We have a wonderful homeschooling group in our little community. We get together for sports, skating, track and field, and sometimes more academic subjects. The youth socialize together. It's great.
But whenever we go, my family brings the average number of children down. Most families have 7, 8, 9, 12, or even 5 kids. We had two.
Until now. My nephew, Alex, has come to join our little brood. So now we have 3!
Here they are doing math on their first day of school. They look miserable, but they were actually just hard at work. and the mugs are full of hot chocolate and marshmallows, which is how we always begin our day.
Alex is thrilled to be here so far. He was the one who asked to come. He's three weeks younger than Rebecca, but they're not at the same level because we've been homeschooling Becca all along, so she's doing high school work at this point. Alex is just as smart, I think, but he developed some sloppy habits in math in school that we're going to cure him of! I'm trying to get him through a whole math textbook in the next three months so he can move ahead and won't be in the same book next year as his cousin Katie who is three years younger!
The girls like it because it's a change. After seven years of just the two of them, it's nice to have someone else around. I think I like it for the same reason. And Alex?
He is just sick of being bored at school. He's sick of homework that has no educational value (we don't do homework. They just get their work done in school). He's tired of all the teasing and social garbage that goes on in the playground. He's tired of not being challenged.
I find school really wastes kids' minds. He could be doing stuff so far ahead if he was simply allowed to work at his intellectual pace. Keith teaches the kids one or two days a week and he's been doing chemistry with Rebecca, so he started Alex on it yesterday. It's basically a high school course, but the kids can handle it if you explain it well. And they're learning Latin and Greek.
For history, we're at the Depression. We spent about an hour yesterday talking about the Stock Market Crash and how stock markets can crash. And we talked about how banks could crash then, but not now. We didn't write a lot, but we talked a lot. They learned a ton. And he loved it. He said they never talked about anything important at school.
I don't know how long he'll stay with us. We're homeschooling the girls all the way through high school, and I don't know if he'll want to go back to school at some point. But I'll get him prepared for harder subjects, anyway. And he's just thrilled that he gets to do hard stuff!
His first comment, when we were in a meeting about homeschooling him, was, "I just want to learn as much as I can." Now that's a good attitude! I hope it lasts (in 13-year-olds you can never tell), but so far he's great. But it makes me sad for how little the kids learn in public school. What a loss of great potential! But more on this later.
Labels: homeschooling, learning, teaching