14 August 2007

Sensitive to the Subtle Signs That the Kids Are Ready to Start School

I got out of the shower yesterday morning and heard voices downstairs. Voices that were not my children or Jim Weiss (we have a lot of Jim Weiss audio books, so hearing his voice around the house is pretty normal). As I reached the stairs I realized it was ... Rosetta Stone.

Yes, Kid1 had popped Rosetta Stone Spanish into the computer and was contemplating whether the hands and eyes were opened or closed. When I got downstairs she finished up and asked if I could read her a list of spelling words. After fumbling through Spelling Power to figure out where we had left off when we abruptly lost interest last spring, I read a list. She did well with it, then moved on to Mavis Beacon typing.

I returned to my grousing that I'd never had a proper summer vacation -- days spent lazing at the pool or watching Doris Day movies without a care in the world -- and generally fumbling around the kitchen in a Monday morning haze. And she popped back into the room to ask if I remembered where she'd left off in the Latin book.

"Didn't you have some work or something you were sticking in a notebook somewhere? Couldn't you look at it and sort of figure out where you are?" (Couldn't you not expect me to have a clue?)

"Oh, yes, it's the blue notebook. Could you hand it to me, please? The blue one is for Latin, not the purple. Hand me the blue one, please."

Yeesh, I'm trying to remember what I usually do on Monday morning to keep the household running, and she's expecting me to remember what the Latin notebook looks like? Give me a break.

After Latin the perky let's-get-going-on-school came to a halt when she got out RightStart Geometry. After reminding me several times that she was going to need a scientific calculator soon ("It's only 2 more lessons, so I'll need it later this week. I think I saw some at Office Depot. Do you think you could go there in the next couple of days?") she plunged into the next lesson. Trigonometry.

And came to a screeching halt.

"Mommy, I think I need some help"


"Why do I have to know this?"

Oh, joy of sine, cosine, and tangent. I had a wonderful teacher for trig. He was inspiring. The best math teacher I ever had. He lead us into trigonometry as though we were explorers working together to chart a new country. I could draw those waves in my sleep, we studied it so thoroughly. How do I convey this to my child?

We set the book aside. I told her we'd try a different approach on a different day. I'm not ready for this yet -- the entire morning caught me by surprise, and an impromptu discussion of Why Trig Is Cool was beyond me.

Like it or not, we seem to be back to school in our homeschool.


km said...

Wow! That's an early start. We don't start until the 27th...(my neighbor hood school starts that day, but many others dont start until the Wednesday after Labor Day.) I can see why you feel you need a but more summer.

Hornblower said...

Oddly enough, we've had to do trig twice in the last month. SOHCAHTOA comes in useful when you have vaulted ceilings and need to make a wedge to hang a ceiling light from. Also, when you have an awning over your deck & you wish to make the outside edge stop hitting you on the head. What size wedge do you put under the mounting to change the tilt the right amount?

Glad you had a great time at the museum :-)

Angela, MotherCrone said...

That is amazing, although I too would be caught off guard. We Moms do need ot be mentally prepared for all of that! We will start geometry this year, and I am glad that I will have a video teacher along with me, as my geometry teacher was more like the one from Peanuts..."Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah." Can't wait to hear more!