I’ll be honest. Right now I have the worst case of writer’s block and it’s been a bear trying to figure out how to get started! But, as the saying goes, well begun is half done, so I’ll just make a beginning and hope to edit out later. Or not. We’ll see how much time the kids give me–sometimes good enough is better than not at all.
After many weeks of trying to resolve my vertigo at home, I went in to see the physical therapists at the National Dizzy and Balance clinic. It took several tries, but luckily they seem to have resolved my vertigo issues for the time being. I still have a weird residual sensation when I lie down and sometimes when I’m doing work that involves a lot of to-and-fro action, like cooking, but the PT said that it’s like a bruise, in a way. In time it should go away, but there’s no telling when that will be. I’m glad that it’s not too distracting. The vertigo itself, however, is a condition “that must be managed”, according to the clinic’s literature, which means that I can expect it to come back. Frankly, I get tired just thinking of it. My doctor assured me that it’s unlikely that any re-occurrences will be as dramatic as the initial onset. That’s good news because initially they symptoms were incredibly severe.
The vertigo was resolved in time for the school year to begin, so I guess it’s from one fire to another! The school year began with a rough start, I’ll admit. Anna was all sunshine and enthusiasm, but Thomas was beyond “resistant”. I’ve read many home school blogs and they do, from time to time, address the issues of “burnout” and “resistance”. My eldest son’s attitude this year was just short of outright defiance.
If it had come in the middle of the year it would have been a huge warning flag to me and I would have put on the breaks and called a time out on school for a couple of weeks. I might even have reevaluated our curriculum choices and my expectations of his goals. But right at the beginning? What the hell? I mean, there’s nothing on any home school website or in any home school book that begins to touch what I was looking at. And after evaluating our approach and my expectations I could see nothing truly out of line with what would be expected in a traditional school setting.
After years of schooling at home I had to face the cruel reality that it’s not always what people make it out to be. If you read what’s printed about home education, it’s all roses and kittens and inquisitive, curious children observing the glory of the world through a magnifying glass. The theory is that children are naturally curious and therefore our role as parent-teachers is to simply stand out of their way and to provide the resources they need to absorb information about our glorious world. Sure, there’s “resistance” and “burnout”–things easily resolved by a switch in approaches or a couple of weeks off mid-year. Any issues that arise are a result of external factors and not a real problem with home ed. because who wouldn’t want to be HOME SCHOOLED, am I right? Home schooling is awesome and totally the best way to learn because it’s so customized. Please note my sarcasm.
I do think there is an element of truth to this. Children ARE curious–about the things that interest them. My son would read all day about electronics and technology and explosives and the inventors that make them. And that’s great–a part of our school can be about these things. But he is never, ever going to care about the capital of Maine or memorizing the multiplication table or about the history of our country. I mean, we just can’t wait for his natural curiosity to get around to wanting to know about these things. There is a sizable canon of information that people need to know to be considered a moderately educated citizen of the world and knowing the difference between a continent and a country is one of those things. On his own, he will never seek this information out, indeed, he will never know what he DOESN’T know unless someone helps him to it.
And this kind of learning? This obligatory learning that we must apply ourselves to in order to absorb? That’s work. That’s the work that requires effort and it’s our duty to put ourselves into it and see that it’s accomplished. In the end, after examining the situation and my beloved son, I discovered that there was nothing obviously wrong with our situation, but more with the willingness of my child to do the work at hand.
That doesn’t make it easier, of course. We all remember days of dragging ourselves off to another day of school or with a heavy heart pulling forth the dreaded textbook of an unfavored subject. In a school setting we learn how to get by with minimal effort applied to the task at hand. Unfortunately, when you are in a class of one (1) it’s harder to just phone it in. Your teacher will notice. And when your teacher is your mom you are all the more free to whine and groan and make life miserable not only for your dear mother, but for yourself as well. Because no matter where you learn, you need to learn that sentences begin with a capital letter and and end with a punctuation mark. Despite what the home school blogs say.