So, in case anyone is wondering what we ended up doing, I decided to not put my DS in the private Montessori school we were considering. My husband has reluctantly agreed, probably mostly (or only maybe) because he gets to save some money that way...
After a lot of soul searching, I have come to the realization that a lot of our issues and stresses around homeschooling are quite possibly due to me feeling pressured (again, mostly by my husband) to "get enough done" each day, and not so much because DS isn't willing to do the work, or can't seem to work efficiently or fast enough to "get it all done".
So I have decided that I need to stop worrying, and slow down! I didn't tell my husband about this, but I think what we're trying right now may be pretty close to unschooling actually. My DS and I had a good talk this morning about what changes we can make, and we talked about his likes and dislikes in the way of school work. He loves his cello, doesn't always like to do very serious practice, or rather, he does, but doesn't stay focused for very long, so it can take a very long time. I'm working hard at letting that be ok, and guess what, he actually practice more and harder than he has in a long time, and without me having to bug him to keep focusing. He was practicing his cello and playing with his train set (G scale I think) for probably a total of 4 hours today! I think his time between his train set and his cello was probably equally divided, but that's still a very good amount of cello practice for a newly turned 9 year old! Then he improvised while I was making dinner too, and I really enjoyed listening to him while I was cooking. He decided he wanted to do a couple of pages in his math workbook this morning too.
During the 2 hours I dedicated to spend with him, he asked to go to the library to get some books about things that interest him. He's been asking questions about World War II (he has European heritage from both sides), so we found a children's book about that, and a book about Anne Frank. He also really got involved with a book about planes, their history and all sorts of technical facts about specific models, and I am very impressed not only with how fast he devoured that book this afternoon, but also with how many facts he was able to recite to me after reading it, model numbers and all! I'm not sure what he might ever need that information or knowledge for in his life, but I guess the skill of memorizing is very useful.
He said he wants to learn how to make bread tomorrow - we recently went gluten free and I've been baking bread mostly every day, in the bread maker, so it's actually possible for him to learn how to do that, and in reality, it would be amazing if he could learn how to do that. We have a very busy day tomorrow, with his cello lesson in the morning (45 minutes driving from here) and a play date with his new buddy (a nearly 8 year old homeschooled violin prodigy) after lunch. But maybe after that we'll find the time to make some bread together.
I don't know that we'll do things this way long term, probably not if my husband has any say in the matter, he wants DS to do lots of book work. But for now, I am hoping that relaxing about school will reduce the stress level for both DS and me. We have enough stress going on; I will be having another surgery again in a couple of weeks or so, and this time I will be in the hospital for 3-5 days, which will be very hard on DS.
Thank you to those who responded to my previous message; it helped me realize that putting DS in school, even only temporarily, would not have lessened the stress level, but most likely have increased both of our stress levels. Relaxing and worrying less about it all is not easy for me, but I'm really making a conscious effort, telling myself we'll be ok. He truly doesn't have to finish all the 4th grade book work by the end of the public school year (he would be in 3rd anyway if he were going to public school, according to his age).
Anyway, thanks again. Have a big bowl of ice cream on me if you made it this far!! LOL
Oh, and I forgot to say that we also spoke Flemish for a while, per his request. He's really enjoying his emerging skill of being able to hold simple conversations in Flemish. When I talk to my mom and sister on the phone in Flemish (they live in Belgium), he wants to talk with them too for a bit, and they still try to speak in English to him (which is not easy for either of them), but he answers in Flemish these days, and they're quite impressed.
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