We have two weeks of school left.
Usually by this time, I would already have summer reading lists compiled and printed off for the children. In my defense, I have at least talked to my son about what I want to do.
I plan to simply keep school going with our youngest daughter. When I reflect upon her school year, there is too much low-hanging fruit for me to feel comfortable about a clear, seamless transition into third grade. As one example, I still think she needs to “seal in” the concept of borrowing when subtraction. Once she completes the first problem, she fine. Yet, almost every day, I have to remnd her that, if the larger number is below the smaller number, you cannot simply reverse the numbers, i.e., 7 – 9 is not the same as 9 – 7. I have to remind her all too often that since you are borrowing 10, it is as easy as placing a 1 in front of the number that you are adding to (as I write it, I realize that I sound equally confused!) With the text having introduced borrowing from the tens’ columns and the hundreds’ column, she also sometimes forgets which column to borrow from. Finally, there are also days when she’s very distracted and starts adding some numbers and subtracting others. GEEEESH! So the summer will give us an opportunity to slow down and gain confidence in this area.
We’ll also continue handwriting. This week, she accomplished the difficult cursive “S,” and so she can now write her full name in cursive. I intentionally delayed teaching cursive to give her more of a chance to gain confidence with a pencil and to work on the right direction for the “ball” of the letter “b” or “d,” or which way to turn a “j”–challenging lessons that all little ones must tackle.
What’s stopping me from bringing my “A” game? Three things.
1) the heat. Spring is my absolute favorite time of year. It’s when I crave the outdoors, the cool morning breeze that begs you to be out and about in the garden. However, this year, we had no spring. We went from winter to summer, and at a time when many in this country are experiencing flooding, we have not seen rain in weeks. All our flowers and grass popped up, and just as quickly, it dried out and died. Now I find myself in a bit of a funk after not seeing a hibiscus bloom after a fresh rain, or seeing my mimosa blossoms shrivel almost immediately after blooming.
2) the busy schedule. In four weekends, I have had to prepare, as a parent prepares (given that I’m not the one actually performing), for a science competition, two dance competitions, and a prom. Most Sunday nights I have crawled into bed, and most Monday mornings I wake up behind. Hence, nothing that is outside of the norm do I accomplish without Herculean effort. Searching book lists, reviews, descriptions, etc., has simply been more than I can do right now, especially with my laptop dying a slow death ( and consequently, the kids standing over me in line while I attempt to check off a few to-dos on the family desktop).
3) the life-changing decision to allow our oldest to enter college early–at least as a part-time student. The state of Texas has a wonderful partnership between community colleges and high schools, including high school homeschools. With the dual credit initiative, a high schooler can complete college courses at a greatly reduced rate (like less than $200), receiving college credit and high school credit. Most Texas 4-year colleges and universities readily accept these credits, saving parents bundles in higher education costs. Many homeschooling parents actually enroll their children at junior college as Associates degree candidates, and then send them off to 4-year universities as degreed students for their final two years. We went to all the meetings and thought well in advance about what a wonderful benefit this would be to both the oldest, and to us. It all sounded great–that is, until now, when it is all about 3 weeks from happening. Now I’m feeling as I felt when we packed her up at 3 years old and sent her off to private school, only worse. Back then, I was convinced that we were giving her an early start on the best education money could buy; now I know that we’ve got the best education love can afford right here at home. I’m struggling with her possibly learning history from another perspective rather than it being His story. I’m struggling with the people with whom she might come in contact. I’m struggling with all the plans I had that will probably not happen with her before she goes farther away to school in a couple of years. How did this moment get here so fast?
Having said all of that, I am also rejoicing. In spite of my angst, I know this is a great opportunity for her, and I’m proud of her for stepping up to this challenge. I’m proud of me and the realization that I had a little something to do with getting her here (not to take away from my husband or the Lord). Most of all, I’m thankful that the Lord loves this mother hen (as my husband describes me) enough to allow me to gradually, lovingly, lose control. Not that I’m misled into thinking that I had control anyway, but now, as these four walls become increasingly inadequate to protect her from what she’ll encounter, I’m glad she is His.
P.S. We finally got a bit of rain today. Guess I’d better get busy.