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homeschool parent nerves

When you homeschool, people are naturally interested in what you're doing with the kids. Only I always feel a little sheepish when they ask me, because my answer tends to be "not much." Or maybe that's not quite fair: it's just that most of the learning we do tends to be pretty much randomly scattered around the day, unconnected to anything we could ever hope to label as "curriculum". There's not much in the way of assessment, either. Sometimes this makes me a little nervous; as I mentioned last year, I tend to be a little competitive when it comes to the achievements of my offspring, so there are definitely days when I think that I should sit Harvey down and put a test in front of him or something. Actually, when I'm in those moods it's mostly the sitting down that feels important to me—I think of all those millions of kids learning to hold still and follow directions and wonder if Harvey needs to be doing that too.

Which of course is ridiculous. He absolutely can sit still when he wants to, and in lots of ways is basically a model student. Check out this video of him at age two to see what kind of a baseline we're working from (really, check it out: it's pretty much the best video ever made). If someone is ready with interesting content, or even a compelling reason why boring content is worthwhile, he'll be totally willing to endure the presentation. And in my more rational moments I know that what he needs isn't more sitting, it's more running around playing imaginative games.

So mostly I let him run (or build with legos or listen to music or whatever). But every once and while we throw formal schooling a bone. Here's the last formative assessment he did, back in January (formative assessment means "test" in teacher language).

a scanned math paper

the sticker is how they do it at school

Today Harvey, Zion, and I sat and drew pictures for each letter of the alphabet. That is, Harvey and I drew, and Zion looked on and told us what letter should be next. Harvey easily thought of something to draw for almost every letter (I was particularly impressed by his quick choice of "quilt" for Q) and he drew everything confidently in his own, admittedly non-standard, style. That seems like pretty fair for kindergarten if you ask me. So tomorrow if all we do is play legos, ride bikes, and read stories, I won't feel like that's any kind of a problem at all; and maybe I'll even be able to own it proudly when someone asks what we've been up to.

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