Monday, January 31, 2005

Today was our very first homeschooling day. We dropped off W at preschool and went to the supermarket. After that, we went out for breakfast as sort of a mini celebration. I let her watch tv at home while I cleaned. I figured she could just relax and veg-out the first day. At about 10:30am she shut the tv and printed out 3 worksheets from the computer on the solar system. She did all 3 sheets with help from a picture in an atlas. She was eager for me to check her work. We had to pick up W from school so I checked it and we talked about it on the way. When we were home, the kids had a few snacks and J found K's old "4th Grade in Review" workbook and did 10 Language Arts pages in a row - all correctly. I checked each page and she insisted I do it the "school way" with checks, Xs, and a grade at the top. She actually enjoyed doing that work. I didn't expect her to want to start "working" so soon. She definitely equates learning with school. I would like to get her out of that mindset and see her learning for the love of it.

We'll get there.


Saturday, January 29, 2005

J had dance again today. I called one of the dance moms to ask a question about what to bring and she said her dd told her about J being homeschooled. (J's obviously very excited about this and is telling everyone). I was sort of dreading having to explain why (I always seem to make it so long and complicated), but she just said her hat was off to me and that she's sure I know what's best for J. I'd count her as another supportive person. It's strange, homeschooling families are very few and far between in NYC (I have yet to meet another one!) and folks here usually have strong opinions. I am so surprised that every reaction I've received so far has been positive.

Anyway, at dance they spent most of the time fixing up their costumes for next month's competitions. It's going to be great, I can't wait! After that I dropped off J at home and K and I went out together. I want to make an effort to get some more one-on-one time with her. She's very cool to hang with and we always have fun when we're out together. I am doing mystery shopping this week and with K's help knocked out 6 stores today. We ended the night at the huge Barnes and Noble bookstore at their Starbucks cafe with decaf lattes and brownies. I bought "Homeschooling for Dummies" and "The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas" for me, and some books for the kids. I love bookstores.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Um, Wow, this is J's last day of school. I can't believe we are actually at this point already. Her teacher spoke to her yesterday about homeschooling and J assured her this is what she wants. Then Ms. X gave J an awesome NY Museum calendar that has a museum special or attraction for every day of the year. It also has about 30 discount tickets to different museums around NYC. The teacher asked J to write to her often and said the class will write to her, too. I think that's a great idea.

J went in today with about 60 munchkin donuts for the class. She wanted to celebrate her last day. I reminded her to bring home all her stuff and please try not to leave anything there. I feel really emotional today. I guess this change is harder than I anticipated. I'm going to miss everyone I've made friends with and it's going to be weird not having to bring J to school or pick her up (after 4 1/2 years of it). I'm ok, though, and I know J is ok with it, too.

I printed out my letter of intent and B and I both signed it. I'll mail it today (I have 2 weeks to get it mailed). I'm hope I don't cry when I go pick J up today.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Well, I did it. I told J's teacher that Friday is J's last day. I can't believe it. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeew! I feel so good about this. It was bothering me all week. She agreed that J was struggling and that the "top class" might suit her better (I think that's the only school around here that still does tracking). I explained a bit about how it's just the whole idea of structured learning isn't working for J and that 25 other kids is too distracting for her. She was actually great about it. I told her she was the best teacher J has ever had (this is true). She asked about the rules and of course brought up socialization. I told her not to worry.

So I also called the superintendent's office this morning. I needed to know the name of the person to send my letter of intent to. The man I spoke to was so nice and unbelievably supportive. I started explaining about J (why, I don't know - can't help it) and he agreed this might be the best thing for her - and to make sure I was doing this for the right reasons. I could have taken that the wrong way, but I understood his meaning. He said that now I am in charge of her education and agreed that some kids just don't fit into structured learning situations. The letter of intent passes by his desk and he said he'd look out for it. I told him that it'll probably be the only one he will get (haha), and he said, "NO, I RECEIVED FIVE THIS WEEK"!! Can you freakin' believe it?? I can't.

J told all her friends today. One mom even called me to talk about it. She's a teacher in J's school and had concerns, but understood. She will make sure her dd and J continue their friendship.

