A Gentle Pattern

There is a gentle pattern to our days now. Em seems very happy, And I’m not stressing over fitting homeschool into a full day of house cleanings, caring for my dad and writing. I’ve even contacted the North Kansas City Library about teaching just three classes next year.

Here is a rundown of the latest…

School Is Going Great!

I have long held the belief that, overall, learning should be enjoyable. Not every second of our lives is going to be fun, and there are plenty of moments that will be frustrating or boring, but when it comes to spending approximately 1/2 of your waking life somewhere, it should be a relatively pleasurable experience.

Em wakes up at 7 a.m. and has just a handful of things to do in the morning before she leaves for school:

  • Feed and water her cat, Sugar
  • Brush her hair
  • Get dressed

Breakfast and lunch are provided by the school (one of the many benefits to living in the ‘hood – free meals) and Em told me the other day, “I get to eat sweet cereal¬†every day Mama. And there’s nothing you can do about it!”

I imagine there is something I could do, but I was more amused by it than anything else.

I usually spend a few minutes stretching in the exercise room (my former office) and we talk and visit while she brushes her hair.

So far, Em has taken three of the four NWEA tests – Reading, Writing, and Math. She was running a fever last Tuesday so she missed taking the Science one. Her Reading scores were at a 7th-grade level, her Writing scores were at a 6th-grade level, and her Math was just at grade level.

It had never occurred to me to administer any kind of placement test – but now I wish I had. I would have felt better about my homeschooling abilities if I had!

Em seems to be happy with all of her teachers, even the prickly Mrs. W., and from what I can tell, is trying hard in all of her classes.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, no longer having to be the one to push homeschooling, I am now able to enjoy her company even more. We happily read aloud from a book up to five nights a week. Just a couple more chapters and we will be all done with Mary Poppins!

The Addition of Soccer

This past summer, Em had asked if she could join a soccer team. With little warning and the summer already upon us, I found a free soccer group but Em did not enjoy it much. Too many boys, all with attitudes about girls playing sports, and we quickly decided to try an all-girls team.

Last week, she attended her first practice. The Swope Park soccer complex is a BIG place and we sure had a difficult time finding her group at first. She was quick to listen and learn for the time that they had, and then her first game was on Saturday.

She did well, managing to land a few kicks that kept the ball out of the opposing team’s control. Her team lost the game, but not for lack of trying.

Unfortunately, some of the game times conflict with her participation in Harmony Project on Saturdays, so we are trying to balance it by skipping some games. This Thursday she will go to practice, but she will skip the game. I figured she needs the practice a little more and then she will be a more effective (and valuable player) in later games.

Keeping In Touch With Our Homeschool Community

This past Saturday we also went to Double Digit Game Night, which is a LEARN event. Just $5 for three hours of hanging out with her homeschool peeps while I relax with some of the mamas.

It was bittersweet, talking with them. They are in the midst of curriculum planning and discussing a yearbook. And while we have a membership paid through the end of the year, I felt a little out of the loop. Public school or homeschool, I can’t be both. I’ll probably maintain my LEARN membership for a year or two more, though. It helps to stay connected, and I have no idea how the next few years in public school will turn out for Em.

Car Talks

“You really seem happy in school, Em.” I said as we drove to Double Digits Game Night, “I’m happy for you.”

Em smiled, “I am happy, Mama, I really like it.”

“You know, Daddy asked me if I was okay with that – with you being so happy in school – and I told him yes. I am a little sad because I miss homeschooling you, but I’m also really happy because your test scores show me that I was doing a LOT right, and that made me feel real good.”

“You did do a good job, Mama! The teacher’s think I’m really smart!”

“Well, you are smart. More importantly, though, you try hard.” (This is something I have tried to promote with Emily all of her life – smart is nice, but trying, and keep on trying, is what helps you succeed. Native intelligence only goes so far.)

“I just want you to know, Em, that as long as you are happy in public school, and doing well, I am completely supportive of you doing it. If you become unhappy or are having a lot of trouble, then we can always go back to homeschooling. I know now that I was on the right track, and that I was probably being too hard on myself. But no matter what, you are the focus here, not me.”

And then she smiled at me – a huge, bright grin – “You are the best mama, you know that, right?”

Oh, my heart.

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