Friday, August 28, 2009

Preparing to Homeschool

Despite the number of days that I wish I could send Kittyboy somewhere ELSE, I'm still stuck on this homeschool "thang". And it is possible that conflict would be more easily avoided if our days had more structure.
So. September 1st, next Tuesdsay, is the first day of the new church year. That's going to be our first day of "school", and the plan is to go year-round, with breaks of course. I haven't found all the puzzles I want, but I'm getting there, and I've got the weekend to hit up all the dollar stores. Last week, Ginny had some really neat, simple, basic puzzles for colors, shapes and numbers, that she said she'd gotten at one of the dollar stores here in town, so I have to go shopping.
And since joining an Orthodox Homeschool group on Yahoo, and reading more blogs about homeschooling, I keep running into more and more reasons to do so. I think it was Conservative Scalawag who posted a video from Leno's show where three high school graduates had no idea on what date the Declaration of Independence was signed, or who FDR was. Jasmine at Joyfully Home shares posts from her father's blog from time to time, one of which asked (my paraphrase), "If our children are gifts from God, why do we render them unto Caeser?" They're our responsibility, not the State's. And there was a wonderful thread on the Orthodox Homeschool group, discussing how we can answer the inevitable question, "But how do your children get socialized?" One mom pointed out there's a difference between socialized and sociable - one who is sociable is polite and courteous and able to carry on a conversation with people of varied ages and backgrounds. One who is socialized has learned social mimicry and to follow the strongest personality in the room. We would prefer our children be sociable than socialized. Another said her answer was, "Oh, we homeschool FOR social reasons." Another, "Oh, by socialized, you mean assimilated?" My own answer, from the end of my first post on why I'm doing this - "Gradeschool children learning social interaction from each other is like fifteen-year-olds teaching Driver's Ed."
Kittyboy gets regular social interaction with Puppygirl, age 8, and Squee, age 11, as well as children ages 1-14 at church during coffee hour. He is absolutely "color blind", and has never been anxious or frightened of anyone because of accent, skin color, or appearance - one of the distinct advantages of being the only Orthodox church in town, so he has seen every shade and hears many different accents each week (Greeks, Russians, Egyptians, Ethiopians, everyone comes to St. Anthony's). He will lift up his arms to any friendly looking stranger (which is worrisome for other reasons...) and interacts happily with everyone. He is even learning (shock shock) not to take things out of other toddlers' hands just because he wants them. And he's not learning that from the other toddlers, but from the older children who tell him no. (Meanwhile, he is helping his best buds, the alterboys, exercise their paternal instincts as they follow him around the church basement. But more on the Kittyboy Roadies in another post.) Social skills are best learned from interaction with a variety of age levels, not only from others the same age.
I've seen a t-shirt that says "Warning! Unsocialized Homeschooler!" He needs one.
So I've got six little plastic drawers in the living room with construction paper, homemade flash cards for colors and shapes, matching games, and the most wonderful books, the Britannica Discovery Library (thanks, Freecycle!). "The Me Book" and "The Me and You Book" are in the drawer with all his "church" stuff, because it seems to me that the next step from how we relate to ourselves and each other is how we relate to God. There's a book on colors, a book on shapes, a book on numbers, one for sounds, people and places, outdoors, animals, words, and time (both the telling of, and progression of, with calendars), and they're all full of beautiful, bright illustrations. His godfather is getting him the Guardian Angel Prayer Book, to be added to the church education drawer.
Four days to go...


Tena said...

I recommend reading Amy's blog at She has a lot of information about homeschooling with an awareness of nature and it's very fascinating! I think she has made her blog private but you may be able to read her old posts.

Caeseria said...

Oh, I've been reading her blog for a while! I'll have to go back and study the homeschooling posts specifically.

Anonymous said...

All the best with the new school year :)

As for what is wrong with me - I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (also known as Myalgic Encephomyalitis) which basically makes me feel like I've got mono on a permanent basis :P I've also got Fibromyalgia which is where the pain stuff comes from - it flares up with dramatic weather shifts, stress, and other such fun things. I've got it all mostly under control in the last few months (I love my doctor) but he can't do anything about the weather, which has been completely nuts the last few days, so hence my whining on my blog :p

-- Kyriaki