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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Homeschool Blues

OK, I've been busy. But that's not really why I've been remiss about posting on this blog. The real reason is... I've been working to put together a better, more focused program for Tom, and running into no end of frustrations.

We'll be starting a homeschool gym program at the YMCA in Wareham next week - and I must admit I'm nervouse... who knows whether he'll integrate into the group, manage the pressure of uncertainty, or submit to swim lessons when he already has a basic grasp of how to get from one end of the pool to the other?

He's started a "tutoring" program two hours a week with two other boys... one is autistic, the other just "different" - and already I'm wondering whether it was really the right choice. He does ok, but the teacher is not particularly animated - and Tom just sorta wonders about the kids but barely interacts.

He's back in "Hot Jazz," playing clarinet - but after last fall's concerts, where he did beautifully but was basically ignored by teachers and kids (and did his own very impressive job of ignoring everyone around him except to play his music), I can't say I'm terrifically excited...

He's continuing in his bowling league and bowling well, but he continues to use two hands (no one else cares, but we do) - and has yet to say a word on his own to another human being.

We've stopped speech therapy for the time being, because the therapist is working with us as a "thinking coach" - but while she's brilliant, it's also very hard indeed for me to really make sense of how to integrate her ideas into our program.

I'm using Math Mammoth as a math program, and while I like its intense drills and I think Tom's doing well with it, I also know that he COULD be doing more advanced calculation with Touch Math - and I'm totally conflicted. I wake up at night worrying about this!

I'm using comprehension review questions from EdHelper for language arts - and he does just great (just finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). But since all the questions are who/what/when/where questions, and he's seen the movie 50 times, I'm not sure that's much of an accomplishment.

In short - I'm wondering whether I really have a clue as to whether I'm doing a particularly good job at teaching, choosing curricula, or even managing our schedules.

Meanwhile, Tom and Peter have been working on an indoor train layout.... building a mountain of papier mache and plaster. It's a great art project, but I had somehow imagined something more integrated and richer.

Part of the problem is that we're really struggling to find the time to plan out much of ANYthing: we're each trying to earn a full-time living in our "off" hours, and I simply can't afford to have my clients feel that they're anything but my first priority... Don't want the house to be a disaster area, or make dinner from a box, or sleep on dirty sheets, or ignore Sara's requests to read aloud or play board games... and every night I fall into bed like a lump.

Not sure where all this is leading... I'm assuming that my spirits will rise as the spring comes closer?!


ProCameraGirl said...

Sounds to me like you are having the winter blue's! Sometimes life's journey can become overwhelming, even more so when there are so many people depending on you. All you can do is keep trying your best. "One Step At A Time".
At least your living your dream...

Dana said...

Can't answer any of your concerns, but we're starting the homeschool gym program at our Y at the end of the month, too. I hope it goes well for your child.

I'm nervous about my four year old. He does great and loves that sort of thing...but then without warning he'll do something so totally unacceptable that you wonder where on earth it came from. I want him to do well...he has enough "quirks" and I worry about when he is older.

But I suppose I need to learn to relax, let him be him and let tomorrow worry about itself.

Lisa Jo Rudy said...

Thank you thank you both! It's always hard to think straight at night... which is when I blogged - but it is just BAFFLING! Some days I think we should back off a bit... other days that we're not pushing hard ENOUGH!

Dee, you're right of course: we ARE living our dream. And under it all, I'm actually very proud of all we've done. But but but!!

Dana - the great thing about being four years old is that he IS four years old. No one gets too terribly uptight when a preschooler has difficulty with following direction, running in circles, and so forth. And it's a great chance to see where his skills are (and what you might specifically want to work on).


The Glasers said...

I think the number of hours of daylight is often inversely proportional to our feelings about homeschooling . . . or could that just be because school's out in the summer . . . :-)

Anonymous said...

lisa--is there such a thing as a homeschool consultant? I think i would feel the same questions/concerns if I were you and I would probably seek someone who could help with curriculum planning/ and just planning of what to prioritize for tommy. Its too early to think about careers--focus on the here and now skills. And if the speech therapist you hired is giving you ideas but the issue is how to incorporate them, maybe she can add in a demo or more specifics for you? don't mean to sound too directive but I hear you!rosemary

Lisa Jo Rudy said...

In response to "Anonymous" - yes, there are homeschool consultants! I've seen several people who claim to be able to help, in various different ways. We've gone through many evaluations, conversations, and recommendations - but when push comes to shove, no one seems able to connect the evaluation to the curriculum to the teaching style! If you can recommend a qualified coach who can put it all together, please let me know!!