Thursday, February 6, 2014

I Heart Homeschooling.

Homeschooling is amazing. It brings you these incredible days where you are sure you are a failure one minute, and the next minute you gaze in wonder at the intelligence of your children.

Our school day started out with math (which was surprisingly not painful, considering The Oldest is learning to find common denominators.) Then came English. The Oldest wrote me four synopses about things such as The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and the parable of the Good Samaritan. Littlest One was doing the same thing she always does: phonics charts, reading from a beginning reader, and then copy work. In two years, she still does not remember that N-E-W spells "new". Nor did she remember the words "would", "oh", or "unto". It was a painful lesson. The kind that convinces you, as a homeshooling mother, that your child will still not be reading when she is entering high school. (Because homeschooling mothers are known for putting undo pressure on themselves, and then buckling under said pressure. It's what we do. We're really good at it.)

But then, life happens. Discussions happen. Over lunch, Galileo's experiment at the leaning tower of Pisa came up. I remember hearing about that in the 8th grade. My teacher telling us that, if we were allowed to climb up onto the roof and drop a bowling ball and a marble, that they would land at the same time. I never did believe him.

Well, we didn't have a bowling ball, but we had a huge bouncy ball and a marble. So we dropped them from the deck, two stories above the ground below, and Littlest One kept watch. Indeed, they did both land at the same time.

From there, I thought I'd be all awesome and explain gravity and terminal velocity. Except that at about that moment, Littlest One (who is SIX!) piped up. "Eventually, everything will go as fast as it can go, and it won't go any faster."

And there's terminal velocity, in six year old terms.

"The balls landed at the same time because they're the same shape. So they push the air away the same."


So what would happen if I dropped a feather and a hammer?

"They wouldn't be the same, 'cuz they're shaped different. The feather makes more friction."

Seriously? I had to look it up. She was right.

"What would happen if I dropped a feather and a hammer and I was standing on the moon?" (The school book told me to ask that. Never would've occurred to me otherwise.)

"They'd fall the same. 'Cuz there isn't any air on the moon, so there's no friction."

I had to look that up, too. How on earth did she learn that? Her sister read something about it in a National Geographic magazine and told her about it. I Googled the video of the Apollo 15 astronaut demonstrating it. They were fascinated.

Why am I doing the teaching here? Clearly, the ten year old is more capable. Granted, I can claim having taught them about friction. We had an awesome time with that one!

Later tonight, she explained the process of amputating a horse's leg due to infection from a dog bite, and then creating a prosthetic leg and teaching it how to walk again.

Um, seriously? Yeah, it was in a book her sister read to her, one Grammy gave her for Christmas. So they were playing "amputated horse leg" in the living room. Because that's what homeschoolers do for fun.

This morning at breakfast, we used the computer to take a virtual tour of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. (We just finished reading aloud the Newbery award winner From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler so it fit in nicely.) Using the mouse to move through the museum, The Oldest pipes up, "Look! There's a model of Brunellesci's dome!" Ehhh... huh? She looks at me like I might be stupid. "Brunellesci. The Renaissance. Remember?" Uh... yeah, no. But apparently I read something about that to her once. Glad to know it stuck.

Homeschool is incredible. Stressful, and difficult, but incredible. They spend so much time delving into subjects that interest them, and then sharing those subjects with one another, playing them and discussing them and pondering them. The teaching that I do hardly touches the amount of learning that they do, through each of those mediums.

So about that trouble with reading? I'm pretty sure it'll come. Some day there will be a book that details the discoveries of some great inventor or scientist, and she's going to be desperate to know what it says, and she's going to read it. The hardest part of homeschooling is letting go of the standards and goals you've got in your mind. Because you can set as many standards as your heart desires, but your kids aren't going to meet them the way you planned for them to. They'll get there in their time, taking their route, and achieving so much more along the way than you ever could have even imagined.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I can relate to this so much. Except my 10 year old is the one who was slow to read. She reads well now but us just starting to write more than a few short sentences. My 8 year old is creatively impaired. My 7 year old rocks the reading and creative writing. My three year old can retell anything the older siblings learn. Sometimes they just all amaze me. They are all different but each awesome. Home school is all in the hands on and rabbit trails.