01 October 2012

Lessons from the boys

We go to the library very often.  I have an unhealthy need for owning books, but the boys seem to be able to enjoy the literary journey but let go of the physical text. 

In fact, they went through their library of baby books and were able to move out over half of them to a friend's mom who is just starting off as a teacher and asked for items for her classroom.

I should be so brave.  I definitely need clear some space and keeping books to which I'm unlikely ever to return doesn't make any sense. 

It's so strange that I can let go of so many things (baby items are gone without so much as a second thought) but be so attached to books that hold no genuine meaning to me.

Bury it, again

Who know when I'll be back here and I can't have the top post be a sour one so here is A2 in soccer.  They're terrible shots because coaching means I get all the bad angles at weird times.

Really? Again?!?

Today, I walked into A1's classroom and once again there were 2 groups doing exactly the same worksheet.  A1's group was with a parent struggling to keep up while the second group sailed through the material with a another parent whose first and possibly sole language is English.  I started checking the answers on the worksheet and the kids in A1's (clearly inferior) group had so many incorrect responses written down!  They weren't even systemically incorrect--totally random answers amongst kids who were supposedly engaged in a group activity.  So for that sort of miserable result, they might as well be tasked with independent work at their own desk.  James says that's what it comes down to: there will be times in A1's life when he will have poor instructors and whether he understands the material at hand is dependent upon his own innate skills and determination.  I understand and agree with James' statement, but I'm still extremely bothered by this setup wherein parents with highly discrepant skill sets administer identical programs with vastly different results.  I mean, if there were no option, then I'd understand it--or at least, I would have no choice but to accept it.  The difference here is that there is a better option; it's merely not been extended to my child.  See?  Seething justified, right?

Actually, this isn't the 2nd time I've witnessed this circumstance in our scant 18 days of school.  There was an occasion between the first time and this when I took half the second graders.  The fellow parent who ran the other group not only gave less during the lesson (any time someone doesn't expand beyond the written material in a GATE classroom is LESS to me), she actually gave less of the lesson itself!  There was a a geography portion of the exercise and it called for use of a globe.  I grabbed one of the classroom globes and she did not.  Obviously, I covered more material than her.  It wasn't as if we had run out of time--she just dismissed her kids early while mine kept working on the assignment.  She didn't like that we were outside and it was getting so sunny (once again, we'll talk about those giant Asian-lady visors later).

How is any of this fair?  How does any of it make sense?  It defies logic.

But maybe the "setup" isn't important.  What's important is what I do about it.

Do I go to the teacher to express my concerns?  I'm afraid this will merely result in bad feelings between us because having small parent-led groups has historically been her style and it's unlikely that she would ever change.  Resistance is, in fact, futile.

Do I intercept poor instruction by being there myself?  Um...no. I don't think I can.  My over-involvement in the classroom has been a problem from the start.  Maybe the answer is completely the opposite.  Maybe I should stop going into the classroom altogether so that I can experience the out-of-sight-out-of-mind phenomenon.  I mean, if the situation is impervious to change, then why stress myself out.  As James says, he'll either get or he won't.

This parent, against whom I harbor no ill will whatsoever, graciously volunteers her time and energy at the same time every week.  I'm pretty ready to sign A1 out of school early every time so that I can instruct him myself.

ARGH!  I'm at a loss for proper solutions.

Here are unrelated happy shots of A1 with part of his den with birdhouse they made from scratch (okay, James cut out the wood for them, but that's about it) in 100 degree weather and A2 building a Lego Avengers set.

self-hatred

I hate that I love Chris Brown's songs.  I wish his atrocious personal behavior would affect my opinion of his professional endeavors.  But the tunes play and I groove right along.  I'm weak like that.

I hate that I wish ill upon bicyclists.  I see them usurping the rights and privileges of the road but never adhering to the rules of the road or extending the same courtesies they expect from others and I imagine them getting run off the road.  I'm malicious like that.

I hate that I dream endlessly about homeschooling the boys but am too scared or lazy (or both) to do anything about it.

I hate when my mouth utters, "Yes," when my brain is screaming, "No!"

Wow...that's a lot of intense negativity.  At least I dig this guy.  Here is A2 putting the kitchen table's lazy Susan to better use by studying centrifugal force.  Completely on his own, he grabbed it and flung his blocks, sometimes stacked this way or that, sometimes near the center instead of the edge.  I work so hard to create learning experiences for them but it seems that they're rather great experimenters on their own.  (Yes, I said homeschooling, not unschooling--I don't have the nerves for that!)

Wow!  There's another thing to love.  My filthy floor photographs so shiny and clean!