I joke sometimes that we’re homeschooling ambassadors simply by choosing to homeschool. That can be a positive or a negative, depending on if you enjoy being under a spotlight all the time. I don’t.
Today we unexpectedly had a repair tech come to the house and spend way more time than any of us expected, and he got a good glimpse into our homeschooling life. I have no idea what he thought about it. I have a sneaking suspicion that he was probably somewhere between being appalled and strangling laughter before it erupted.
The first clue (that things were weird)
He arrived to the tuneful sounds of Nessy Learning as my oldest went through his reading and spelling lessons. My husband came out of the office in time to see the Engineer beating up a gorilla with a feather duster as a reward for passing a lesson. His eyebrows went up. “Is he beating the monkey up?” I nodded. I didn’t bother to tell him about the last game the Engineer played where the gorilla grabbed the Engineer’s character and shook him. Nessy is surprisingly violent for an educational game. It’s also surprisingly effective.
The second grader
As the tech worked in our kitchen, we worked at the table. For math today we introduced negative numbers, and like most subjects, the Engineer picked the concept up after the first explanation and ran with it. I was slightly exasperated with this child who can intuitively understand negative numbers but can’t remember how to count up a number line correctly.
I wondered what it must have sounded like – this child who instantly answered “50!” when I asked him what 5 x 10 was, but couldn’t get 6 + 6 correct without counting on his fingers. Was kiddo impressing the tech or scaring him off from homeschooling? Were we an example of what not to do? Not that it mattered, of course, because we’re doing what works for us. Still, I couldn’t help but snicker at how ridiculous we probably sounded.
The Princess and I worked on her math problems at the same table while the Engineer messed with tangrams. She’s the sneaky one, trying to trick me into thinking she can’t count or add things up, then surprising me with the correct answer. I had to laugh when I kept telling her “you don’t have to completely fill in the shape” as she painstakingly colored in her octagons and hexagons. My little perfectionist, the mini me. She’s the one who did all the tangrams correctly and had a screaming fit when her little brother knocked one over.
Taking a break
After the math problems we worked on some puzzles together, reinforcing concepts in a fun way. The oldest 2 were less concerned with fun and more concerned with beating each other to win who finished first. Their little brother completely lost interest, retreating to the play area with his superheroes and train tracks.
I know we probably made an impression when we did music after the puzzles. Of course, my kids would want to know what a flugelhorn sounds like, or a Chinese gong. We quickly cycled through YouTube videos of octobasse, saxophone, kazoo, and other instruments as the kids picked out different ones from our flash card set. There was much whining involved when the kids spotted the Wintergatan marble machine video they love in the sidebar, but didn’t get to watch it this time.
Add in the complete chaos in the kitchen due to my “swipe everything off the counter” method so the tech could get to the outlet, and we looked more than slightly crazy. Ah well, have to laugh and roll with it. This is our life, and while it might be slightly funny and a whole lot of chaotic, it was still a fun day.