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Grizzly Mama

There's a Grizzly who has escaped the City of Brotherly Love..(and she's going back to homeschooling!!)

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Location: Out of Philly, Pennsylvania, United States

"All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth." Aristotle - Greek Philosopher.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

They say that a bad day homeschooling...

Is better than a good day in public school.

It's probably true - but after today I wonder. We had a BAD day schooling today. They don't come around often but when they do they leave us all exhausted. Spent. Disheartened. Wondering why we do this.

Okay - it's probably only ME that feels that way. The kids are amazingly resilient - and are on to the next activity with nary a look back. Paddy walks in after it's all done to see the after-effects in me.

It started out fine - in that the sun was out today for the first time in what feels like weeks - and there was no rain coming out of the sky! There was no blast of a northerly wind when opening the front door! We got some fresh air, took a walk, visited with a neighbor who was also out, said hello at the neighborhood store, and then it happened - school started.

It took nearly 3 (that's THREE) HOURS for the 9 y/old to complete her essay on the Declaration of Independence. It wasn't a long essay - can I share that with you? It was, let's see - - - 1,2,3,4.....9 - yes. That's 9 (as in NINE) SENTENCES.

I was ready to throw in the towel. The Kindergartner completed her Math, Phonics, History AND Spanish. Admittedly there isn't much to Kindergarten Math, Phonics, History and Spanish - but then the Kindergartner got to help with the 'Cowboy Cookies' and still the older one was dawdling over her writing. I figured the cookie thing might light a fire under her ass. Nope.

Some days I wonder what I am doing wrong. The older one loves to dawdle. The little one thinks it's funny to give the wrong answer - and I know when she's deliberately doing it, too! She gets this evil grin on her face when she does it. So funny to screw with Mummy's mind....

Well - we'll have at it again tomorrow. The 9 y/old has NEVER liked writing. It's too bad too - because this year involves a hell of a lot of it for her.

On the bright side - she flew through geography, long division and then Spanish. And I can see so much progress in the little one with her phonics - she is putting letters and sounds together and figuring it all out where at the beginning of the year it was all Greek to her.

It IS fun to watch them as they get a grasp on new things. Tomorrow we'll be delivering the cookies to another homeschooling friend and I'm hoping the sun will be out again.

I'm just feeling so much better now - thank you for listening!

20 Comments:

Blogger City Troll said...

Eat some choclate honey

05 January, 2006 01:35  
Blogger MonicaR said...

I'm surprised you suggest that Troll - as much weight as I've gained over the last few months...
:-(

*sniffle*

05 January, 2006 01:37  
Blogger Jana said...

As you know, I've been there! (((hugs!)))

05 January, 2006 09:20  
Blogger DirtCrashr said...

Maybe the Declaration of Independance is a bit abstract at that age, or just on that particular day - but you have the Liberty Bell there to go look at. Sometimes when you try to do it perfect the writing comes hard.

05 January, 2006 12:04  
Blogger DV said...

Monica,

Never give up - you're doing the right thing but we all have our bad days. Everything I saw tells me that the cubs are a testament to the integrity of Papa and Mama Grizzly!!!

05 January, 2006 16:44  
Blogger tshsmom said...

Welcome to our world EVERYDAY! With Z's ADD and OCD it's like pulling teeth to get him to write a simple paragraph every day.

What amazes me is that he's teaching himself math and science right now. But when it comes to writing, he can't keep his train of thought long enough to get his thoughts on paper. There's a solution for this somewhere. We just have to find it.
He can explain ANYTHING verbally. He just has a tough time putting it in writing.

05 January, 2006 17:32  
Blogger The Sparky said...

Sounds like a touch of the post Xmas blues. Don’t worry about the weight I’ve put on half a stone thanks to the Xmas over indulging, Your get rid of it, Spring will be here before we know it. What about changing lessons around time wise, I’m more alive in the afternoon, not a morning person or back ground music. Anyway it’s just a hitch, Your kids having an off day, in a state school that would go unnoticed! Chin up chest out march straight into your class of two tomorrow and give your best shot like you always do.

These dull clouds hang over all of us from time to time. Sparky

05 January, 2006 19:12  
Blogger Mike's America said...

Here's a handy tip that I used to ace all my writing assignments:

1. restate the question or basic assignment.

2. question the basic assumptions in the question.

3. Quote at length from any historical document you are tasked to examine. Gosh golly, I could do nine sentences of QUOTES from the Dec. of Ind.

In college it got even better. Professors would assign a certain number of pages. As an early adopter to computer techonology (this was before PCs) I used mainframe word processing to insert micro spaces between letters, stretch between lines and the oldest trick in the book, teensy margins.

Still got mostly A's.

