Back in the fall, we started homeschooling Simone for a variety of reasons, many I made clear in an editorial that, apparently, everyone in the world read. So, I won’t talk about how it got started. Rather, I’ll talk about how it went.
At the beginning we started by using a series of books called Everything Your ___ Grader Should Know. Cate was homeschooled on these, and it seemed a logical place to start. We more or less threw out the kindergarten book right away. Simone already knew all of it. That’s going to sound like bragging or something, but it’s really just the truth. There was nothing there we needed to cover with her beyond a few basic social studies concepts. So, it was on to the first grade book.
The first grade material had real meat. You learn to read in the first grade. You start to learn real math and so on and so forth. In the beginning, things went pretty well, we were trucking along. And then James happened.
James spent most of the school year in a phase called, I AM A TWO-YEAR-OLD DEMON. This made schooling pretty hard and a lot of it got put off until after I was home from work when one of us could go over things with her while the other ran interference. It took us a while to adapt and there was a good month there where I felt like we did a pretty crappy job, but eventually we got a system figured out and Simone quickly got back on track.
Later in the year, Simone provided her own challenges. A lot of learning has come easy for her and when something was a little hard, she wanted to quit. Some fits were thrown, but we managed to find a way around. We both knew that was going to be the challenge with her. Most things come easy to Simone and when they don’t, she’s pretty inclined to walk away.
Having reached the end of the year, she’s just reached the beginning of second-grade reading and she’s started working on second-grade math. She’s very deep into lots of science concepts, especially biology, where she’s always on me to teach her about evolution (yes, really). And, she has her own library card!
This sounds more perfect and serene than it is. There are definitely areas where we need to improve. I feel like we could do a better job with her arts education and we definitely need to do a better job with history and social studies next year. I stand by our decision, however, and we plan to continue homeschooling for the foreseeable future. The world is still too testing-obsessed, and we enjoyed being able to adapt ourselves to her interests. It meant that she stayed in engaged in learning the whole year, and even if we struggled at times and even if we ended up with some tantrums and tattered books, it has all worked out for the best, so far.