I decided that if we’re going to learn at home, we will (hopefully!) use the time to focus on things that on really needs to know as an adult. Personal finances, people skills such as conflict resolution, basic psychology, how our body works and how to keep it healthy, how our environment works and how to keep it healthy, how a business works (because at some point they’ll either own one or work for one), public speaking, and so on. I have been told in the past that many of these topics aren’t focused on at any depth “at school” because they’re a parent’s responsibility. But what I have found with the girls is that when they spend 9.5 hrs getting ready, going to/from school and being there, plus another 2.5 – 3.5 hrs of homework, plus another 2-5 hrs of sports practices and games a day, “parent time” is virtually non-existent.
There are other things that I have learned I specifically do NOT want to teach the boys.
The first thing Tt taught me not to teach him was coloring. In lines. Preset by some coloring book manufacturer. (I think over time there will be a lot of things HE teaches ME to chill out on). For the past few years, every now + then, I would put a coloring book in front of Tt. He would kind of look at it, make a half-assed attempt at scribble, then go on to something else. I was starting to think “oh, no – he can’t color!”, but what I finally realized is that coloring books aren’t creative enough for him. I hear things like “what about his motor skills for using crayons?”. Not worried. Here is a coloring sheet I gave him a few months ago, and the second picture is what he did with the back of that same coloring sheet. It was the last coloring sheet I ever gave him.
I realized the following:
a. What adult does NOT know how to color in lines if he so chooses? He will learn this, if he cares to and whenever he needs to. (Although I suspect he knows how and just doesn’t see the point).
b. Clearly his motor skills are fine, and even I dare say far beyond what a coloring sheet can provide, when he can draw pretty much anything that “just comes out of my head, Momma”.
c. While coloring can be taught at any point, pure outta-my-head creativity is a far greater adventure that he simply may not be able to regain when he’s older and instructed “ok, now let’s learn to be creative!”
d. If he were in school, he would be getting a “D” in coloring, rather than a supportive “A” for creativity. (Yes, I know they don’t give out “D”‘s to pre-schoolers – I’m just making a point!).
He still gets coloring sheets placed in front of him at Music class. Here’s what he thinks of them. But ask him to draw music, and he’s all over it. That’s just him, and at home, he can be whoever he wants to be.
Now don’t even get me started on NOT teaching him to “follow the instructions” with his Lego! Not that he’d want to anyhow ;-).