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Friday, February 10, 2012

Day Two

I roll over to look at the clock at 7:03am, oh yes, this lack of 5:30am alarm clock is going to work nicely.

I hear clicking? What is that noise? 

I wander downstairs to find Connor hard at it online.  "MORNING!"  Suddenly I realize this schedule thing is a good thing for him.  He can come down and get right into whatever strikes his fancy.  He already has ventured into "doing the daily list in a random order that makes him happy and flows best for his head" land.  Already?  I thought it'd take weeks for him to be confident enough to look at a list of subjects/classes/courses and work and then to merely pick out what he wanted to do in what order.  Wow.

He wants me to check his work, all the work, every single pencil stroke, every word.

Absolutely.  *thank HEAVEN there's online math tutoring, I have NO idea how to do this.  My confidence is that his teachers don't have all this knowledge either...they, like me, just know where to look.  

Oh sure, am I going to infuriate teachers, oh you bet.  Well, sorry, but I'm absolutely sure there's some of this you agree with.  I feel bad that teachers aren't allowed to teach anymore.  I feel bad they have to teach to the test for the almighty dollar.  I'm not going to get into a political conversation about this, it's not about that.

Connor has had some spectacular teachers...teachers who challenged him and taught him to love to learn.  His kindergarten teacher, grades 2 and 3 did that for him.  Lucky.  He's had some hellish experiences as well, in his short journey.  He had a first grade teacher who could have cared less, she barely showed up and told them to bring GameBoy electronic games to play with...during class.  She would ignore the thugs who fought and wrestled in the classroom, she'd walk out.  I saw her.  He had a teacher who was indifferent, who was overwhelmed by "special" and non English speaking students and a teacher who was so full of her own importance and was so persnickety about (obviously) ridiculous details that she sucked the joy of math and science right out of a boy who lived, breathed and dreamt about math and science.

Middle school has been ok for him.  One bad experience per grade, that's not bad at all.  He had a teacher was obsessed with whether *I* thought she was mean?!  She'd actually stop Connor in the hall to ask him that?  She also wrote me to tell me that Connor was being disruptive in class...he "has spent time drawing and writing on his hand when he'd finished all his work". ?  Finished all his work?  Bite me lady, YOU find him something to do.  If he was beating the hell out of students; that'd be on me.  Quietly bored out of his head; that's all you, babe.  I was dealing with a very creepy, "I'm giving you 100% for the whole year because I like you" teacher.  Really?  Ick.

He already misses so many of the teachers he has this year, he was lucky to have so many that, I think, truly care and challenge him and he loves working hard because they actually acknowledge his contribution.  For the loss of their time and influence in his life, I'm sorry.

Now, this isn't a bashing, it's a sharing.  If I were bashing, this would be longer than one could ever read.  It's Connor's (and my) experiences to date.

I printed out a couple of quizzes, and call them worksheets, for Connor today, one per subject, to get him off the computer and into a different room.  A change of scenery is as good as a rest.  He wrote his name, first and last, the date and the subject on the papers.  Lovely, honey. 

He worked hard until 12.  He had concerns that it was a bit "loose" today.  I assured him I'd tighten the ship.  He asked for a detailed, by specific work requirement, schedule per day.  When I presented a schedule for Friday, he asked for one for the next week. 

It took me a while to do but I got it done.  I handed him a package that lists the day, the subject, the site/class/project/unit/work to be done, specifically for the next week.  

I scored, he's thrilled.

We left at 1, wandered to the rink to watch a friend figure skate then to lunch with a large group of friends.  We came home, futzed around a little, Connor chatted to friends online then we went to a presentation of Science Under The Stars and listened to a biologist tell us everything he knew about pollination.  OH OH, see how that fits into the plant unit we are doing in science?!  Oh way to work it together, Trace! 

We got home at 9:15, stood around in the kitchen and chatted to hubba about our day, his day, plans for a random road trip to Washington in September to hit the museums, "because we can travel anytime we want, now".  It's the most time we've spent just hanging around chatting in a long time.  

As much as this home schooling adventure is for Connor, a gift to his education, the best one I can think of; there might be real cursory advantages like seriously tightening we three who live here.  We might have more time, like that, to stop and chat without the urgency of rushing Connor to bed, me to bed and both of our exhaustion and annoyance because 5am comes early and there's 100+ miles to drive and everything else to get done in the midst of it all.  

Wow, you know what...this might fix me too.  

Oh and yes, I still am afraid I'll break him.

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