Three weeks into the new school year and I’m kinda hoping for the Zombie Apocalypse to begin sooner rather than later so I don’t have to worry about educating The Most Complex Child on the Planet™ anymore. Writing and fractions and learning something when it’s something you don’t already know kinda take a back seat to fire building and straight shooting and running like hell because BRRAAAAIINNNSSS!!!!
You could say the bloom has not only left the homeschooling rose, but ran away screaming, taking the delightful fragrance with it as well.
I exaggerate for effect, but only slightly. Fractions are going well, we haven’t begun the writing portion of
this nightmare the year (that starts at coop today, with an online class of Druidawn with Miriam Darnell…I’m so excited/nervous I could wriggle like a toddler on Christmas Eve, and you really don’t want me to wriggle), but the whole “ya gotta learn things you don’t already know, dude” is going to be the death of me. I wrote an article for the current issue of Understanding Our Gifted (summer 2012 issue on homeschooling) about how I am a StealthSchooler. That I need to sneak in a whole bunch of pre-learning so that the actual learning goes smoothly. And that’s all well and good, but I’m one person with eleventy billion other responsibilities (yes, really, I counted) and sometimes you just have to move ahead with a lesson.
My son is 11 5/12 years old (yay! I’m learning fractions! Again!*) and I still have no idea how he learns. I do know he needs additional time to accommodate slower processing speed and to allow for more deep reflection, balanced with oh my God will you please focus for the love of all things holy one page of math should not take 2 1/2 hours!, but other than that he’s a mystery. I have 2 1/5 shelves (yay fractions!**) full of books on giftedness/twice-exceptionality/executive function/ADHD/how boys learn, but when lessons take as long as they have been there is no time (or mental stamina) to read and figure out how to fix it. I’ve finally had to resort to time limits, which he hates and over which he tends to obsess. But it’s my hope that he’ll eventually learn that one hour means one hour and then we go on. If that means that he’s stuck on the same lesson for a couple weeks because he’s staring off into space and picking his toes for 7/8ths of that time (um, yay fractions?***), hopefully he’ll eventually catch on that focusing won’t cause brain damage and we can move forward. Because I’d rather he learn that lesson than I get brain damage from trying to get him to focus. I have a hard enough time getting me to focus, thankyouverymuch Adult-Onset Child-Induced ADD.
So we’re struggling, but I hope it’s just a temporary struggle as we ease into our new normal. Homeschooling this kid has to work, we have no Plan B. Seriously, there is no backup plan. Private schools are prohibitively expensive and he would suffer badly at the local middle school. He turns pale at the mere thought. So I muddle through and hope for the best. But I really should figure out the physical education segment of homeschooling; when the zombies come he’ll need to run pretty fast.
*Maybe this time I’ll understand them.
**Fractions were my bugaboo in middle school, and where began my gradual slide from upper levels of math to end up in “math for music majors” in college and now just pray I can find I can find an online tutor or class to take my son past pre-Algebra.
***I really hate fractions. And yes, I know musical notation is nothing but fractions, but I’m not multiplying eighth notes by thirty-second notes as I’m playing. Thhhppp fractions.
Jen writes over at Laughing at Chaos, where eventually she’ll have book reviews of the titles currently sitting on her shelves mocking her. She may even pair them with wine recommendations. She’s also the author of If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?: Surviving in the Land of the Gifted and Twice-Exceptional, published by Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Press in August 2012.