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Thursday, January 19, 2006


"I'm sorry, may I hear that in a sentence, please?"

"You need to homeschool your children."

"Oh, yeah, thanks."

Sarabelle is not doing well with her relative independence. Initially she was sent off with her dad and several days' worth of assignments. Her curriculum had been narrowed down to grammar, math, and Latin. Soon it was just math and Latin. And then nothing. Moving around caused her books to be left in different vehicles and locations. I looked into signing her up with the Florida Virtual School, the Latin course was the only class still available that far into the year, no surprise, but not having a computer readily and regularly available, except when she was at the office, and then someone might actually have some work to do on it, and because of the small technicality in the registration process which requires you identify the county you are registered with so they can confirm your homeschool status, and we are technically flying under the radar, we decided to pass. Jorge wondered if there were any courses she might be able to study via CD-ROM, as we had an extra laptop she could use. I remembered picking up Switched On Schoolhouse Algebra and Science 9 for free at one of our support group swaps, so we gave the Algebra a try. The scoring had been set to not allow her to change wrong answers, after all, it's multiple choice, you change your answer three times and it's guaranteed to be correct, right? Unfortunately, the teaching format was scattershot, a video clip here, an animation there, and on her first lesson, the easiest, she scored an abysmal 46. Discouraged, she did not want to continue.

In the meantime, she was reading up a storm: Dracula, Just So Stories, Carl Hiaasen's latest, Flush, basically whatever she got her hands on, so that was okay.

After a while she took a break from the books and finally found a computer that could run her Pirates! game. She spent days at the office strategizing and raiding the Caribbean. It's not too much of a stretch to say she learned quite a bit of geography and even a little history.

Then last night a call from Jorge, worried that Sarabelle is not doing anything productive. He suggested putting her into school, eighth grade, for the remainder of the year. My response: Not "no", but, "!@#$ no!" He is supposed to be finished with his contracts in March. I assured him we could hang on at least that much longer. He agreed. Tonight they went to Barnes & Noble and she picked out The Grapes of Wrath, The Wind in the Willows, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a Spanish-English dictionary, and a book on sign language. That will keep her busy until later this week when her paedeia for the Scripps Howard Spelling Bee is due to arrive. The regional competition is being held in Tampa, scheduled for February 25. I need to dig through the boxes this weekend and locate my copy of The ABCs and All Their Tricks and she needs to study.


"That is correct."

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