Originally posted January 2009
My son is a handful. Anyone who knows him knows that. He’s a brilliant and jubilant little man and while I am simultaneously concerned for his future (will juvenile detention be involved?) I am also pretty sure he’s going to go very far and succeed at whatever he does. That is if he makes it to 6! He has energy to burn but he is also in need of constant mind and body stimulation. If it’s not running and yelling he must be working at building something intricate or working out a puzzle or learning phonics.
I’ve tried to teach him some simple math concepts without cracking open the math curriculum I bought in the fall. Something tells me he isnt’ ready for the curriculum. He’s only just five and doesn’t have the patience to sit through more than a few lessons of one topic. I am like any mother though and I have concerns that he is behind or wonder if he’s learning enough. I’m pretty convinced that he isn’t being challenged enough for his intelligence level. There are a lot of things I just don’t know how to do with him to get him stimulated. He loves to build and invent so I’ll try to give him a bunch of random bits and bobs lying around the house and ask him to make something out of them. Some days he’s into that, some days he whines about everything.
He is also unusually talented at figuring out mazes. I bought him a book of mazes for an older age level and he worked out the entire book in a day. Well, there goes a few weeks worth of ‘something to do’. Then a friend downloaded some adult mazes and he worked out most of them as well. Some were too tough for him but I was shocked at how fast he could just look at them and work it out. He’s not counting spilled out toothpicks on the ground by just taking a glance at them, for those of you who are wondering. “82,82, 82. There’s 246 in the box! That’s nice, Raymond”
I was able to get him interested in working on counting by giving him some dot to dot work sheets. I realized they are more of a challenge to him and much more interesting than counting the days on the calendar or staring at numbers and counting them. Even counting beans puts him to sleep.
This home schooling thing is really challenging for me because his learning style is so very different from mine and I’m usually frustrated by how much work you have to put into doing this with your kids. I’m going to be honest and say that it isn’t always fun for me like it seems to be for some mothers. I am naturally a teacher but get me in front of university age students and I’ll come alive. Put me in with little children and I lock up. I’ve always been that way. That’s why I was a preschool teacher’s assistant and NOT the head teacher.
We’re working things out and some days I do absolutely nothing with them. Not because we are doing other things like going outside or baking together, but because I just can’t force myself to do it. I get very emotionally exhausted and just give up for the day. I have fears that I’m not going to be able to go the distance with schooling my kids; fail! I told myself ‘one year at a time’ and that’s where I’m at right now. He’s not even ‘school age’ technically so I should not worry too much about it (that’s what friends keep telling me anyway). But I’m a perfectionist and I think way too much so this is not easy to let go and relax with. I can also see that I need to work with my son very intentionally on a daily basis because of his need to be stimulated. I’m tired and cranky right now and I’m hoping that these small victories will bring life into what I’m attempting to do in my home.