Monthly Archives: November 2013

Mama Never Told Me There’d be Days Like These

The days the Boy and I have together vary wildly.  There are days of high productivity and intense learning experiences.  There are days of fun and excitement.  And there are days of grueling boredom, apathy, and unfocused minds.

Some mornings, after dragging the boy from bed, he is entirely unable to focus.  A small set of math problems takes him two hours and numerous and lengthy bathroom runs, while I know there are no dietary or digestive issues.  Reading a book consists of flipping pages and claiming he read the whole thing.  Playing trombone is 30 minutes of putting it together, adjusting it and squinting at the music, until i tell him how much I really want to hear him play.

Then there are days when daddy skips the morning workout and immediately starts imagining what it will be like to go back to bed for the next 48 hours.  On these days, the easy path is taken.  A handful of math problems I know he can do in his sleep; having him read aloud to me to work on enunciation; maybe a trip to a park where he can swing and I can half doze with a cooling cup of coffee in my hand.

And then there are days like today.  After a lovely breakfast with the boy, we loaded up to take care of some of my friends critters.  AB and JR are out of town for two weeks, and the Boy loves watching their three cats, two rabbits and two guinea pigs.  Also, they have a wide variety of Calvin and Hobbes books as well as a collection of SciFi and Theatre books.

After a good forty-five minutes there, playing with the animals and reading, we headed to the library, with a plan.  There were some books due, and we wanted to get out some new things.  A chapter book of his choosing, a book on composers and then anything else he liked.  Usually I find something as well.

The boy is working on searching.  The first time I told him to find a book on a certain topic, he just looked up and down the shelves at random.  Now he uses the computer (I miss card catalogs) and will politely and clearly ask the librarian for assistance.  And we do love the librarians!

On the way home, we pulled over to say hi to another home schooled friend we saw.  This evolved into a conversation about personal space.  When the object of your affection is pulling away from your firm embrace, you may need to take a step back, and not say that next time you are going to kiss her.

Then home again for math and trombone, both at this point done with utmost attention and perseverance.  After lunch, we headed up to the basketball court – we couldn’t stay in on such a gorgeous and unusually warm autumn day – where he beat me, legitimately, at HORSE and we discussed the meaning and thoughts on Thanksgiving.  He has a head for the dates, but a spotty idea of the reasons.  Something about Pilgrims and Indians sitting around eating turkey…which I guess is what we all learned in school.  Only later we would we get some of the more gory details.

We wrapped up this idyllic day sitting on the couch reading, he from a book on careers for people who love nature and animals, I with nothing quite as ambitious.  And then the Boy was off to play with his BFF.

So what did Dad learn from this?  Not much, really.  Tomorrow could be a marathon day of frustration over math, prodding him to practice, or searching for the cup of caffeine that will actually jump start the neurons.  But today, and days like this, we embrace the joy we have with each other.Image

Alright, kid, what do you think?

This morning, I asked the boy how he was feeling about homeschooling.  Like many kids, he can remain tight lipped about most things grown ups consider important, but go into an awe-inspiring monologue about his latest fascinations; The show TOTAL DRAMA and the game MINECRAFT.

This morning I got wonderful honesty from him.  He started by saying he loved having me as a teacher.  Imagine me as a puddle on the floor now.  Then he followed up by the unexpected statement, I miss seeing people everyday.

Uh-oh, a homeschool parent’s red flag (Or maybe just mine).  The constant warning from people – that is, those who do not home school-  was about socializing.  Where will he make his friends?  Will he have enough contact with other people?  Who will he play with? (With whom will he play, I should say, since I am also trying to get him to grammar good.)

I reassuringly told him no problem, we can rectify that, while internally, I turmoil-ed.  I knew that, as close as I am with my Boy, he needs to play with kids his own age, or thereabouts.  So I paused to think about the past week.  On Wednesday he met one of his new friends at a park, then his best friend from down the street came up and they played before going to karate.  Then Thursday was our weekly trip to a home-school co-op, which was unusually quiet that day followed by band practice.  Friday and Saturday was mostly hanging out with just me.This week, in addition to two field trips, he will go to the park again with yet another home school group.

I see this kid who doesn’t complain and doesn’t ask for much.  When he is with other kids, I see more parallel play than interactive play.  At school, even at the private school, he was often off in his own world.  But apparently, proximity matters.  Even when not actively engaged with other children, the boy likes their company, he craves it.

So now daddy has to strap on his big boy pants and transition to finding more social opportunities for him.  While I hardly think he is deprived socially, a few more close friends couldn’t hurt.  It’s nice to have people around…sometimes.

The Boy and LW on a hike

The Boy and LW on a hike

Hiking and biking are kind of the same thing, right?

Hiking and biking are kind of the same thing, right?