28 September 2012

school daze: still learning

some people think that once you have one child, that makes you a pro at being a parent. i am here to tell you that is not the case.

herein lies the second installment of my homeschool series. in case you missed it, you can read the first piece here.

i wanted to call this post there and back again since that is how my second son refers to his favorite book, the hobbit. but since we are still there and haven't left, it would be more appropriate to pen it there and who knows.

so, who knows...

when we decided to homeschool our first child, it only made sense that we would throw in the younger brother. by the time he was 3, our second born was saying those 3 magic syllables: "triv-i-um". i scooped my boys up and put them into the same little learning pod. it didn't take long until i realized that our second born was very different from our first born. and if you have ever met our boys, it would only take you 2 seconds to figure this out. 

like a neon flashing sign, our second child loves attention. he is the first person to volunteer at any given public event. he picked up a guitar when he was 2 and hasn't stopped trying to write his destiny as a rock and roll star since. he is an extra extrovert. this can be exhausting and enchanting. winsome and wild. 

but academically, well, academics is just a means to an end for him. he doesn't savor science or feel compelled to comprehend math. his agreeable personality{need to make peace and be liked}make him a joy to educate. but he is not a strong student and has struggled to grasp concepts like penmanship and concentration {and spelling}
he tells me he is going to patent markers for drawing semi permanent tattoos. i ask, "aren't those called 'sharpies'?"

what homeschooling has afforded us is the luxury to go as we wish. speed up or slow down. take two days to cover one math lesson. read aloud the challenging classics to this boy who can comprehend the most complex and esoteric of allusions{or innuendo}. spend extra time working on left brain/right brain exercises to wake up the sensory motor skills. have him sit on a special cushion to help him concentrate or perhaps put on leg weights to help with his sensory processing deficiency. here's the thing, i have worked really hard at trying to understand this complex sometimes angst-y boy who for all intents and purposes is maturing at a much faster rate than his older brother. 

for that reason, i feel a little out of sorts with this boy who has been curious about "real school" since he was in 2nd grade. we have tried a myriad of ways to satiate his curiosity just short of putting him in an 8-3 classroom. 

last week as we drove to his weekly tutorial he broached the subject yet again, "it's just that i am curious to know what it's like." always open with him, i reflected, "you know, there have been a lot of things in life that i have been curious about. some of them turned out to be not so good. but some of them turned out to be just fine."

his father and i will ultimately decide what happens with this lad of 11 years next year as it relates to his education, but i can't help think it is wrong of us to encourage and teach critical thinking only to squelch it when our child makes a valid{and let's face it, fair}assessment of his needs. i sort of feel like there will be hell to pay if we don't indulge this innocent desire. i've seen the movie footloose.

from the time i fell in love with his merry eyes, there has been an overwhelming lesson with this one. a "let go" whisper in my deepest mother's heart. a he's-not-yours blowing wind. maybe it was spurred by watching him crouch down to play, eat, read that so reminded me of the photographs the Mister brought back of the locals living in India. or maybe it's his unquenchable love of people who are not like him. this boy unconsciously seeks out people who are unlike him to befriend. he, like his mother, has an insatiable need to enjoy diversity. it is as though he recognizes that too much homogeneity is bland and that creativity is brought out and enjoyed when there are differences. i would not be surprised if this boy leaves home as a young man for a distant land-not out of rebellion, but out of passion for adventure. his call of the wild.

last night at dinner i asked him to tell me more about why he was ready for a school transfer. he used words like:independence and discipline and responsibility. i couldn't help think: aren't those the things we have been teaching this delightful boy for his whole life?

i am not excited about him leaving his all boys' school. it is not the path that i think is best. what if he's labeled? what if he can't concentrate with all the distractions? what if girls notice him? what if he soars? what if he falls and learns to pick himself up? what if he finds that he really does like it? what if he realizes that i was right? what if i realize he was right? what if we meet somewhere in the middle?

you are never too old to learn something new. and that is something i want my boys to know and glean from me. sometimes the best lessons are ones that we live.

stay tuned! next friday i'll be continuing this exploration on schooling from home. since we have 2 more boys, this series will go on and on. whew!

truly yours,

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