In our campaign to help our 10-year-old son get his mojo back and become engaged and interested in life again, we decided to homeschool him. Probably sounds like a crazy idea in the face of all we have to do for our 2-year-old daughter who is getting chemo and is in line for a liver transplant. Well, it was a crazy idea…
But, no sooner had the possibility of homeschooling been mentioned, Ryan was asking for extra computer time to do research about animals. One morning, without any prompting (and in the middle of summer break), he researched Toucans, drew a lovely picture and wrote a report which he presented to me before noon! We knew then we were onto something!
I had no idea where to start and was actually really overwhelmed, though still committed, to the homeschooling possibility. As the next school year rapidly approached, I still didn’t know how I could do this. Then, unexpectedly, miraculously, my sister-in-law offered to homeschool Ryan with her kids. They also have a 5th grader, as well as 3rd, 1st and preschool age. It seemed too good to be true!
We knew this was a great opportunity so of course we said YES. Ryan is now homeschooled with his cousins at their house and is loving it! We are all loving it! My sister-in-law is very organized and I like the different curriculums she’s chosen for the various subjects. We love that he we see him more often, homework is minimal, and he has time to play with friends and explore his own interests. He’s reading more than he ever has before. He’s getting enough sleep. He has a positive attitude about going to school and learning and comes home from school happier most days. He’s slowly opening up to new interests and he’s in a happy, positive environment with lots of one-on-one attention. We are thrilled!
My contribution to school was teaching science. Yes… science. Becaaaauuuse, Ryan loves it and my sister-in-law wouldn’t have time to teach it. I admit I wasn’t the best choice for science teacher as it was one of my least liked and most avoided subjects during school. But I love my boy and I wanted to do something to make him happy. Under the circumstances, I think I did pretty well. Most of my lessons came from this great book, Science Around the House: Simple Projects Using Household Recyclables by Roz Fulcher.
We did experiments with eggs: stacking books on eggs to demonstrate the power of the arch; spinning a raw egg and a hard-boiled egg to demonstrate inertia; putting an egg in a glass of water and gradually adding salt to the water until the egg floated. We did experiments with magnets and magnetic fields. We also learned about sound waves. But anytime the kids asked deeper questions, which they often did, I didn’t always know the answers. Science for me lives in the realm of magic.
So imagine my happiness when our school took in another 5th grader, a neighbor whose mom wanted to teach, yes, science! Hurray! That left me to teach the other subject the kids wanted to add, and one I’m MUCH more qualified to teach… ART! Apparently I’m not the only one. My 5th grade niece told her mom, “I’m SO glad Tiffy doesn’t teach science anymore!” (Why? Her mom asked, wondering which direction the answer might go). “Because I’m having SO much fun in art!”
So I’m becoming an art teacher. I say becoming because I have never taught classes before and it’s a learning process for me, right along with the kids. But there are so many resources out there and no rules to follow, I get to create it as I go!
Often when we’ve made drastic decisions, (or had to make as we did with our daughter), we’ve wondered if we did the right thing, but we feel confident we did the right thing for our boy. And for our family.