Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Progress Report

I'm here to answer the question, "Sooooo, how's it going?"

The first day for everybody to go to CC. Jack was fine with CC. The frown involved cap erasers. That's all I'm at liberty to divulge. Sam was just grumpy. And had just peed all over my bathroom floor. I was grumpy, too.

It's nice to know that people remember the big changes we've made and know that they have been challenging, and that they care enough to ask how it's going. It's the answer that is hard. Being a teacher now (ha! as if I haven't been teaching my kids things since the day they were born), I have been forced to think a lot about assessment. How will I assess Maddie's knowledge and understanding of Latin, especially considering the fact that, uh...I don't know Latin? How will I assess whether (Insert Child's Name) has learned what they should have learned about (Insert subject here....such as math, spelling, how to clean all those stinkin' toys up that are in their bedroom floor, etc.)? So I have asked myself, how do I assess whether our first few weeks of homeschool have been successful or not?

1. My main criteria has been met: No one has cried and asked to go back to public school. Notice I did not say no one has cried. Because people have. I am not going to name names. They just have not inserted into the crying the statement: "Take me to school right now! Please!" nor the question: "Why are we not on the bus route for your former school so I could put you right on that long, yellow cheese wagon?"

2. I know they've learned some stuff, so I count that as a positive. Well, some things they've learned would be considered a good thing, like lots of spelling rules (which are so overdue in this house of unfortunately bad spellers save one - one whose name starts with A), the structure, purposes, and patterns of sentences, all of the provinces and capitals of Canada, along with many geographical features and the ability to draw it all with stunning accuracy, the meanings of the words "suggested" and "reluctantly", and a little about King James I of England, whom the KJV Bible is named for. Please note: I do not say all of this to brag. Just to reassure my very concerned self that they are learning something, and that it is possible I have not totally sabotaged their education. Other things they've learned might not be such a good thing, like how their mother deals with people who will not listen to the delightful book she is trying to read aloud to them.

3. We have laughed together. Look, I love a good laugh, but I'm not known to be a jolly soul who goes around soaking in life with a big smile on my face...especially when there is a checklist to be checked. I think the word I've used the most in the few weeks of school we've completed is "FOCUS!" However, despite my anal retentiveness, task-oriented nature, and general lack of smiliness, we've had some fun times. We even once read our history outside. How's that for being cool and thinking outside the box? Baby steps, people.

4. The Lord has been holding my hand like a toddler about to fall and bust my face all up on a pile of bricks. Because that's exactly what I am. I have fallen a few times, but it hasn't left too bad of a mark so far. I'm sure my day is coming when I and everyone standing in my way will be all bloodied up, but He's been helping me. Nudging me. Giving me wisdom. Reminding me of my complete insufficiency in a way that causes me to lean on Him. He is faithful.

5. I've made mistakes. I have second-guessed myself almost every second. I have worried that we're not doing things the right or the most efficient way. We usually don't - okay, maybe we never - get everything done that I think we should get done. And we don't usually get done very early (according to my definition of early). Many times, we don't have "fun." But isn't that how life generally works?

So, all in all, when I sit down to give our little homeschool experiment a progress report, I would give us pretty good marks. However, I think that's less a reflection of us being awesome and more of an indication that this was God's plan and God's timing. I can say that the person who is learning the most is me. Yes, I'm learning some interesting things about history, and some brain-cramping things about Latin, and some useful things about geography, but mostly I'm learning more about the character of the Lord I serve and the things He wants to do in me. I knew it would be that way, and I think that's why I've been able to accept the failures and insecurities as well as I have so far. He graciously pointed out to me, from the very start, that this whole process was going to be a lot less about science and math and whole lot more about shaping me and my family to be the people He wants us to be. Though I can't necessarily check that off on my beloved checklist, that's something we can carry into eternity, so I'm good with it.

Now it's time to grade some Latin. Good thing I have an answer key. :)

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