OMG, 2 more days of school! WOW

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I don't think I'm waiting until March. Today J got 2 tests back. She got a 41 on math and a 58 on Science. The math was timed, which J will not put any effort into. She knows all the math facts, but getting her to do 64 of them in 3 minutes aint happening for her. The Science test was worded weirdly on many questions. One asked to cross out the one circuit that won't work. She did that. She got -10 for not crossing out the other 5 that wouldn't work. J pointed out to me that the question asked for ONE. Other questions were just as frustrating. J is very literal and particular. When the questions are unclear, she probably panics.

The only reason I won't pull her out this week is because she is in the middle of a group project with one other girl. It would be unfair and I don't want J to burn any bridges with her friends. I think the project is due sometime in February, so we might wait until right after that's over. She's ready NOW. I'm ready now, B is ready now (he finally understands), and even my mom says now is the right time. I can see the frustration in J's eyes. She even hates being a Kindergarten monitor now. She wants to quit but they won't let her. I don't know what to do.

Monday, January 24, 2005

I let them all stay home today. There's no way I'm gonna drive 3 kids to 3 different schools on opposite ends of town on icy roads. And it was 9 degrees again this morning.

The plan for today is that it is "Productive Day". This means that the TV is staying off for as long as emotionally possible and the kids have to find productive things to do and get along with each other while doing it. To me, anything is productive as long as the TV is off! This kind of day is only do-able when B goes off to work. Today's blog will be updated every hour or so. Let's see how well we do...

9am-10am W and J are playing with blocks. K is doing a yoga DVD in her room. W and J are now making roadways with the blocks with tunnels and bridges. K found her sketchpad and is drawing some of the snow-covered cars she sees from her window. Temporary break from blocks to dance to "Since You Been Gone" (K. Clarkson) on Radio Disney. K decided she wants to make homemeade pizza for lunch and planned that out with me and the Whole Food Vegetarian Cookbook. K made hot chocolate for J and W. They shared a big mug of it with 2 straws. K felt like cleaning the stovetop (?). W and J used the aforesaid straws to blow spitballs at me and K.
10am-11am - K is still cleaning stovetop (??). W and J put away all the blocks and cars and are now doing the beginner Tae-Bo tape (doesn't count as TV). K is getting bored. W went inside to practice Chopsticks on the keyboard (he's so determined to learn it!). J is still doing Tae-Bo. K is trying new haristyles, has the radio on quietly, and now just went in to help W. I read half of "Toy Story" to W. J and K are READING together!!!! J is reading "Chicken Soup for the Kids Soul" and K is reading more of the "Whole Food Cookbook". Now W went inside with them to read. K started on the pizza dough. W went back to play on the keyboard. J registered her Luv Cub online and browsed around the PBS Kids website - Reading Rainbow, which means books!
11am-12pm - W and I did laundry together. J scooped snow from her windowsill into a bowl to eat with W (kinda yucko, but hey). K ran across the street to MIL's house to "borrow" a can of tomatoes for the pizza. W and J looked for places on the globe then rolled the globe back and forth to each other. J played on the keyboard. J played with her baby dolls. W joined in. K grated mozzarella cheese. W played "Letter Factory" on Leapster. J played "Alice in Wonderland" on Gameboy. K started on the pizza sauce (from scratch!).
12pm-1pm - J continued playing Gameboy. W went on Disney.com and played a few animal games. K finished putting together the pizza and put it in the oven. I started another load of laundry and scrubbed the bathroom. J cleaned the toilet (???) and is now Windexing the mirrors with W. K is playing Gameboy. We all helped put together a big Fisher Price Imaginext pirate ship W got for Christmas.
1pm-2pm - We finished the pirate ship and then sat down to eat K's awesome pizza! K and J went into K's room to listen to music. W and I played pirate ship on the dining room table.
2pm-3pm - K and J put makeup on each other. W and I did some of an old Kindergarten workbook. He traced As and Bs and learned how to do a word-search puzzle. K went on the American Girl website and played Picture Pieces. I started a 3rd load of laundry and put away the first one. K and I started putting together the other Imaginext toy of W's (Dragon Castle). I found the instruction sheet online (B attempted to put this together a few weeks ago and gave up, and lost the instructions). W played with the little medieval men. J is tired and laying down.
3pm-4pm - I finished putting together the dragon castle for W. That was really hard. J and K both resting in bed for about 15 minutes and now K is teaching J how to knit. (K learned from MIL last year).
4:20pm - Ok, I cracked under pressure. The TV went on. 10 minutes later, no one was watching it! LOL! I swear they only like it on for the background noise. Hey, not a bad day for not being able to go outside. I learned a lot today. Now J is playing with the dragon castle, K is on the phone with her friend, and W fell asleep. MIL made soup for us (yay!) so I'm picking that up in an hour or so. B is working late all week but is off on Thursday for a doctor appt. It's back to the old grind tomorrow. I'm off to go play Rummikub with J and K now.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Lotsa snow out there! Unfortunately, all the public schools are open tomorrow. The kids had fun making snow forts and rolling around in deep snow. I videotaped them like I promised. Soup and hot chocolate was waiting for them when they got in.

