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Friday, August 10, 2007

An "F" in Effort

I am feeling inadequate these days. Not up to the task. Deficient.

Maybe I read too many homeschooling blogs. My children are not learning their fourteenth language or preparing to enter law school on a dual enrollment or developing their doctoral thesis. Two of them are in public school for crying out loud. And the last little homeschooler? Hell, she doesn't even know who Johnny Appleseed is. This was brought to light when a nine-year old American visitor quizzed her on the subject. When Elle asked for clarification, the older, wiser, obviously better educated acquaintance patiently explained, with a sad little look and a pat on Elle's pitiful head, that she would learn about it one day. And I let fly a little harrumph, partly because I know that being educated does not mean stuffing your head with someone else's facts and figures, and partly because American folktales are not entirely relevant to our present situation, but mostly because my teaching efforts had been publicly brought up short. And the way things are going, the poor kid may never find out who Johnny Appleseed was.

We haven't cracked a book in weeks, unless you count Harry Potter, and even then we've left our hero and his friends loitering outside Gringotts for what seems an eternity. All Great Conversation reading, and thus great conversation, or even mildly interesting conversation, has come to a halt. Writing? Nada. Except for an article I contributed to an online publication that was essentially cobbled together from posts here and on my other blog and Elle entering a name for her character in Runescape there has been no activity. The fair came and went and with it all the wonderful opportunities to enter all those numerous enriching projects homeschoolers are always supposed to be working on. Even the lame-o coloring contest entry Elle diligently completed was negligently left on a shelf, ignored, and surreptitiously cast in the trash after the deadline had passed.

Sure, I could make excuses: We're in the middle of moving, our on-again-off-again relocation finally a go, and playing tour guide to visitors from the States for two weeks. Sure, I could elaborate on the unique learning experiences we have encountered in the past week or so: A tour of aboriginal sacred rock art sites, lessons in aboriginal plant lore and bush tucker. But none of that seems valid.

This can't be burn-out because the cure for burn-out is simply to back away from the school work and take it easy. I can't possibly take it any easier than we have been.


Wisteria said...

Aren't you being a tad tough on yourself? One of the ideals of homeschooling, at least in our school, is turning our backs on those judgement calls of what is important to know. I suspect that if you look past Johnny, the fair, and writing assignments that you will find that your children have learned enormous quantities. Maybe you need to adjust your grading scale.

Becky said...

I don't think it's school burnout. It think it's daily grind, everyday life burnout -- this up and down situation has been tough, and now with visitors, and moving, you get a medal just for making it through the day. And too, while Jorge has been "off island", so to speak, recently, if I remember correctly your last trip was over the holidays.

You need a break -- and give yourself one too : )

PS Don't even mention Great Books around me. Daughter is devouring Nancy Drew books, boys I don't think remember what a book looks like, and I'm reading old Golden Books lol.

Bayberry Roost said...

If you feel you need worry, the only thing I see that you wrote that is worth worrying about is the Runescape. Kelly, the reader, you know the one with her nose in a book so much I used to have to tell her to stop reading? That one.

She has become addicted to Runescape and will tell you herself, it is an addiction. She is glued to it from the time she wakes up until she goes to sleep.

I can't wait until she starts college in a couple of weeks, so she can get away from it.

Bayberry Roost said...

PS. You realize I am sure that as unschoolers I never taught my kids even a tenth of what you have taught yours, and nonetheless one did well enough on the college entrance exam to enter college.

Relax - Have fun.

Miss you guys!