A Few Vignettes from Homeschooling with the Joneses

2018_5_4 - A Few Vignettes from Homeschooling with the Joneses_Sara Jones2.jpg

Sometimes, instead of writing and thinking about homeschooling, I take the time to notice us actually doing it. Change a few details, and it might sound a lot like daily life in your house. Or as my teens would say, “Relatable! Same! Mood*!”

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Last week, Ranger’s math lesson was dividing one digit into two digits. He didn’t want to do it the book’s way, and he cried the whole time I was showing him how.

Yesterday he wanted to do a mental-math sequence backwards. That took us through long division, decimals, and long multiplication. He watched me work them all out on paper, greatly delighted the whole time.

Moral of the story: “Math is fun when it’s my idea!”

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In order to get the kids outside, Darren often has them ride their bikes down to our common area and check out a little stream that runs there. This time, after lots of rain, he added “touch the water” to his instructions. Just to get the full quota of nature experience, I guess.

Meanwhile, Sparkler was having a hard afternoon, and had closed herself up in her room to cry. Bookgirl came in from visiting the stream, carrying a plastic cup, which she took back to Sparkler. As she explained to me, “I brought the stream water to Sparkler so she could touch it without having to leave her bed.”

The educator in me didn’t exactly approve, but as a mother I appreciated the gesture.

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One of Sparkler’s recent assignments was to choose a Bible story and retell it in her own words. Now, I’m no help when it comes to Algebra II, but I do know the writing process.

She and I took one day to choose which story she wanted. We brainstormed about point of view, what elements she wanted to include, and how she would tell it. The next day, I sat nearby as she typed, helping her organize her thoughts and offering lots of sympathy that writing is hard.

And she did it. Her 200-word story begins, “Today was my first day helping build this dumb tower . . .” and went from there. I’d never really thought about the comic possibilities of the Tower of Babel. Leave it to an 11-year-old to bring that out.

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The other night was a good homeschooling night at the Jones Home.

Darren and the older two are going through Hamlet, using a book with Shakespeare’s words on one side and a modern translation on the other. We expected Gamerboy’s introduction to Shakespeare to be rough, but instead he likes it. They all three sit in the living room and read it aloud. Gamerboy assigns himself to read “Pompous Windbag,” which is what he calls Polonius. Bookgirl tackles whatever part she’s given and reads with feeling. This night, Ranger asked if he could read some too, and he put great expression into his three lines.

After they finished the Hamlet scene, we reviewed states and capitals with everyone. Then Darren took about half an hour to go over the next three Algebra II lessons with the older two. Next, Ranger wanted to show Darren how far he and I had gotten in his reader. Meanwhile, our daughters showed up with pictures they’d drawn, trying to imitate each other’s styles.

By this time it was nearly 9:00 p.m., and both Darren and I were tired. We didn’t mind. Homeschooling doesn’t always go smoothly—see: math lessons and meltdowns—but sometimes everything aligns, and we remember why we do what we do.

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What vignettes from your day remind you why you homeschool?

 —Sara

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*I have been informed that saying “Mood!” after someone’s statement indicates that you feel the same way. With teenagers in the house, my education never ends.

Photo Credit: Graphic design by Anna Soltis. 

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