Friday, November 04, 2011

And so, the Goob.

(Because we ALL need me to take a break from the news for a while.)

For those of you just tuning in, I've got a six year old daughter who is known on the internet as either "my kid" or "the Goober". The Goober nickname goes all the way back to when I was pregnant and had my first ultrasound at, what, six, eight weeks? At the time, the fetus was the size of a peanut, and resembled one quite a lot. In the southern US (where we were living at the time), an old folk name for peanuts is goobers, so there you have it. Until we found out gender and figured out a name, the fetus was "the Goober" and it just stuck. "Goobie" is a possibly even more humiliating term I use.
These days, the kid has made it known that "Goober" is not her favorite thing, so I've also been calling her "Boo", after the little girl in the movie "Monsters, Inc." She'll stay "the Goober" here until she figures out I'm using the nickname on the internet and has a fit, I guess.
Oh, speaking of the internet? She's figured it out. She watches kid's shows on TV and they say "Go to our web site at ____ and play games!" and she bugs me to use my computer. In the last week, all but one of the really annoying scenes we've had around here have been about her and my computer. (The school issued her a computer, yes. But she needs to be supervised -casually- on the internet, and it's just more convenient to use mine.) And she REALLY doesn't need to be on the internet for more than two hours at a time.

As you can see, she's just thriving away. The photos above are from yesterday. I tried to take her photo, and she yelled "NO!" and ran off, laughing. So I chased her around the house, clicking blurry, bad photos until the camera died. The happiness when she was a baby? Still there. And thank all the gods for that.

We've been doing swimming classes, all summer and into fall. We're in the boonies and don't have a local Y - they're held at the local high school.
Her last class, for now, is tomorrow. We've got this great community recreation center, and they send out quarterly fliers full of classes for kids and adults; the new one is due any day. We'll sign her up for more swimming, karate, and anything else that looks fun, and it'll all start up again after Christmas.

School? We're still doing PA Cyber. It's... interesting. She's at or above where she's supposed to be in math and reading. Writing? Her writing sucks, but she knows how to do it. I'm trying to remember how good my handwriting was at six, and I doubt it was very neat. So, that's fine. She's REALLY interested in science and figuring stuff out. Remember the vikings and rocks post? She found the Iceland Spar while I was in the shower. Burst into the bathroom with it in her hand, demanding to know what it was. I explained. (While in the shower.) I told her she could look at it, if she was VERY careful not to drop it. She raced back out. Eventually I got out of the shower, and what do I find going on in the kitchen?
She was shining a flashlight through it, and was drawing lines on the paper to follow how the light 'bent' as it shone through.
Apparently I'm raising the reincarnation of Issac Newton, without the mercury fumes and related loopiness.

Personally? I hate home schooling. Hate it. I'd love to put her on a bus and have a few hours to myself every day. But I've gotta ask myself - would she have a chance to do stuff like the flashlight and rock, in a classroom? With an adult working one-on-one with her, answering her questions? The local school district has children her age in classrooms that are 35-40 kids per room. I can't see that working well for her. So I'm stuck. Really, it's pissing me off. People in the public school system shit on me because I'm home schooling. Other home schoolers (not all, but the ones I've managed to find locally) shit on me because PA Cyber is considered public school by parents. But if I want to transfer her into public school soon (and holy shit, do I), I need to be following the state curricula so I can say with confidence she's able to go into whatever grade. I'm pretty well stuck.

I'll keep on muddling through the sucky parts, and really enjoying the good stuff. Which, really, is what all parents do, isn't it?


irisphnx said...

I'm thinking back to when my kids were 6 and there's just no way that a classroom of 35-40 would have worked for either one of them. I love the concept of "un-schooling" but to do it right you have to put in a ton of time and energy and to be honest, money. We were broke when the kids were wee. I think your cyber school program is an excellent compromise. I wish there had been something like that for my kids. And there's always going to be someone who wants to shit on you anyway. My kids are in an alternative public high school and I get shit every time it comes up. Screw the mean people. Go Dead Rats! (adorable alt high school mascot)

Jen Anderson said...

People sure do love criticizing other people's parenting choices. Because if the choice they made isn't the one right choice for everyone, then their lives have no meaning.

Sometimes being a human is SO embarrassing.

~Lori said...

We use two main tools to help control our kids' computer usage. One is Pikluk and the other is TimesUpKidz. Both very useful.

