Some more stuff about writing and homeschooling.
1613 words of the Novel produced in about an hour and a half yesterday plus about twenty minutes today. We got the flow, oh yeah.
Summer asked a really really good question, one of which I’m not even quite sure of the answer: why are we homeschooling Rhys and not Fisher?
It all comes down, probably, to my lack of confidence as a parent, and to Fisher’s and my historically
rocky unsettled bipolar relationship. We’re kinda sorta alike (opinionated, short-tempered, emotionally brittle, whatever the opposite of "easygoing" is) in ways that sometimes lead to conflict. Sometimes I can be the grown-up and take the high road and defuse things before they blow up in our faces, and sometimes I can’t don’t.
(Guess which HTML text attribute tag I just learned how to use?)
I had wanted to start homeschooling Fisher this year, but since he’s in a multi-grade class, he has the same teacher this year as he did last year–and we really love her. She is kind, smart, creative, motivated, all those things you’d wish for in an elementary school teacher… and she adores Fisher. When she saw him on the first day of school this year, knowing we’d been thinking about homeschooling him this year, she said "Thank you for letting me have him back for one more year!"
Starting in about July, I started asking Fisher what he wanted to do this school year. He wanted to be in Ms. F’s class again. I tried to pimp homeschool for him. I dangled tempting delights before his eyes: field trips, multiple library visits per week, the chance to study what he wanted when he wanted to, sleeping late, sleeping late, SLEEPING LATE (kid’s a night owl like me; it’s pure torture getting him out of bed pre-8 a.m.). But he wanted to go for one more year, knowing full well that the move to Portland would equal a move to homeschool, and so… I decided to let him make the decision.
‘Cause I’m an insane parent, and I may not let my kids decide whether or not they want to drink soda (the answer is no) but I’ve let them decide whether or not they want to be schooled in a classroom setting.
So this is what seems to be going on in Fisher’s mind right now. We’ve talked (and talked) about the problems with his half-completed, indifferently-worked, doodled-upon assignments. We’ve talked about how bringing home playground attitudes seems to get him in a whole lot of trouble. We’ve talked about how homeschool means taking a lot more responsibility for your own education. And I think right now, the sticking point for him is friends. He has tons of friends, and he thrives in their company. (This is one way in which Fisher and I are completely unalike. My soul selects its own society, then slams the door, throws the bolt and sinks to the ground with an exhausted moan.) He might learn creepy things from his friends, but hey, isn’t that what friends are for? My best friends all through school were always the ones in whose company I could get up to the most shit. I may not approve, but I completely understand.
Right now, homeschool would not involve a whole lot of friend time. For one thing, I don’t have many friends with kids Fisher’s age anyway; for another thing, those kids are all in school all day long. (Why not just join a homeschool group to meet new friends? The politico-religious composition of the Grand Valley homeschool community is a whole ‘nother subject into which I shall not delve.)
But next year, in a city with many more like-minded homeschoolers and many more opportunities to get together with them and learn things/do things/act like complete idiots together, I think the situation will be rather different. He can reconcile the friend-loving, noisy part of himself with the book-loving, introspective part of himself and his path will be made smoother.
In other news: Rhys loves to read! I started making him "Magic Word Machines" (you write a couple letters on an index card, -an for example, then cut two slits in the card and run a strip through the slits on which you’ve written a sequence of letters such as c, p, t, b; kid slides strip up and down and reads such words as "can, pan, tan, ban"). I made one to keep him busy and have made five or six more since then. Hat, cat, pat, bat, sat, mat, rat, fat. Cook, book, took, look, shook. Whoopee!
He’s also a big fan of helping out at the grocery store. Today, it was his job to check things off on the list: "zucchini," for example, starts with "z" and is thus easy to find and cross out. "Pears" vs. "potatoes" vs. "parsley" causes a bit more trouble, but we’ll get there eventually.