Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordy Wednesday

My Wordy Wednesday post is going to be a discussion loosely based on some conversations I've had this week with various friends (yes, I have friends, don't act all shocked.)

Monday: Bestie, Friend and I had a discussion about the lack of "fun" in middle school. Bestie and Friend both have kids that will be entering middle school in the fall...whereas we've been in the the throws of boring for a few years now (One is completing 8th grade.) When you look at elementary curriculum choices, they are bright and brilliant and full of manipulatives and art and projects and then you hit 6th grade and they become black and white, mundane, and lacking of all enjoyment. Friend reported that she had attended a homeschooling conference and was surprised by how different even the sales pitches were when the vendors find out how old your kids are. They just assume you know what you're doing....but as she pointed out, it's her FIRST time educating a middle school-er, it's uncharted waters and she could use their help. She tried to find middle school homeschooling blogs and they just don't exist. And, why don't they exist? Because it's hard. It's hard to make it fun and interesting and bright and pretty unless you are puttin gin some SERIOUS man hours outside of teaching the basic curriculum. I know there have to be some (better than me) homeschooling families out there who are doing it--but my theory is they are just too tired to blog it. *wink* I admit, I have not made middle school interesting for my girls....and it does sadden me because I don't want them to start disliking learning, but at the same time, you're never going to love everything you have to learn and when you get to high school or college or in the work force...no one is going to sugar coat your work and go over it with a fine tooth comb and make it all more fun for you. Maybe some lessons are easier to learn now. *shrug* I do hope that high school can involve more projects and be more fun (assuming One stays home for high school...at the moment that's up in the air.) And, I hope that if we move to a computer based curriculum, which involves less planning and input and record keeping on my part it would free up more time to plan "fun" projects. Of course, One is the kind of kid who probably will hate every project I plan and just see it as more work. *eye roll*

Monday: Bestie is struggling with a child, much like One, who is less than motivated to do her lessons. Friend and I offered the advice that she has to make it clear that school is not optional. You don't get to decide you don't feel like doing it today, and if you do, you need to be prepared that there are consequences. Consequences suck. They suck for the kid, sure, but they sort of earned it. They suck for US as parents....last week, I stopped One from attending dance class (where there was going to be a celebration for their performance at competition the previous weekend) because of irresponsibility. She did understand how it was her responsibility and she hadn't lived up to her end of the deal, but she was still upset and crying...which made it really hard for me. I told her "Sometimes learning the lesson is hard." But it didn't take the sting out of it for either of us. In positive news, Bestie's child has done her school work with much less struggle the last 2 days. There's always hope.

Tuesday: Friend and I are sitting on a bench talking about homeschooling, while the kids play at the park (her K aged child is on spring break from public school.) We were discussing Kindergarten at home versus Kindergarten in school....and my philosophy on how quickly it can be done (because it's one on one....) but also how that free's up a lot of the child's time which may mean they expect you to entertain them. Especially after they've spent a year in PS Kindy where there is something going on at all times. I'm glad I don't have to deal with that. Three will be Kindergarten age in the fall. He is not the best at entertaining himself, but he doesn't expect me to do it either. I usually give him direction: Go play "this." Somehow he can't think to play with his own toys. Go figure. Then we discussed middle school struggles, how mean the kids are, and how bullying is rampant because if you tell it just gets worse! It is so frustrating to me, and I don't even have a child over there. I do have friends who have kids there, and I'm sad for them. Friend is kicking around the idea of homeschooling, as they were before K, and I'm not sure I made it sound like such an appealing option. I'm probably not the best spokeswoman.


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