Sorry you're getting shit about your schooling choices. I'm sure I would hate homeschooling, too, and yet I'm sure in your circumstances I would do it. So I can safely say I think you're doing the right thing!

NeedleTart said...

I work in a public school (after several years in private schools, no comparison) and if I had kids in school now I would definitely (!!) home school. Half the school day is wasted waiting for the uncontrolled kid to have his/her meltdown and/or waiting for the teacher to have time to do more than cover the basics. Keep up the good work. You are doing the best thing for your child and the rest don't matter.

Sandra M. Siebert said...

For a child to be excited about learning and discovery is a precious thing. Forget the people who criticize, you've got to do what's best for Goober and you.

Lynda said...

You can always choose to send her in a few years, or she can choose to want to go. A lot of kids I knew that did homeschooling decided they wanted the high school social experience and did just fine.

Anonymous said...

you can come live in my town. 20-22 kids per class, and they get aides if needed. We have yarn stores near! I think you're doing a great job with her.

Miss you.


Alicyn said...

love that disney princesses flashlight! given the number of kids i tutor that are bright enough to get it if they tried but they just don't care... keep doing what you're doing! i'm convinced the best method is one that keeps a kid interested in the process of learning, and it looks you've found it.

Corlis said...

Dad used to call me skalawag. I was younger than Goob when I resisted. He persisted, and after a time, it faded away. I miss it. May she always remember "Goober" fondly.

She's a really smart cookie. Please don't send her to school, they'll ruin her.

Shawnee's Girl said...

I was a Boo for more years than I can count. (I think I was married before I lost the nick name.) I used to hate it, but now I sort of miss it. Apparently I would get a kick out of it when my parents would hold me up and say "aboodalie boodalie boo!" My son has the nick name Little Man or Mr Man. Who knows how he will feel about it in time, he is only 2 1/2 right now.

Your daughter is creative and excited to learn! That is a wonderful thing. Keep that in mind when you hear shit about what you are doing.

Ruby Louise said...

Here's hoping that Goober/Boo doesn't unvent vulcanization in your kitchen. :-)

Major kudos to you and the husbeast for fostering her zest for learning, regardless of the obstacles and idiots in the way.

Emily said...

She's getting the best education possible with you; please stick it out as long as she'll let you. As much as you hate home-schooling, you'd hate far more to see what happened to her in a public school.

My son is an elementary school teacher in Kingston, NY. He opposes home-schooling because in his area apparently home-schoolers do poorly on the state tests, bringing the district's scores down & adversely affecting their funding. A lot of home-schoolers are religious fundamentalists, and others (I guess) are just lazy or something. You are obviously not in either category and will be a blessing to your district's rating!

ellen in indy said...

i'm a little late to the party, but wanted to suggest as a good place to read about "unschooling" -- not the kind that means letting your kids run wild and not learn nothin' -- the kind that the goob is doing when she gets out that flashlight and pencil, following her own curiosity.

since you expect to have her in an actual school building at some point, i think the online curriculum is a good foundation (that probably won't take her nearly as much time to complete as a regular school day occupies). if she spends the rest of her time just being a smart kid who can follow her own interests, i doubt you have anything to worry about -- especially once her reading skills hit the "chapter book" level.

if she's free to pursue her own interests as soon as her online instruction is done, she'll probably continue to amaze you with her curiosity/creativity. and you'll be able to get more done then, too.

the swimming, etc., is better "phys ed" than she'd get in grade school.

Rachel said...

Don't, don't, don't EVER put your kid in a public school! That is the advice of someone who was in public schools all her life and dreamed of being homeschooled. I understand it has drawbacks too, as everything does, but I think I would have been so much better off in homeschool. For one thing my classes were too large for any individual attention, 20 kids per class, and that, comparatively, is small. Second, all the focus was on testing. If you could repeat the information you were taught back, word for word, on paper, no one cared if you actually understood, because repeating what you were taught was the key to passing the tests. Third, I was a "gifted" student (their term, not mine) and where I lived there were no programs or special classes for kids like me. So I was forced to sit still in class and be quiet while I waited for everyone else to finish something I had done ages ago. I spent all of my school career bored. I also got in trouble a fair amount for trying to read in class, and for not pretending that going over the same material 5 times (no joke) was fascinating. Luckily I got good at staring into space and pretending I was somewhere else! Finally, most of my classmates, were jerks. This, also is probably a function of where I lived. They held fun parties at which they got wasted and the highlight of the night was forcing a fellow classmate to drink urine. No lie. DO NOT put your kid in public school. Sorry if this comment is grammatically incorrect or if it makes me sound like a crazy person, or a snob, it is written on the spur of the moment, with a lot of feeling, and probably not as much thought as there should be in a public comment.