05 January, 2006 21:43  
Blogger Dani said...

Hey Monica,

Happy New Year Girl!

No worries – We ALL have those days! But like you said: a bad day homeschooling is far better than a good day at the pagan seminary. Remember – the goal is NOT academic success. Training your kids to be obedient and building their character are far more important than writing essays.

Hang in there! It could be worse - your kindergartener could be learning how to put a condom on and about how Heather has Two Mommies!

Here is a great book you should read:
Home Style Teaching by Raymond & Dorothy Moore

Love Ya - Dani

06 January, 2006 12:21  
Blogger Steve Donohue said...

Eh, it happens, trust me. Where I tutor (which is by no means a bad public school), that is a decidedly average, if not above average, day.

If you're ever in need of a therapist, I've always got a few CD recommendations that could help. Of course, you have a pretty good system worked out over here too.

06 January, 2006 23:46  
Blogger Kermit said...

Hang tough and be proud. Any teacher that says every day is daisies hasn't been 'there'. You're doing the good thing. Keep it up.

Even in the bog, not every day is a warm mud bath.

Kermit :)

07 January, 2006 06:45  
Blogger "Alice" said...

Sounds like some are having a hard time getting back into the old groove.

Don't fret too much, my youngest (who's ten) went back to school the day after getting off an airplane, and had an oral report due that day...she made a 96 on it. Not bad, considering she forgot her cue cards back here in England.

[Her school, being a private school doesn't hand out high marks unless you deserve them.]

07 January, 2006 11:39  
Blogger MamaGeph said...

I feel your pain. The Princess just went through a few weeks of this with her piano practice. Notes? What notes? What's a G again? after 2 years of reading music. I though my brain was going to liquify and run out my ears and nose.

07 January, 2006 18:07  
Blogger MonicaR said...

Thanks so much everyone - I appreciate it. It helps so much to see your encouraging and understanding words. It helps also to hear from you mothers(tshsmom, Jana, Dani, Alicenot and MamaGeph) who have the same moments with your kids. DV, Sparky, Kermit and DirtCrashr, Steve and Mike - you are right and THANKS! Sparky - we are NOT morning people at all! We work best in early afternoon and evening.

We DID have better days afterward - and she actually wrote 12 sentences on Friday and did it in about 15 minutes. This is exceedingly fast for her when it comes to handwriting....

It was a tough first week back. Everyone I have been talking to has been having the same experience. ALL activities are full ahead 'go' starting next week. The Christmas tree and all decorations are down and I'm ready now! The 'new' (read:old but new for us) car is registered, stickered, insured, clean(!), new tires and all the windows and doors work - woooohooooo!

Mike - I had it down-pat from about 7th grade on. Take the assignment, snap out a few choice lines, add some quotes, bada-bing-bada-boom! Done and out playing kick the can in no time. Unfortunately I was never overly concerned with thoroughly knowing something but very aware of giving the teach the minimum required.

Dani - I am determined that my girls achieve academic excellence in addition to the things you have mentioned.

Steve - NO WAGNER! Or any Wagner-type music please. Recommend something that will inspire me to dance around the house on tiptoes while happily sorting socks! Something that reminds one of little pretty birds merrily singing in meadows - and swaying flowers! Anything you recommend will be seriously considered! Thanks.

08 January, 2006 00:17  
Blogger tshsmom said...

Yeah, Mike's solution is probably WHY you and I are the kid's worst enemies when it comes to assignments. We know all the old tricks and actually expect the kids to write what they've LEARNED, not just empty facts spewed back at us. ;)

08 January, 2006 11:31  
Blogger Mike's America said...

There is no substitute for original thought and analysis, well presented, and that is what Monica's assignment is encouraging.

But in public school we learned that the expectation levels were much lower, hence the ability of those above the median to shortcut the process and still excell.

Another trick I tried in 7th grade: The assignment was to take just a magazine article and write a report on it. Most kids of course choose some dippy short thing from Time or Newsweek. I picked a really long bit from National Geographic (that really impressed the teacher) and then wrote a report based on just the captions from the photographs.

Got an A.

Turns out to have been a great lesson for later. When I started writing magazine articles for publication, I realized that many people probably did the same as I did and just looked at the pictures. So I made sure to put most of my story points in the captions.

Thanks for reminding me Monica!

08 January, 2006 12:41  
Blogger Steve Donohue said...

You'd be great friends with Haydn or Rossini.

11 January, 2006 01:18  
Blogger MonicaR said...

Why Steve?

11 January, 2006 01:48  
Blogger OORANOS said...

Have a good time

11 January, 2006 20:15  
Blogger MonicaR said...

That was kinda cool Ooranos. Thanks.

13 January, 2006 00:52  

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