I had another rough time getting J to complete her homework for tomorrow. I try leaving the responsibility up to her, but when it starts getting late I get anxious about it. She, on the other hand, still couldn't care less about it. So, she did her page of penmanship and a 2-sided worksheet on an article from National Geographic Explorer. I read the article to her, since her reading comprehension isn't so great lately. She still couldn't remember a thing I read. She read me the first question on the sheet and gave me a huge blank stare. So, of course, I spent 15 minutes recapping the article and indirectly guiding her toward the answer until she finally got it. I hate doing that. I know if it was something she wanted to do she would've had it memorized after one reading.

I think she's having a geometry test tomorrow (which will most likely be cancelled since probably half the class and maybe even the teacher won't be able to get to school). We'll study a bit in the morning. Geometry is something that really clicks with J. She enjoys it and picks it up quickly. She did some more of that typing tutorial today as well as other CD roms she likes. She balked at my suggestion to do some independent reading, though. I don't know if I can wait until March to pull her out of school. She's part of a group project on the languages of Italy that's due in February and I have to let her do that or it would be unfair to her partner. Science fair is coming up too. She's doing one about bread mold. K will most likely do the same project since she's in a different school. It's easier to have only one experiment going on and they can chart their own observations and create their own different displays.

I'm really getting my home cleaned and organized lately! I am trying so hard to prove to myself and my family that I can do it. That is one of their biggest concerns with my homeschooling J - that my home is too cluttered and disorganized. Ok, so it's true. But, when I set my mind to something, it gets done. Many garbage and recycle bags later, it is looking pretty darn good around here!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

J has had so much dance rehearsal lately. It's averaging at least 4 hours a week. She loves it and wishes she could go every day. They have 2 competitions next month. She always practices in the apartment, too. I have to remind her not to thump the floor so loudly.

I talked about homeschooling again with her yesterday. She is excited to begin and the only worry she has is missing her school friends. She says it's like she's moving away or something. I feel sad about that as well. She does plan on maintaining the close friendships she's made, though.

I'm still having a hard time figuring out what to say to the teacher in March. I don't really want to say that we're going to homeschool. I am going to be put on the spot and I know there's nothing I can say to a well-seasoned public school teacher that's going to sound right. She's probably going to try and talk me out of it, telling me what a bad idea that is. I don't want to lie, though. I guess I'll keep is as brief as possible and be on my merry way. I'm not looking forward to that.

K was at a sleepover last night. J went to dance early today with B and W. B then picked up K, went food shopping, and drove home with all 3 kids in this ridiculous snow storm. We're supposed to get almost 2 feet of snow by tomorrow afternoon! That puts this storm in the top 5 worst storms NYC has ever had. Tomorrow all of us will go out and play in it! I'm bringing the video camera! I don't care what anyone says. I love big snow storms.

I really hope school is closed Monday.

Friday, January 21, 2005

I'm all set now with mid-March to start homeschooling J. I cannot wait. This is so freakin' exciting! I'm almost positive she will regain that love of learning and get her spark back. I feel as prepared as I ever will.

I called MIL to tell her today! I just had to get it over with. I explained everything to her and finally she just said, "I trust your judgement". WOW! She had a few questions, but I feel she is definitely supportive. She never knew I was worried about J for so many years. I told her I have done my research and feel this is the best thing for her. I am so happy to have MIL on my side with this. Well, she knows I always explore EVERY option available and never just blindly conform to the norm. I was the only one in both our families to breastfeed my kids, use cloth diapers, and keep junk food out of my house. I think she's used to my "odd ways" by now. LOL!

