Wednesday, February 18, 2015


When our kids are in school, they disappear for 6 hours, during which time the classroom teachers have to figure out how to cover language arts, math, "nutrition breaks," PE, Art, Music, science, computer lab and still be prepared for the seemingly arbitrary testing schedule on which they themselves will also be evaluated.  I also know, from my previous teaching experience that sometimes, in a 40 minute class, it can take up to 20 minutes to get everone going in the same direction.

I have great respect and a little awe for the teachers who work in schools.

So, I was nervous at first that we wouldn't stack up.  First of all, I knew that without the prospect of herding kids through a jam-packed schedule we'd be teaching far fewer than 6 hrs./ day.  Figuring out how many hours of instruction would happen each day was one of our first challenges.  We seem to have finally found the balance - fewer classes per day, but more time per class.  Sessions on ST Math or Grammer Trainer usually run about an hour.  Science experiments also go about an hour, but we go through a couple at a setting (exploring polarization and the laws of attraction in magnets, for example).    Other subjects vary between 40 min and an hour.

We get a lot done, but there is certainly more space in our day.  Are we doing enough?   A couple of days ago, I did a little happy dance when I got this e-mail from Liam's online math program:

It means that in the 2 months since we began using the program, we've completed 40% of the ENTIRE 3rd grade math curriculum.  And he likes it.  I know this because of how he reacts when he gets it wrong.  He gets angry.  He's angry because he cares.

We also do work on other programs for reading comprehension and grammar skills.  When he gets it wrong in those areas, his mind drifts, he yawns and he starts talking about ANYTHING but what he's supposed to be doing.   He's escaping because he doesn't care.  

In both cases, I'm grateful for the flexible schedule, because like it or not, the solution is pretty much the same - keep doing it until he get it.  

Because sometimes you'll feel the great satisfaction of conquering something you care about and sometimes you feel the relief of just getting through some crap you don't, but you have to learn to push ahead, either way.  Yesterday, after an exhausting session on comparing fractions, Liam finally got 100% on his quiz and wanted to take a picture with it (my pic of his pic taken in photo booth).  Totally worth it.

At this point in the process,  I'm grateful for the space to notice why things are hard and the time to work it out.

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