Appropriate Gravitas and Trepidation

Tomorrow my family's world will change in significant and profound ways, a change that has been years in the planning, a careful, watchful ticking of the clock and continual assessment. Tomorrow is the girls' last day at school. Period.

They are both finishing the year on a high note. They have made friends, connected with other children through their art. They excelled in their schoolwork. They love their teachers and there is no doubt in my mind that my girls are well liked and cared for by administration, faculty, and students.

In short, the school, my old school, has tended and cared for my girls and been fundamental in the strides they have made.

But on Friday we will begin homeschooling in earnest. No Summer break. No rest for the weary. And no matter how many times I ask my girls if they are sure, they come back with no hesitation...they want hard work. They want to be challenged, to boldly go where no other fourth and sixth graders have gone. They want to study science, to immerse themselves in math, hard math. They want to read the classics, study history, soak in all there is to know. They are self-motivated.

They want time to work on their art, to practice. To excel.

Who am I to say no to that? To not heed what they are rationally, calmly asking for? And have been for awhile now.

This is not a decision made lightly. I know exactly how much effort is involved in keeping these girls on their toes as they keep me on mine. Lily wants quantum mechanics and particle physics under her belt. Heavens help me, but at least I already have the books.

We're fixing to embark on an extended geek camp (what we called our breaks from school) that will last until I can get around the loopholes of minimum ages for college and make sure that all the basics are covered, that their foundations are solidly constructed. And at the same time, we have a lot of work to fill in the gaps, gaps that are chasm-wide and  come out of nowhere. We've got life skills training to do. So much work, so much to learn.

This kind of change must be approached with the gravitas and trepidation it warrants. These are bright, shining lights, these girls of mine, and they deserve the best I can offer them and the right to participate actively in their education.

It shouldn't matter that they are young, not when they know what they want and they know how to get it. And especially not when I have the tools to help them realize it and the humility to know just how sacred a trust theirs is of me.


melbo said...

Wow this is big stuff ... and I love that you're jumping right in. I wish you all the best with it. I don't think they could ask for a better teacher!

Kim Wombles said...

Thanks, Mel. I've been combing coursera.org with the girls, signing up for every course they found interesting (almost everything) and downloading the lecture videos and readings, and tomorrow we'll sit down with the list of courses, our teaching company courses, and each girl will map out the summer, what they will focus on, what novels they will be reading, and how they will be assessed on what they've learned. And we'll be planning out what life skills they have difficulty with (Lily can draw wonderfully, but still has difficulty managing a fork; Rosie needs help learning to pour and drink out of a regular glass--neither one can cut with a knife--a lot of basic skills that many kids pick up naturally).

We're going to be busy, but it will be fun.

kathleen said...

You know if we lived closer...ALL of my kids would be going to school at your house. :))

Kim Wombles said...


Usethebrains Godgiveyou said...

I have a friend, who has homeschooled all her children (6)"for religious reasons"--she seems to be very conservative...BUT, she also is a gifted Math instructor for homeschoolers. Oh, honey...She has one son graduating from MIT...he just got married to a beautiful girl. I think he might have been "spectrumized" in school, if he had ever attended. The next one is Dyslexic, can't spell worth a darn...but he has won multiple multiple awards in science, history, math competitions. She doesn't allow her kids to sit back like I did mine. She supports them and they work hard and win almost everything they enter. Actually, the competition for many awards is so low...She just tells them to try. She has 3 children who qualified this year for National History day. They are grades 6, 8, and 12, or there abouts. They don't really do classes, she unschools them. She's amazing. Her kids are so secure in themselves.

Good luck and light and love in your journey. I'm sure your kids will be at least as successful as Miss Ann's. I found her on a yahoo homeschooling group. You are gonna love your new people, too. There are so many classes offered so many places...it's not like the old days at all.

Just let your girls believe in their own minds, I'd guess. Their interests are far beyond their peers.

I loved my son's teachers and all, but there just came a time he didn't fit.

farmwifetwo said...

I too would be sending my youngest to your house :)

This summer we're going to work on more logic - which is probably what got us into trouble in the first place - math and expressive language. Did I tell you they will remove the Dev Delay dx, leave the ASD and he'll be in that room for Gr 7 but anything above that is... iffy.

Our biggest goal is to get us going on our own. Just he and I. Yes, we can do the bank, the grocery store etc but it's time to go to the city to the Children's Museum, the splash pad here is over 30min away etc. Things that I use to do with help. Problem is, I'm not an easy "going places on my own without someone at least on the other end" person to start with so it'll be a challenge.

Usethebrains Godgiveyou said...

We called our breaks from school Mental Health Days, I got from Jonathan Mooney (Learning Outside the Lines.)

I imagine you have everything lined up. I started out all kosher doing exact same stuff as school, eventually ended up unschooling. Sounds like you are there now! (Geek Camp)Good for you!

Two of the best things I've come across, and they were good for gifted as well as learning disabled (or both, if you are Ben) were ALEKS for math, individualized instruction totally student based and NO HELP FROM TEACHER/Parent. HOnest, Ben finally taught himself Algebra, and my gifted math friend gave it to her gifted sons who sailed through it. PERFECT, but it is $20/mo per student, and for each class.Ben also took Chemistry. Next...for Dyslexic type kiddos Dr. Fred Lybrand had a cool atypical english teaching program. Ben was resistent, but when he got to college, he got A's in his English classes for his ability to express himself. Lastly, I imagine you've heard of Kahn academy which is free.

Take what you can use and pitch the rest, but the first two were very helpful to me. Kahn probably would have been alright, but I wasn't aware of it soon enough. I think we've talked about this before, but maybe not. Good luck!

farmwifetwo said...

I'm looking for materials to teach inferencing. Looking at Lollipop Logic #2 it does have some inferencing in it. But there isn't anything for K or Gr 1. It all starts at Gr 3. Just cause the kid is 11 doesn't mean I don't need to start at the beginning.

I expect it's the logic work we've been doing that got us into this bind in the first place. :)

Kim Wombles said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Rose. I appreciate it! Definitely going to check into the math ones.

fw2--inferences--gotta be one of the hardest things to teach.

Stephanie said...

Good luck!

I would very much welcome the opportunity to homeschool the boys, so I understand the attraction. Unfortunately, with our kiddos, it takes skills we don't have. It'd be even worse if they wanted learn quantuum any thing.