This time of year, I like to reassess. I start staring at the contents of closets with a hungry eye, wondering what can go during Winter/Spring Cleaning and what has to be kept (like the full-sized bed set my grandmother made and which I will keep forever, even though we don't have a full-size bed and have no plans to do so in the foreseeable future). I start pondering what's going to go in the garden, even though right now my garden has been claimed by dust-bath-happy chickens and I haven't quite worked out how to keep them away from any seedlings I might eventually plant. This might just be The Year the Garden Didn't Happen. We'll see. This year I'm also trying to figure out what to do with myself since I've quit my night job and have no plans to get another in the same field. Right now I'm spending my evenings basking in the glory of the chair in my bedroom and the Scholastic paperback versions of "Harry Potter," but that can't last forever. And boredom and I don't mix.
Finally, I take a look at the state education guidelines for M1 and hope and pray that I haven't strayed too far from the fold, and I start planning for next year. I did that a couple nights ago and sighed with happiness. We seem to be in good shape, apart from some random math stuff. His math curriculum, while a perfect fit for his learning style, doesn't reach out into all corners of math-dom to incorporate things like measuring, graphing, patterns (other than skip counting), etc.
So I'm stepping out on my own next week, partially to give him a chance to settle in with his 2 and 5 multiplication tables (the 0s, 1s, and 10s are already down pat) but also to cover some of these random things. I even made my own worksheets! Hopefully I'll remember to get a few pictures.
I have also made a few decisions about next year:
1. I'm sticking with one science curriculum that I have come to really love and going to supplement it with extra reading instead of extra experiments. It seems to be a better balance.
2. I am tossing Writing With Ease out the window. He hates it. Hates copywork. We do narration for history and are starting book reports, so he'll have that process down pat, anyway. And since he's an auditory learner, staring at a sentence and writing it does absolutely nothing for him. Talking it out and being told how to correct things or having a paper scratched up with editing marks - THAT is much more effective. So we'll be doing a lot of Writing Strands activities, and I've got a book about writing that I plan to dip into now and again to mix things up. Plus, last night he told me that he wants to learn cursive.
3. I need to throw a few real tests at him. It's time.
4. I don't care how much he begs, he will not be adding a third language.
5. I want to find him a place to hang out with other kids once a week, whether it's doing volunteer work or taking a class or something. I want this to be something that does not involve ME. I want to leave (or at least be in another room, out of sight) and let him be him without me hovering around for a while. (And I need the break, too!)
Before any of those plans get firm, though, I have to convince him it's in his best interests to stay home. He's gotten it into his head that he wants to go "back to school" next year. Even M2 is skeptical. She heard him and said, "But... you'd have to keep your hands to yourself and not fight with people!" And while he immediately took offense at this, as any self-respecting sibling would, I couldn't help but admit to myself that she had a point. He might think it'd be all fun & games to go back and get to play with people at recess, but I think he's forgotten all the time he'd be spending at a desk before and after, working, and I think he's forgotten how 'bored' he got, too.
Much to ponder, much to ponder...