J felt sick again this morning (stomach troubles), but she went to school anyway. I said she can come home if she feels sick during the day. I hope she's not under any stress. I don't know if she would be able to tell me what's wrong. A lot of stress is subconscious and it would be up to me to figure it out. Maybe I'll have a talk with her later and see what I can find out.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I dropped all 3 kids off to school today. B usually walks K to school and then goes a few more blocks to the subway to go to work, but since it was NINE degrees out this morning I drove her. We live too close to the school for her to qualify for a school bus. J felt better this morning. She remember that an outline for her Science Fair project was due today so she was on the computer at 7:30am. She also has a Science test today that she didn't study for. She never brought the books home last Friday. Oh well, not gonna stress. Since J is in a gifted program that is not in one of our zoned schools, she does qualify for the school bus. But, she is dead-set against that idea. Every time I mentioned it she looked at me like I was the worst mother in the world.

We might be able to actually attend some of our local HS group's get-togethers in the spring. They have scheduled trips to the Children's Museum, the Hall of Science, the Botanical Garden, and the Bronx Zoo. J's been to all those places already, but I think she will gain a new perspective going with HS families. I have so many ideas in mind, too. Manhattan is so full of places to go and I plan on hitting as many as I can! It's amazing how I've lived here all my life and only in my adulthood have I done any of the tourist-y stuff. I want the kids to experience a lot of it while their young. K has seen a few Broadway shows: Beauty and the Beast, Lion King and Movin' Out. We've been to the big Natural History museum and Central Park, and the American Girl store. We've seen several shows at Radio City Music Hall. Actually, J danced there and at Madison Square Garden last year!!

During the Christmas vacation, I took all 3 kids on the subway (I was nervous about that for a long time - I always drove in-, but realize it's not bad at all) to visit my mom's work. She works in the beautiful new Time Warner building in Columbus Circle right next to Central Park. There's a cute mall that goes up to the third floor of that building with stores like Williams Sonoma, Bose, and Coach. We all walked over to Rockefeller Plaza where the big Christmas tree was and watched the ice skaters a while. It was definitely tourist season alright. You could barely walk down the streets. It reminded me of changing classes in high school. LOL.

I think J is in store for many wonderful things.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

J is home from school today. At 7:15 this morning I went in to wake her up and she complained of a stomach ache. I thought she was just making an excuse not to go to school, but then she proceded to puke over her bedrail from the top bunk. She has missed a lot of school this quarter. She had perfect attendance first quarter (even got a certificate for it). Now it seems she's out once a week. She did do all her homework last night and the online test (she took one in school on Friday so she had only one to do). This school year with her seems so surreal. Like we're just going through the motions or something. I mean she has NO interest in the schoolwork at all. I don't either. I have decided that after the March parent-teacher conference she is done with school. I can't let her go until June and let her see a final report card that states she didn't make it to the next GT grade. She might feel like a failure and it'll be hard for me to get her to understand that it's just not her fault. Jeez, all this pressure at 8 years old!!

I ran these thoughts past my mom this morning and unbelievably she was in total agreement with it. B is supportive, but has "reservations", he says. We talked about it again last night and his reservations are slowly disappearing, thank goodness. I mean, as long as I have support from B and mom, I'm good to go. My good friend M, finally supports this idea, too. She has been the sounding board for my complaints about J's schooling since J started PreK 4 years ago. It's vital to have support from key people in my life. Wow, this is starting to become real. My 2 biggest homeschooling fears are: 1. J will learn nothing, be miserable, and hate me for the rest of her life. and 2. Everyone I come in contact with will think I'm an asshole for taking her out of school and roll their eyes and shake their heads at me - and behind my back. Ok, so I guess I need some more encouragement and I have to arm myself with what I'll say to anyone who questions me. I am strong!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Snow

It snowed last night. A whole inch! So of course the first thing this morning the kids are begging to go outside and play in it. After breakfast they got dressed in full snowsuited regalia and B took them out. B is good like that. I am still sitting here in pjs and having coffee (lovingly brought to me by B). Most of that whole entire inch of snow was shoveled away already, but that's not stopping my kids! J even dressed her Bitty Twins in their snowsuits and brought them out. It snows once every few weeks in the winter here in NYC. Every fourth or fifth snowfall is big enough for the kids to really play in or the adults to complain about.

