Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First Day of Homeschooling

Monday, August 1st was our first day of homeschooling.  Nobody (neither the kids nor myself) had any idea what this was going to be like, but we had to start sometime.  Since we don't live in Utopia and I am not June Cleaver, I knew that we were going to have "issues."  Okay, okay, I know that we are going to have knock down, drag out, explosive, screaming hissy fit kind of days.  Days were I will want to pull out the checkbook to write a check to their old private school or walk down to our neighborhood public school (which is less than a mile from our house) and throw them in.  Luckily, our first day wasn't one of those.  Phew!!!

Since I have been doing a lot of research on homeschooling before jumping off the "brick and mortar" ship of schooling, I knew we were in for "adjustment issues."  Since I like to pretend that my mother did not raise a fool (on most days)-- although we probably shouldn't ask her what she thinks about that one-- I knew I needed a plan.  Hmm... kids will feel very weird when all of their friends return to school.  What can we do?  Bribery!  Yet in an educational kind of way...  I love it when a diabolical plan comes together.

We have begun homeschooling with a unit study on Roller Coasters.  I have timed it so that our field trip to Six Flags will be next Monday when most all of the public and private schools have their First Day of School.  Every now and then I have sparks of true genius!  What kid can feel sorry for him or herself when screaming their lungs out while racing along a white-knuckle grip roller coaster?

Are they actually learning "real" stuff?  Yes.  They now know, understand and can explain Newton's Laws of Motion.  In two days, they have done experiments which illustrate the principles involved in each of Newton's laws.  I even snuck a little math in on my daughter when she had to calculate how many people rode the Switchback Railway on Coney Island when the fare was a nickel and the creator LaMarcus Adna Thompson recouped his $1600 investment in just three weeks.   Shh, don't tell her.
I did get a spontaneous hug and a "I love homeschooling," from my daughter on Day 1.  I need to take a mental picture of that incident, because it may be a long time before I ever have another one.  Was it all smooth sailing?  No.  The same darling daughter had a meltdown when I asked her to write-up Thompson and his life.  But it was resolved without Mommy freaking out, she did it and even apologized.  Apparently prayer works!  

Why should my kids love homeschooling?  Because I have set them up!  First we study roller coasters and have hands on "experimentation" at an amusement park.  Second we will be completing a unit study on Chocolate.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Boy the sacrifices I make for my children!  The taste testing for this study will be traumatic, but somehow I will manage.  Third we will be taking a vacation to the beach while everyone else is in school.  Only then, when the kids kind of like the idea of Mom as the teacher, will we begin the nitty gritty of math, spelling etc.

Who knows, maybe, just maybe I won't wind up in a padded room of a psych ward until after Christmas.  A truly crazy thought, maybe this will be the best thing we have ever done...

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