Homeschooling using the buddy system

I never wanted to go it alone.

I knew pretty much from the start that forming friendships, alliances even, with other homeschoolers would be critical to keeping me on this path.

It’s not that I’m weak, I just like the company.

And so, from the first year back in 2006, Krystan* and I agreed to get together once a week. Our oldest girls were little kindergartners then. We were both loosely following the “Letter of the Week” format, and our classes were usually centered around whatever country we were studying that week: B for Brazil or D for Denmark. And Q for Qatar, naturally.

The next year, we launched a plan to do history together using Story of the World. Every week, we’d read the chapter to our own kids and then get together to do one of the activities laid out in the program. We figured we’d start with Book 1 in 1st grade, and keep going year by year, to Book 4.

And, here we are, starting Book 4 in 4th grade! (They should print t-shirts that say “I completed SOTW in four years” but I’m not sure they’d sell enough of them to make any money).

But also this year, we’ve upped the ante a bit. I have agreed to take over History for both my kids and her kids. We read the chapters on our own at home, and then I lead the kids through the discussion, outline, mapwork and other related activities.

But that’s not all: Krystan has agreed to take over Science: Beginner Physics.

My joy knows no bounds.

I really, really do not like science, and I am especially afraid of physics which I avoided in school. Krystan is a nurse which, while I’m not sure this helps with physics, means she is super smaht in science and, thus, much better equipped to take this on than I.

We’ve made it through week one. My kids loved their physics class. Her kids were awesome to me as their teacher.

And I’m thrilled to have a buddy in all of this.

* her name has been changed to protect her identity and also because I don’t want anyone else to snatch her up for her physics prowess

Wordless Wednesday: Face Painting

What happens when Auntie breaks out the face paint one afternoon:




And what happens when she agrees to let the kids paint her face:

(thank goodness she’s a good sport!)

Conditioned for crazy

I recently returned from a week in New Hampshire, sharing a house with good friends we haven’t seen in seven years. We each met each other’s children: my three kids and their one very well behaved, intelligent five year old who I can not imagine ever whispering the word “boobie” and then cackling like an insane person like my own five year old has done, not just at home but at preschool.

We had a great week, despite the clouds and rain that were never far away. The only thing I found curious was that I felt oddly tense that my kids would do something really outrageous that would reveal us to be overly permissive parents whose children not only have bad manners and watch too many cartoons but rarely bathe. So, I made sure the television stayed off–mostly–and didn’t let my son make farting noises on my soft belly, as he loves to do.

I shouldn’t have been worried since our friend’s daughter melded with our kids really well—-leading the chase up and down the stairs, and cheering just as loudly as mine when we were playing “throw the ball from the balcony into the living room and try not to break anything”.

And then one night, my sister and her kids came to visit: my niece and nephew who I not only love to pieces, but am relieved can actually be louder than my children. And, another friend came to visit with her two boys. My “boobie” boy and her six year old son were fast friends, or at least it sure sounded that way.

As I sat on the couch, holding some sort of strawberry drink, surrounded by eight very loud, wound-up children and six adults trying to talk over the din, I realized something:

I was very, very calm.

Good lord, at that moment, I realized that the chaos, the noise and the general thrashing of limbs has become so normal, it fills me with peace.

It feels like home.