The School Year Begins
I’ve had some fun being a homeschooling parent. It’s been a challenge, but I was helped out by family and friends who offered up websites, advice and often derisive laughter. However, I am super glad that the teachers have voted to go back to work. I can’t say the Oldest is happy about it. He said he learned more with me in one week than he did in 7 years at school. While I doubt his claim, I’m I little concerned about what he learned.
Here’s what I fear will happen when he actually goes back to school…
Teacher: So, this year we’ll be discussing ancient Egypt, the pyramids and the sphinx. Does anyone know anything about these subjects?
The Oldest shoots his hand up.
“Joe said in Civilization V, which I tried to play but didn’t really understand it, that the Egyptians are good at chariots and building wonders and were ruled by ferrets.”
“Yeah, that was it. And the Egyptians could draw but they liked a particular style for all their drawings. Like cartoons.”
“Yeah, and there’s a super secret hidden chamber that’s beneath the sphinx and no one knows what’s in it, but the sphinx was made during an earlier civilization and the pyramids were built by aliens so that they could co-ordinate the hive mind to control all us humans.”
“Joe says the aliens will come back one day.”
“Right, yeah, ok, well then, we’ll also be tackling math later in the day.”
The Oldest shoots up his hand.
“Joe says math was designed by the Nazis to torture people.”
“He also said that the Nazis used science to do bad things to people so therefore science is bad. I’m supposed to ignore science.”
“Yup. Joe says I can learn all I need to know by playing Minecraft.”
Teacher hangs his head. “Ok, just who is this Joe person?”
Ok, it won’t be that bad.
But it’s funny what you find on the internet when you search pyramids. However, we eventually found a cool National Geographic video to watch, but we also looked at the whole alien thing. As for the sphinx, he did an amazing drawing of it and read the latest research which does seem to indicate it was carved by an earlier civilization. How cool is that?
I think part of the learning process has to be fun. So I tried to tie it all in to his life. What can you learn from minecraft? How can you find your way home on a phone? What are the practical applications of math (like hanging a shelf in the middle of a wall)? What makes the book you’re reading good (or bad)?
But the biggest surprise was learning that typing is not being taught to younger kids. I’m not sure when it starts, but my advice would be start earlier. Kids these days are on phones, laptops, tablets and all sorts of electronic-ie things… and they are typing. With one finger. Sometimes two. It’s hard to break a bad habit and if you asked the Oldest what he hated the most, he would say, without a doubt and without equivocation, it was typing. It was hard to relearn them-there fingers. It was hard to set up new muscle memories. It was hard to use ALL of your fingers.
He did well on all the tests I gave him, though, even looking up his mistakes and hopefully retaining a thing or two. Or sure he can tell you the best way to attack an archer tower in Clash of Clans, but if he can remember what assonance is, that would be a huge win.
Either way, he’s back to school today. I hope he can find a way to make some of the learning fun. I know the teachers will be doing their best.
Hey, thanks to all the new people who’ve decided to follow me and thanks to all my old followers for sticking with me. As always, if you like the blog, please share on FB or Twitter or WordPress or print it out, make a paper airplane of it and throw it into someone’s eye.
Love your humor Joe! We home schooled our three children for a couple of years on a sailboat in the Mediterranean over a decade ago now. Lots of fun and lots of learning! Although back then we had zero access to the internet, we took advantage of going to real aqueducts and see real Roman tools, etc. As parents though, we were glad to get back on solid ground and have our children back into the school system. Being both school teacher and parent is challenging. It is amazing what our children remember from those times though. You may be surprised in years to come too!
great senses of humour. I think your son has a few things right about what he’s learned from you compared to teachers. I realize they don’t have a small captive ‘audience’ but still, I think there is a bit too much standardization and monotony in their methodology. Wishing everyone successful growth.
It was a pleasure to find your blog and read this entry