I started a Word document where I'm writing down every academic thing J does on her own. I figure I better start getting used to it since NY rules require things like a letter of intent, IHIP, quarterly reports, etc. I love keeping logs, though, so I was having fun. This weekend she spent a good amount of time on a foreign language CD-Rom and a beginner typing one. Last night she found a 3/4 grade Language arts workbook lying around (probably bought as summer bridge work for K a few years ago. It was completely unused, lol). She did 3 pages - on common, proper, and possessive nouns. She showed me when she was done and was really proud of herself. Now I'm sure the rest of the day will be spent forcing her to do the tons of homework she got this weekend and take 2 assigned online tests. Sigh.


Saturday, January 15, 2005

I just read a great quote in Lisa Rivero's book, "Creative Home Schooling for Gifted Children". It read, "For children who have been labeled underachievers, self-directed learning may be a critical component of rekindling a love of learning." I love that. That's exactly what I wanted to read. J is surely an underachiever - in school.

This morning I found an elementary school CD-Rom about teaching languages. I put it in to check it out and J came right over to me, sat on my lap, and proceded to do all 3 levels of the Spanish section and 2 of the German section. She loved it and was having a ball. No one can tell me J can't focus or pay attention.

She's at dance now. They have a competition next month. She has been in dance 5 years and takes tap, jazz (hip-hop), and ballet. We stumbled upon this dancing school by accident, as we were looking for something closer than her old school and with "do-able" hours. She qualified for the competition team and what's great about it is that they will be dancing every year together on the same team. There are only 9 of them in her age group which is pretty cool. With tuition, costumes, fees, team gear, etc., it gets pretty costly, but I would never take this away from her. K is taking healthy cooking classes every Wednesday afternoon (1.5 hrs). It is so hard to find something K likes. She has done dance, karate, gymnastics, acting lessons, and now cooking. She never wants to continue another year with anything. She loves drama and will most likely be a part of her school play agian this year. She also takes violin and piano during school. W just has preschool every day. That costs us over $200 per month. Since his school doesn't have free preK, we will be paying over $300 next year (full-time 8:30-2:30) . When he's in (free!) Kindergarten he can join an activity if he likes. Little league, soccer, basketball, etc., starts at 5-yrs old anyway around here.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

I have been doing tons of research on homeschooling. I joined email groups and bulletin boards and I'm reading several books on the subject. All of it looks amazingly positive for J. Mom thinks it's great but worries about how the other 2 kids will react when they know J is going on lots of field trips and getting to be with me all day. K told me she would never want to homeschool and I believe she has the kind of personality that fits school. She is very happy and her teachers are happy with her. In the case of W, I don't know yet. He will be 4 in 2 months and is in preschool. So far, he is doing well and has been pegged as the smartest boy in the class. He enjoys school and except for some minor behavioral problems is doing great.

The local HS group has some wonderful trips and get-togethers planned. Although we cannot participate as of yet because J is still in school, it's good to get a sense of what they do. I am also reading a few blogs from families who are homeschooling - and one even in my city. I never knew how much there was to do in my town!

I wish I can get rid of my lingering doubts about this decision. I don't want J to resent me in the future for removing her from her friends and "fun". I dont' want the kids to compare each other in a negative way. I don't want J to "miss out" on things like dances, student council, and learning an instrument for free...and recognition for achievements - whether it be certificates, scholarships, even gold stars. I know she'll get such a better education when it's self directed and based on her own interests and drive. I know she isn't going to make it into the next GT grade and going back to mainstream classes will be disasterous for her. She picks up bad attitiudes, acts out when made to do busy work, and shuts down when slower learner are given the most attention (and she has to tutor them during class - God, I HATE that!!). Being as smart as she is, she will once again feel isolated and will probably be in an accelerated pull-out which adds to the already too many transitions from 1 subject to another. The local public school is mainly hispanic and has many ESL learners which will put her academically even more ahead. These schools do not separate advanced learners - they combine all levels in one class - and this all is just not a good idea for J.

My decision is actually getting easier and easier. I need to trust myself more. I need to declutter and organize my home. I need to get myself on more of a schedule with daily activities. If I do what I'm supposed to do, I know J will excel at homeschooling. It's so hard to see her in this GTprogram every day knowing she couldn't care less about the work, knowing they push these kids terribly, and knowing there's so much more for her in store.

