Here’s another one of those “national” days. This one is a soft spot for me.
I’ve mentioned before I homeschooled my son, but I don’t recall sharing very much about the experience.
He was thrown out of daycare at the tender age of three for leading all the children outside during naptime. (A born leader!)
He thought being screened for kindergarten was fun time. It wasn’t. The kindergarten teacher strongly suggested we take him to his doctor as she felt he needed medication for school.
There was no way I was medicating my kid. I’d teach the boy myself. I quit my corporate job and turned in my suits for jeans and tennis shoes.
There were plenty of programs out there for homeschooling. I chose curriculum, and we were off to the races.
We turned our large living room in the front of the house into a schoolroom.
Every year, on the first day of public school, we played hooky and went fishing. It became a tradition.
We went on a million field trips because we could. We usually took my mother with us. Have you ever been to a pencil factory? A shoelace factory? A bread factory? We did all those things and a million more. Ooh, the chocolate factory with samples was the best. There are loads of historical sites in Northeast Ohio, and we probably visited all of them.
We used to do “unit studies.” I loved this approach – especially to history. When we studied pirates, we read about The Atocha treasure. How cool was it then when the exhibit came to Cleveland and we could go and touch some of the gold.
I read aloud to him while he played Nintendo. We read a million books this way. I would occasionally stop and ask him a question to be sure he was paying attention, and he always was. Sometimes, he would be so engrossed in what I was reading, he’d stop playing to listen.
I eventually stopped buying math curriculum. It was boring and repetitive. I made my own daily math sheets and moved him through the grades much faster. High school math was fun when he would sometimes have to help me understand an algebraic equation. “Mom, you’re supposed to be teaching me, not me teaching you.”
We saved science for summers … garden projects, insect projects, experiments, nature hikes while identifying plants, trees, and even snakes! We built a worm box with an acrylic side to watch the worms all summer. We had ant farms and “sugared” trees for ants. Science was the best.
I say all the time that I have rebel tendencies with my writing. I had rebel tendencies as my son’s teacher. There was no way I wanted to give him a traditional schooling experience.
We jumped on beds while listening to opera. The Barber of Seville came from Bugs Bunny; Carmen was the real deal.
Every Friday night over one winter, we watched a musical – The Music Man, Meet Me in St. Louis, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and a million more. We especially loved Oklahoma, Singin’ In the Rain, and Don Quixote. We even bought an adapted version of Don Quixote for young people and read it.
We read Shakespeare! I found a wonderful book to read, also with adapted works for young people, yet still retaining much of the original language. A Winter’s Tale, Cymbeline, As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet., and more. My son liked Hamlet so much, he wrote his own story Hamlet-style complete with illustrations with one of his computer programs.
The computer! We were on the internet early. We were proficient with DOS and Windows 3.1. There were loads of teaching software programs for kids out there at the time, and we had a million of them. We had software for every subject. These were fun games with cool graphics.
When he was in third grade, I began teaching him Latin. I think Latin vocabulary helped him tremendously with his understanding of words and his English grades.
Homeschooling my son was one of the best things I’ve done in my life. It was good for both of us, and I know I made learning an adventure for him. The closeness and memories we shared were priceless. I suspect many parents had a taste of homeschooling during the pandemic. I hope they had as much fun as we did.
million = a lot