Yesterday was one of those days that did not quite work out like we had planned. I expected to come home, correct some math and science, adjust the plan for today based on those corrections, then sit down with the family to work on our Christmas puzzle. After Christian’s guitar lesson, Lorena and the kids went to the YMCA to do their normal workouts, so they did not get home until about 6:00 PM. By that time, we were all hungry, so I did our read aloud while Kelly drew a Betty Blonde comic, Christian worked on the puzzle for a bit, and Lorena made dinner. After we ate dinner, it was already 7:00 PM. I started correcting the math and science, but both Kelly’s geometry and Christian’s algebra and science were pretty tough, so it took a little longer than usual. Kelly had to do some unfinished piano practice and Christian had to do some unfinished CLEP studies, so, while I worked with one of them, the other one kept going on uncompleted homeschool work. We did not finish until around 9:00 PM. We did not do particularly well on what we did and we did not get everything done that was scheduled.
One of the things that is hardest to describe about homeschool is how difficult it can be to get everything done in a day. We have specific materials we want the kids to cover to be prepared for college in a few years. We learned early on that participation in too many activities outside the house did not allow enough time for them to finish the studies they require to know the material. There are all kinds of great opportunities to participate in science, math, language, art, drama, writing, robotic, and every other kind of workshop and class imaginable. There are many, many sports opportunities: football, baseball, basketball, running, swimming, soccer, ping pong, and even lacrosse. Still we want the kids (and Lorena) to get out of the house at least once a day to get some exercise, break up the day, and interact with other people.
In that regard, we no longer worry at all about “socialization”. Our own experience with socialization parallels the results of the studies we read when we started our homeschool. It is really government school kids who bear the greatest social handicap of years wasted in the artificial environment of a traditional school classroom. Their social interaction is limited to associations with twenty or so children of their exact same age and only one or two adults, all confined to the same room for months on end–something that rarely, if ever, occurs in the world they face when they leave school. By contrast, homeschool kids tend to interact with people of a broad range of ages in church, at the library, in music, art, science, and language lessons, on sports teams, and homeschool group field trips and get-togethers. Like everything else in this fallen world, homeschool is not perfect, but it is considerably better than anything else we have available to us. Nevertheless, because socialization is such a strength in the homeschool setting, we can bias our time toward completion of academic goals.
We were all a little snippy when we started working on the puzzle for a half an hour before going to bed. We enjoy listening to one particular music channel at this time of year, but when we turned it on, all we got for the entire time we listened was the platitudes of an inane sports interview after an inconsequential game of preseason basketball. We went to bed late. Some days are like that. Maybe tomorrow will be better, but I do not hold out much hope because we all have our biannual checkup with the dentist. It is hard to get homeschool work complete while waiting in the dentists office and it is hard to deal with a grumpy dad correcting that work after he has been to the dentist, too. Thankfully, Christmas vacation starts in just one week.