So Son #1 started 7th Grade today and Son #3 "moved up" in on Monday in his preschool. Today, therefore, marked the beginning of Norm's home school year.
Over the past week it became clear that the first month would have to be rather touch and go. I am new at this. He is, too. Also, I am hard at work getting the church ready for the fall and for my sabbatical time. Today, therefore, has probably met expectations, but is unlikely to have exceeded our dreams for the first day. Yeah, shocking. In fact, the worst moment was when the school called to see where Norm was. Apparently even though I had to meet with the district to get permission to do this, they do not tell the schools. I was tempted to tell them we would be right over and that I was terribly sorry but I thought that school started after Labor Day. "That's all...just a big, big, mistake!" I did not.
What we did do was concentrate on the "three "R"'s with the expectation that the sabbatical time will be relatively free of the basics and instead filled with field trips. The morning began with a canoe trip up the river and then we practiced multiplication tables as we drifted back to the landing. Then we had to run up to the church. I needed to meet with the Administrator about a variety of things and then to make phone calls to congregants. During this time Norm worked on math, mostly, and grammar. We will probably keep to that structure for a while. The practice is good for him and the repetition means that my work can also get done. Thankfully, homeschooling doesn't require complete and focused attention on the child all the time. I think that would drive both of us absolutely crazy...
After lunch we worked on reading skills and then moved on to science and the scientific method. Here, too, he would work on his own and I would drop in on him and check his work. Through all of this Norm remained curious and interested. I, on the other hand was in complete teacher panic! The fact is, the three "r"'s are really quite dull. and the science stuff was interesting but the material very schoolish. Also, there was work for me to do! In the end, I dragged out the plant press given to my children by their aunt and uncle (also homeschoolers) and Norm and I went back out in the canoe to collect plant specimens for our herbarium. This was fun. This was 19th century. Henslow would have been proud. Now Son #1 is home and the two of them are chatting about their respective first days. Norm seems happy. #1 seems happy. I will go with that and say all is well.
I will not be updating on this every day (don't worry!) but the rest of the week will probably continue as today did. I am sure that as we figure each other out things will come more quickly and all will be a little easier. I do not doubt my ability, really, but I do wish I could figure out ways for him to hang out with more kids. That, I guess, is a challenge for another day.
Oh...my favorite web site so far for education (it's not just for homeschoolers)? Khan Academy.
Also, here is some info on pressing plants.