Skatequeenknitter said...

I have not read the other post regarding home schooling from others I have one thought and it is for you to follow your own best judgement I have 3 daughters 2 are 21yrs old, and 1 is 16 and they have been home schooled on and off since elementary school my older girls were home schooled for 3 years in elementary school and their sophomore yr of high school and them my oldest daughter finished her Senior yr through the home school program associated with her high school the other daughter stayed in regular school my younger daughter has been home schooled for part of 3rd, 4th, 5th grade and returned to school for 6th grade she them moved to regular jr high for 7th and 8th she attended 1 day and 4 of her 6 teachers were temporary or subsitute teachers as the district was short and as a result the science teacher (daughters FAVORITE CLASS)told the class that since she had no idea how long she would be their teacher she was not going to put in any extra time for the class because if she was not going to be there for the whole year there was no point in planning lab or any other activities other than the book work, as a result my daughter said what is the point of me being there is we don't get to do labs and such and so I picked her up at the end of the day and promptly went to the office asked to speak to the principal and explained the problem and he said he would see what he could do but no promises since he had more temporary teachers and substitute teachers than regular teachers, I immediately pulled her from school that day and enrolled her in a charter school that was 35 miles one way in another town that operated as a homeschool program but also had regular classed weekly so that the students had the benefit of both types of learning. After Jr. high school she wanted to return to regular high school and we allowed her to and she did finish the entire year but she was much farther along in her core classes than most of her classmates and we were able to make some changes to some classes to her advanced levels and with other classes we were stuck and I suggested she change back to her charter school but she wanted to try one more year, but after her sophomore year ended up pretty much a waste of a year. We requested a meeting with her counselor and teachers and with the classes she needed due to scoring above average in science and english classes they felt that she would feel frustrated by the work that would not challenge her and so once again we chose to change her back to her charter school and while she misses her friends from her regular high school she is much happier by the challenge and the college classes she now has access to and does not feel like her entire day has been a waste with her sitting around and doing nothing much towards the grades she was receiving which were all A's which was great but not very fulfilling when you are doing virtually nothing. The very long point I made about this is trust your own judgement about your child and as she gets older and can participate in some of her schooling choices listen to her carefully she will probably surprise you. As far as what ever you end up doing know this that you will have made the best choices you could have with the information you had at the time. And it will all work out in the end for all of you. Right now my biggest headache is having 2 in college and another one in before either 1 of the other 2 graduates I hope by then financial aide will give us some help. For now I am just grateful that the first 2 chose instate school 1 San Bernadino State, and the other California State Chico and my 3 right now is thinking about University of Washington and I am trying everything I can to change her mind to an in state school in California. Good Luck with all the choices you do make and know this that in the end the choices you do make will be the best ones you can.Your choices will be the right ones for you no matter what anyone else has to say.

birdmommy said...

I just wanted to say thank you for 'admitting' that you aren't sure that bring home with your child all day every day is for you. I love my 5YO son, but I think that him going to school every day (we have full day kindergarten here in our part of Ontario/Canada) has expanded both of our horizons, and made us enjoy each others' company even more. He has access to activites that he wouldn't be getting at home with me (e.g. a music program), and I think that the 'interpersonal' stuff is important too. Just the other day we ended up having an interesting discussion about not being able to control your behaviour (as in autism), vs. being able to control yourself, but choosing not to (or as my son says, 'That boy can't help it. That other boy? He's just a jerk'). He's not only learning empathy, but he's learning how to get along in a world where he doesn't like everybody.
Unless your public school is an absolute horror show, I don't think the Goober is going to be scarred for life by going. And you'd be amazed how much 'unschooling' you can do after school and on weekends.
I'm not sure how this works in the US - but if your public school is a bad chocie, would it be possible for a group of parents to band together and create an independent school? It's just like a 'real school' (certified teachers, curricula, etc.), but, well...independent.
Best of luck with whatever you decide!