactly happened, but it was unprovoked and he was completely shocked). The club is on school grounds, but after school and this particular club is not run by a teacher at his school. I wrote most of this post prior to this incident and I am almost speechless. What are 11/12 year old kids thinking these days? I don't know if the girl is bullying, joking around, or maybe she likes him...any of the above does not make hitting another person acceptable.

We had our first parent/teacher conference a couple weeks ago. It was interesting. Of course we heard what we already knew - Parker is a great person, likable, attentive in class, smart, respectful, etc. He takes his time (which is a negative in public school), but is able to multi-task (which apparently makes up for it). We saw five teachers - at his school they only make one team teacher available, but we cheated and went around to find which of his teachers could just chat for a few minutes and they were all very nice about it. Rob and I both walked away with kind of a sick feeling in our stomach and it reaffirmed many of the reason I chose to homeschool in the first place. It wasn't that we didn't like his teachers, but there are just some things which are standard in conventional schooling. A holistic approach to learning really can't be achieved in that setting. We are extremely displeased with the principal. We tried to meet with her the day of the conference and have since sent a couple emails which have been completely ignored. We live in a small town so I don't want to get into too much detail, but I have serious concerns.

The positive part of this conventional school experiment for me - Rob understands more clearly why I was passionate and insistent on homeschooling our children from the start and I can see some of the pros of conventional learning and have started to incorporate them into our homeschooling day with Dema and Josie.

Dema is currently working on "4th grade" math so I was looking into different curriculum options when I found this:

I was pretty impressed that I instinctively used all the techniques they cover so I decided to stick with what I'm making up on the fly and Rob adds a bit here and there (his undergrad degree is in math so why not use it), but really Dema has a natural acumen for arithmetic. His comfort with math might be related to his OCD, he loves the rules and structure of numbers where the rules of reading words always have exceptions so reading is more stressful for him. One of the pros of Parker attending school, he used to compare his math abilities to Dema's and with Dema being four years younger it was hard for Parker not to feel he was math challenged. In school, Parker has come into his own and math is no longer his least favorite subject. His teacher is wonderful and said he could move up to honors math, but he's happy where he is for now.

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