Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Home Stretch

When I ran that 10K in March, the torturous part of it was that in the end, we ran past the finish line half a block away on our right, but then had to continue running around a giant city block in order to reach it. The block was an open field, so we could see the finish line the whole time, but still weren't there. When I finally got to that last 1/2 block, I had intended to give a last burst of energy to knock off a few seconds. But, whether it was the fact that I saw I had run much faster than anticipated, or the fact that I just had nothing left, I slugged my way to the end.

That's about how I feel right now with homeschool. We have just three weeks left (technically we should have four if we're trying to do a 36 week year) before the movers come and take us to another country. I decided that trying to do anything that week or thereafter would be akin to trying to swim upstream.

What's making it difficult to continue is that a) the kids are well ahead of where they "should" be for their grade levels in most subjects, and b) I'm just kind of tired of this, and so are they. We are basically finished with our history book except that we kept out the chapters on China so we could have a China unit before we move there. We've come to the point in our Bible reading where the Acts of the Apostles are just a little boring for a 7 and 9 year old. I just decided that I don't like the language arts we've been doing and picked up a new curriculum (I know - three weeks out, what am I thinking?!?) but don't want to dive in yet. Piano needs some time to simmer. Can you see why I'm slowing down?

It's probably a good thing, given that the next few weeks will be crazy with doing last minute things, but I had hoped to finish well, not just stumble over the finish line. But so it goes.

Monday, April 6, 2009

You just never know . . .

When it comes to curriculum, most of the time it feels like a shot in the dark. I'm always surprised by what connects for my kids and what doesn't. But when I come across something that does, it's such a joy to watch them light up and take off.

This week, it was Megan. I found this story starters page on Scholastic, and showed it to the kids. Ethan basically shrugged and walked away, but Megan sat down and had me type out a two page story about hamsters who climb Mount Everest. Then she wrote a letter to a friend about a stinky cowboy who sings. Today, she couldn't wait for homeschool to get over so she could do more. She wrote four stories on her own!

I've been trying to get the kids to write stories all year. They're ok with it, but never has one of them jumped on it like this. You just never know what's going to catch their interest.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Different Skill Set

My kids couldn't swing on their own until they were about 6 years old. I think that's probably later than usual, but in their defense, they didn't have much exposure to swings until that time. Asia, particularly China, is relatively swingless.

On the other hand, our kids are fairly adept at using chopsticks, they could swim like fish at an early age, and they can navigate airport security and customs without assistance. Overseas living develops a different skill set.

So I just finished yet another (and I think finally successful!) lesson in "How to Tie Our Shoes." It's hard to believe that kids who are 9 and almost 7 don't know how to tie their shoes, but consider this: aside from the annoying habit of shoe companies making shoes with velcro almost exclusively, our kids have spent the last five years in a country where only sandals are required. On top of that, they are homeschooled. They are barefoot most of the day.

Our two months spent in the States last winter, finally wearing something other than sandals with consistency, convinced me that it's been long enough. It's just in time too, since we will shortly be moving back to China, where there is more shoe variety.