Monday, January 10, 2005

J and K took a "mental health day" on Friday so neither of them went to school. K is going through normal preteen angst, fretting about everything from her friends to her weight. J had a headache when she woke up. She has been going to bed 2 hours later than usual these past weeks and I don't know why. This makes her have a terrible time getting up in the morning. The teacher gave them a TON of homework this weekend, too. I got it from another mom. I was a bit annoyed that this teacher feels that smart/gifted=more work. J had absolutely no interest in doing it. She did the 4 pages of math, but that's it. She also had to read TFK and do a 2 sided worksheet, write a summary of the book she's reading using the 5 points, and do a page of cursive writing. I just noticed she left her math sheets home today. Sigh.

I was perusing around the homeschooling websites and keep on seeing how great the Singapore math books are. I went to the Singapore website and went through some "placement" math problems with her. She can do many basic problems in her head, which is great. I showed her things like like adding fractions and stuff about angles that she picked right up and wanted to do more of. We did a few different levels and then at 10 I sent her off to bed. She came back to my lap at the computer 5 minutes later and said she wanted to do more math. This was amazing to me. I love that she still has a bit of a spark left in loving learning.

I gave some higher level placement problems to K who knew a lot more than I thought she did and she really enjoyed working problems out on paper. School is a great fit for K. She has kept her love of learning and really retains what is learned and is able to use that knowledge in different situations outside of school. This sounds logical, but it's something I never could do well (and neither did my mom or sister). I feel J takes after my side of the family when it comes to feeling that school was total waste of time that we all ended up hating. Mom was an underachiever in school, but had a highly gifted level IQ. My sister and I were both in advanced classes, but niether one of us can look back fondly on school. WHY IS THAT????

I don't want J ending up miserable and falling into the wrong crowd by high school. She's already forming exclusive cliques, talking on the phone all day, and acting like a wise-ass to her family. She has mentioned several times that she really wants to be homeschooled and I know I should just do it, but I need to research and wait a little longer before making such a huge, life-altering decision. I wish it were easier, but it's not.

W has a wonderful love of learning that I see every day. This weekend he came to me wanting to "do words". This is his favorite game. We sit at the computer, open a blank Word document, and either I type a word and he sounds it out, or I give him a word and he types it. It's so much fun for him and gives him a great sense of accomplishment. He can sound out and type many 2 and 3 letter words now. I also have BOB books that are a series of stories using mainly 3 letter words. He enjoys it but gets bored with it after a few minutes. His new favorite thing is Leapster. He has already learned so much from that. As far as his schooling is concerned, he's currently happy in preschool. I would never take him out of school unless he has any type of problem, but I can see he is more like K and I predict he will excel at school like she does.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Oy Vey, These Freakin' Online Tests

Ok, J took 2 more (teacher assigned) online tests today. The reading test went ok. I just have to keep reminding her NOT to GUESS the answer and to look in the passage for it. She got 100% on that - with my constant reminders. Now, I did not give her any answers in any way and I saw she does great when taking the test at home. The math test on the other hand was probably the most agonizing thing I went through. It was the UNNECESSARY mistakes that drove me up the damn wall. One question asked how many minutes Johnny practiced the flute. So J follows the bar on the graph for the clarinet to find the answer. Then she misread several questions about money and a couple of word problems. I had to keep saying, Read It Again. My main concern is that she knows how to do the math but never seems to understand the question or read it correctly. How do I help her with this? She ended up with a 97% on the math - but I feel it was because I made her read the questions over and over again until she understood it. I even had to explain what they were asking a few times. No wonder she can't get higher than a 75% when she has to take these online tests in school. There's really no time to go back and check your answers - even though it's suggested - and I know she's way more distracted at school.

