HI! we're BACK!
Well, here we are facing the 8th grade. We are facing it in my kitchen, without supervision, state or federal guidelines or requirements. Ya, it's crazy free and although that could ultimately be my undoing, I'm trying hard to stay on the relatively straight and virtually narrow.
It's been a party crazy July. We visited with loads of friends and had loads of friends here to play. I wish we'd had any sort of vacation, I am truly burned out. Truly. I'm trying to pretend the time we've been off schooling full time has been easier or freer or relaxing. It's stressful and as much as I sing the praises of total freedom, it's totally exhausting.
I'm sucking it up though, August 1st already, and forging bravely ahead. Ok, not so bravely but I am at least facing in the direction of the path we intend on walking.
Firstly, the chickens are enormous! They are getting red neck hangy thingies (yes, that is the technical term) and their little combs are coming in and starting to turn from pale pink to pale red. The nesting box is completed and attached to the coop. They aren't afraid to come into the yard anymore and wander around eating green grass and bugs. Walter (the pug) will happily wander with them and he looks as though he's pecking in their herd but in reality he's looking for chicken poop. Lola (the boxer cross) is too bouncy for them and wants to play with them. The girls, Edna in particular, has no interest whatsoever in playing with Lola and when she pecks her face, Lola responds with an immediate herding of said girls into their pen. It's delightful to watch. I giggle at the dog herding the chickens when the chickens don't want to be herded and voice their opinions loudly. I never know who to root for.
The Banker failed miserably at reading all summer. I failed at nagging him. I will take the blame on the lack of reading, it was on me to harass him more regularly. I'm ready to start again there.
Poor kid had to learn a painful lesson about how friends grow apart and that people you thought were your inner sanctum can turn into people you don't need that close. I told him it's part of growing up, his herd will grow and shrink, inhale and exhale. He'll have to make choices and decisions and sometimes those decisions are made for you. Welcome to life, kiddo.
He made a couple of bad online decisions and we have had to spend time talking about some of the people he is spending online time with. I think we're dealing with a bit of an Eddy Haskell type kid and I'm wholly unimpressed. He was almost cyber bullied, definitely threatened (pathetic little attempt honestly) but I was furious...I managed to keep my tongue and wait, the moment passed without incident but I am on constant watch now. It's been an interesting social time for him. It's been quite a learning curve and there's been some difficult times. He's worked through it relatively unscathed, so far.
On the whole he's a good, hard working, happy kid. He's easily and deeply affected by meanness though, toughness will come with time and experience so I have to spend time smiling and nodding as much as I sometimes want to smack other people's children.
He succeeded brilliantly at working through his pre-algebra this summer. We did pretty well at our 'one chapter per week' plan. Sure we took some weeks off, it is summer after all and sometimes constantly party mode will reek havoc on an academic schedule. He's finishing up chapter 18 and isn't struggling with the work or content all. I said we were going to speed up to either 2 chapters a week or 3 chapter in 2 weeks and he's good with that.
He did a Shadow a Scientist program at University of Texas and loved it. He spent the day with an Astronomer and is in email contact with the professor about subsequent visits and programs he can be involved in with them. Brilliant.
We are starting to think about the schedule and classes for 8th grade. I have most of my classes listed, just some details to work out for a couple of them. I am still trying to decide whether to enroll the Banker in a Friday coop program. I would have to go and assist for 3 hours a week at the same facility (not in his class) and I really don't know if I have it in me to do that. I don't want to be selfish but I sort of don't want to give my time to it. I have a few days to think about it and am going to fret pretty consistently about it. I want to put him in one day academy but when I raised the idea with husband, he balked at the monthly fee. I'm sure I could push him through and if I cut down on grocery costs I'm sure we could swing it.
I've done some major soul searching in terms of what I want to do for me. I had long conversations with my 'originals' about my struggle with deciding how to focus my time and my talent to something for me. I've been feeling very lost inside this life I'm living and realized I need to take time and effort purely for me. I keep a small herd of the trusted and true, the friends who have known me since before I was someones mother, they know who I truly am on the inside. I am currently an avid cook, recipe creator, crafter and mediocre saleswoman. I feel as though I've played at doing a number of things moderately well. I don't want to do a bunch of things moderately well, I want to do one thing, and be brilliant. I want to pick one thing that I love to do just do it. I want to do it on purpose and with purpose. It's been a hard decision, well hard in that it took time. When I finally sat down in a quiet room with a piece of paper and a pencil, yeah, I went old school, I realized I wanted to do just that. I wanted to write things down. I'll keep doing what I love to do but I want, and need, to write it down. I'm going to suck it up and try desperately not to be so very afraid of what I write down. I'm going to write it for me, write it often and finally pursue the writing career I've been walking around for years. Not an unfortunate side effect is the fact i can do it sitting at the same table while the Banker is "doing" school on his laptop directly across from me as opposed to me trying to cook or sew, my other massive passions.
I have to prepare mentally for the implied disappointment from my family when I don't write a best seller right off the mark and I have to prepare for not being believed as "doing" anything but I am going to try hard to forge ahead and do what it is that I have wanted to do forever. It's now or never in my heart and soul.
So, with me set (insert hysterical laughter here) my biggest concern for 8th grade is science. I am struggling with a plan for science for the Banker. I worry about science. I spoke to a friend who said she'd give me science ideas. I need to get hold of her. Perhaps I should write that down.
I am going to try to keep it straight and simple for him this year. We are not going to take a million subjects in the hope we hit on the facts he needs to have put away in his head for later years testing and college placement. That format is too squiggly, we need a nice straight line for the Banker. We have 8 classes lined up and one of them is art. I need him to explore his creative side. It's an important side. We are going to break the year into 2 semesters for his "elective" classes. He has chosen photography as his 'art' class and I will have him pick another art for his second semester or he can delve more formally into photography, way to keep a squiggle class organized. We will see which direction he wants to take it.
He has shown a sudden interest in cooking and interviews me constantly when I cook. He's taken on the meal planning, shopping and cooking of the odd dinner for me. He's brilliant and has a knack. He's unafraid when it comes to measuring, tasting and trusting his own culinary instincts. Impressive for 13 years old. I don't think he'd cook for anyone else but me, just yet, but I hope to foster this love in him and maybe we can incorporate a culinary arts portion to his academics this year.
I feel relatively confident in my initial academic plans for the Banker and as per usual am racked with the perpetual fear I'm breaking him emotionally and of course, am fighting the solid belief my plans for myself are ridiculous and embarrassing. Other than that, we're ready to go.