Saturday, February 24, 2007


My almost seven year old is still not reading. Is this me? Have I failed him? Am I doing him a disservice by keeping him home? Should I just force him to go to school? Would he adjust?

These feelings are coming from a lot of guilt. I drifted from unschooling about half a year in. I just don't have enough belief in any kind of organic anything to think it works like that. I mean what does organic learning mean? Do we really think that there is some kind of natural something inside of us that just makes us embrace learning styles? I don't think unschooling works for people who believe in social constructionism! I f0und myself just watching Umberto play Star Wars over and over and wondering if becoming a Jedi really was a possible future.

And here we are: $200 worth of curriculum just not being used because I'm lucky if I pull out school work twice a week. I'm so not good at teaching elementary school. I try to come up with creative ideas, and fail miserably. So we end up just not doing much while Umberto plays, and I waste huge amounts of time on the computer because I"m too lazy to install any kind of routine.

Umberto seems totally unbothered by all this. All he really wants to do is play anyway. He's happy if we read to him each day, haul out the art supplies once in awhile, bring him out to play with his friends. But can he really learn anything just playing all the time? And isn't this really all about my lazy ass just not getting it together?

So now I'm wondering if I just need to establish a routine. Argh. Can I even do that? Stay tuned.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Hooked on What?

My lovely, creative son decided he really wanted the Hooked On Phonics set (this one has reading, math, and writing). It's mind numbingly boring for me but he loves it. I wonder if it is because he just wants to read and this seems like a nice logical set of steps for him. I don't know if it is doing any good but he's having a good time.

We are still doing other things. My friend Kerri gave me an idea in which your child picks a word for the day, and then you write it on an index card for the child. This builds up a personalized vocabulary for the child. And we're doing lots of things like gluing beans on to letter templates, and playing with our letter paint sponges. We're doing lots of number games, and activities which he enjoys more than he used to. I'm trying to do fun things in terms of social studies connected the months. We read a great book called "So You Want to Be President" which Umberto loved. It had quirky pictures and fun little facts about the past presidents. We also have a book on Socrates called "Wise Guy."

In addition to all this, we rejoined a homeschooling coop. So now Umberto does an environmental group called "Roots and Shoots," chorus, violin lessons, and a book club. Add to this a future 4H group, and an art class with the aforementioned friend Kerri, and we're booked. But he's happy and learning.

Funny story for the post:
Umberto told Horacio that Camille taught him how to read! Umberto showed Horacio how Camille pointed to each page in a particular book and told him what it said. I guess during this conversation Camille kept saying "Yes Daddy Umberto reads."

Okay another funny story:
Umberto shows me his comic and says "Look Mom, the troop is saying 'Morons."" I look, and yes, indeed, the troop is saying "moron." One of Umberto's first words to read is moron. Just figures.