I am trying my best with her to keep her in this program. It really is an excellent program. It's not very difficult for her and the workload is very reasonable for an 8 year old. I just wish she had a little more interest. She really doesn't care much about doing the work. My mom said she was the same exact way and hated school from the beginning - to the point of puking in the street every morning. Mom's mom was a bit of a dim bulb and it would never occur to her to look into Mom's "problem". I, on the other hand, am making a point to get to the root of J's troubles and FIX THEM. I know I said I wasn't going to stress about her schoolwork or this program anymore - but it's hard not to want to see J succeed when I know she could excel if she actually gave a shit about it. She's so smart and capable of anything when she puts her mind to it. I'm actually pretty comfortable with the idea of homeschooling - except when it comes to telling other people about it. I haven't said anything to anyone about this idea, except for my husband, mom, and sister. All are very supportive of it and believe J would benefit greatly from it. So, what's with the doubts in my mind??

Ok, well I can't help what bothers me. I think I need to accept the fact that J might not be a good "fit" for this program, or any school so far. It's becoming clearer and clearer as the days go by. I am giving this a fair chance though, and I am going to wait until we just cannot go on anymore. J really does want to be homeschooled, though. She mentioned it again today in the car. She likes the whole idea of it - even the not-watching-tv part. I know we all would be a lot less stressed and impatient if she was homeschooled. I know that she will turn out amazing and have a better sense of self if she was homeschooled. And I know that she will be a happy, confident, self-directed leader if she was homeschooled. I wish I had the nerve to take her out now.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Vacation's Over

The kids went back to school yesterday after the winter break. K got a 91% on a presentation she made mid-December. W was so happy to go back to school. His friend from Sunday school will be joining his class today. J was happy to go back as well. She forgot to do a couple of things over the break, but it all turned out ok. They needed 3 books from the same series to bring in and she forgot that (of course I am blaming myself since I read that sheet 20 times and still forgot the books). The teacher let her choose books from the back of the room. J chose the "Boxcar Children" series. I don't know if J will like that, but that's what she's stuck with.

I had the usual hard time getting J to do homework yesterday. She finished 4 pages of math in the car waiting for K to come out of school. She does her math fairly quickly. But any writing or reading is such a chore for her. I had to keep reminding her what time it was and how her homework needs to get done (even though I said I was going to leave it all up to her) and still I found her at 7:30 this morning trying to finish things up. This would be fine if we didn't have to leave within 20 minutes! She was supposed to do a persuasive essay and the one she did was horrible so I erased it and had her do it again - with a little help from me. I hate myself for helping as much as I did. I guess I just do whatever it takes to get it done when I'm rushed in the morning. In the car we went over more times tables.

I told her that from now on, she is to come home from school (we're all home at 3:50pm), have a snack, and by 4:30 she is to go to her room and start the homework - with no breaks. If she takes a break, forget it - she'll never get back into it. This way she's done (hopefully) before dinnertime and has the rest of the evening to relax (or study for a test). I hear other moms say their kids take over 3 hours doing homework and usually have to finish up in the morning. Well, J takes an hour at most to do it all - unless she gets distracted and dilly-dallies. I think being in her room with no breaks or distractions will work well. She also needs to take another online test today. It was due yesterday, but she refused to do it. I cannot force her to do her work. The more I yell, bribe, or threaten, the more she regresses and refuses. I guess I'm a bit afraid to give her sole reponsiblility in getting her work done. I don't want her having to leave this program because of something that could have been avoided and not because she didn't know the work. Then again, maybe she does need to learn in her own style and not be made to conform to this program's rules and requirements. We're just keepin' on tryin' things until I can figure all of this out.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

More Testing

J took another online test today. This time it was reading. She did amazingly well - getting a 97%. I loved watching the way her thought process worked. She did just as well reading silently as reading aloud, so at least I know that's not a problem. She knew to look back at the paragraph if the choice of answers was unclear and she liked to explain to me why she chose a particular answer. Her explanations were for her own sake, comparing things and finding similarities - which really amused her. I saw that she really does take tests seriously. She does well when able to let her mind go off on a tangent - relating what she just read to what she knows in true in her own life. It was great to see her sense of pride as she figured out each answer and ultimately came up with the correct ones most of the time.

Tomorrow she will do her project, comparing the geography, culture, economy, and history of Japan, S. Korea, Puerto Rico, and her home state. Then she needs to go over multiplication and division facts and finally study all her notes on Japan because the class is having a big test this week. I got her several interesting fiction novels to read over the holiday break, but she has no interest in reading at all. Maybe I'll schedule a reading time together with her sister tomorrow. That works sometimes. She needs to keep a reading log and more often than not, it is left blank. I'm very interested to see what the rest of the school year brings.