I’m crossing my fingers that writing this post won’t send us careening off the deep end of refusals and fights over schoolwork. You just never know around here!
It dawned on me over the last few days that whew! We’ve accomplished a lot in the last few months! I actually kept track of our schooling on a heavy school day and realized that we’re averaging 3 hours a day of school work for the Engineer. More if you count the educational videos. For us, that’s a LOT!
Of course, it’s not 3 hours of straight work. There are wiggle breaks, bathroom breaks, even a few game breaks. I count that too – because public school has bathroom breaks and recess, right? The actual instructional time is probably closer to 2 hours, maybe more.
So why am I writing this?
You might be thinking “why does this matter?” After all, every kid learns differently. Every kid has different needs. So I shouldn’t really be chortling about a 3 hour work day as if it’s an accomplishment. Here’s the thing: I’m celebrating because for the first time in literally forever, I actually feel like we’re doing “enough” to challenge him. Whatever “enough” is.
I think every newbie homeschooler has this fear of “not doing enough.” As in, we’re failing our kids and they will flop miserably on any standardized test in the event that they have to go to public school.
Even homeschoolers with years of work under their belt will randomly have moments of “is this enough?” fear. Especially if they’re returning to an earlier grade for a younger kid, or trying a new curriculum. It’s just part of homeschooling – this fear that we won’t measure up.
Testing is coming
It’s particularly odd because of the timing. We’re gearing up for our annual “Proof of Progress” required by our state, which can mean standardized tests or an evaluation. We always do our tests early in the year just in case kiddo fails because of refusals or squirrel! moments. I need time to set up an evaluation if that happens.
The truth is, I don’t give a rat’s furry rear end about the actual test scores. All I care about is whether kiddo passes the required level or not. Which, to be honest, is insultingly low!
The standardized test doesn’t measure what he knows. It doesn’t cover the myriad of weird science facts, technical tidbits, and off-the-level math scores. It can’t. It’s not designed for homeschool kids, honestly. And it’s not designed to measure anything more than the bare basics.
All I’m doing is checking the box. Then we can get on with the real task of learning. Like shooting bottle rockets. I’m far more interested in him knowing that gravity made the rocket fall back down than if he can do 40 addition problems correctly. I know he can do the addition. All he has to do is prove it to the paper pushers.
What we’re doing
For those interested in what we’re currently doing, it’s a mix of things. The Engineer wants to meet his daily goal in Nessy Learning of waking up a critter every session. He does additional handwriting practice, math, and some reading practice every day. We add in fun things like marshmallow math (practicing with coins – the kids “buy” mini marshmallows from me) and puzzles or games, and we’re making our way through different educational shows and documentaries. Science co-op is every other week, and Art and History are every week. It’s a good mix!