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Thursday, August 28, 2008


Three's A Crowd

Well, that was so not fun.

Today was my first day of homeschooling BOTH of my kids.

Neither of them was enthusiastic about school starting again. They've enjoyed a carefree summer with nothing on the schedule beyond playtime and daydreaming. Just like most kids, they wanted an endless summer.

But my son was a real trooper, diving right into lessons in history, literature, vocabulary, and math.

I set him up so he could guide himself through a good portion of the work, while I began his sister on her homeschooling journey.

She was eager to start, but quickly switched into brat-mode during math.

I asked her, "Did you act like this with your first grade teacher last year?"

She replied, "No, because she would do terrible things to me if I did."

"Like what?"

"She would take away recess!"

I figured I could use this threat and said, "Well, if you don't do this work, then you can't have recess here either."

"I don't care."

"Why not?"

"I don't know."

And it went on from there.

In other words, this is going to take some getting used to. For both her and me.

I'm accustomed to focusing solely on my son, but now I have to balance between a 5th grader and a 2nd grader who are at completely different levels of motivation.

The system my son and I developed over the past two years has be completely revised, which is something I failed to consider over the summer.

I give myself three weeks before turning the job over to the cat. At least my daughter will listen to him.


Anonymous Dan said...

Homeschooling two kids? I don't think I can even imagine it. Maybe handing over to the cat wouldn't be such a bad thing. She could develop a lucrative career in the pest control industry.

12:38 AM  
Blogger mannequin said...

Ah... one would THINK that the younger would be more , let's say "challenging" but I have a 6th grader so I know all about the "I don't care", "Whateveeerr"!
Today will be better I'll betcha!

4:52 AM  
Blogger Darren said...

It's not just your daughter. Clare can sometimes go from seemingly mature to acting like a bratty whining toddler in a matter of minutes. It must be their time to test our limits.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Reading Mom said...

Hi Phil. I stop by your blog often and very much appreciate your non-snarky approach to writing. How you describe your daughter's interaction with you is how I'd predict my son would be with me if I homeschooled. My young daughter is very willing to follow instructions and be focused but my son challenges me on everything. It is hard to find the right buttons to push to motivate him. I often say is too smart for MY own good - he can outwit me without lifting a pinky. Keep us posted on how the cat handles the new challenge!

6:12 AM  
Blogger Dad Stuff said...

Back to school is often the start of the parents' vacation. So sorry for you though.

We also have two differently motivated kids. Our youngest starts well, and then runs out of gas very quickly.
Good luck and have a good school year.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Jeremy (Discovering Dad) said...

I can't imagine the challenges of homeschooling two kids. It takes a unique and courageous parent to take on this endeavor. Good Luck Phil!

10:26 AM  
Blogger brettdl said...

Perhaps this is a good thing in disguise that will let you recast your relationship with your daughter.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Shadeslayer said...

Good luck Phil and have a good school year!

11:03 AM  
Blogger HLiza said...

Oh my..two kids will be hard..and even harder with girls. I think girls will often think their dad won't do any harm; as I would always make my dad bend too..

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Another homeschooling dad said...

Hi Phil,

I asked my two daughters for advice on your motivational challenge. They both said you should "make it fun."

At our home school, that means reading math instructions in funny voices and pouncing upon every opportunity for bathroom humor. (You'd be surprised at how many spelling words have two consecutive P's in them.)

Hope this helps!

2:59 PM  
Blogger Katrina said...

You've definitely got your hands full, Phil! It's amazing how different two kids growing up in the same house can be. Knowing you, though, you'll come up with some creative twist on your methods in no time. Every kid has their currency; the trick is figuring out what it is!

(By the way, thank you so much for the opportunity to guest blog and for the lovely and generous intro you gave me. It made my day!)

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question: You mentioned that your daughter had a different first grade teacher last year; why did you decide to homeschool her this year instead of continuing with the status quo?

6:31 PM  
Blogger Katey said...

If I can homeschool 4 you can SO do will take awhile to get used to each other...I have read that for every year of public school at least a month to adjust at home...I would say maybe 2 months to 1 year....and in my best Arnold voice....YOU CAN DO IT!!!

8:00 PM  
Blogger mamatutwo said...

I'm feeling your pain! Today was our second day of homeschooling for the year, and while things seem to be rolling along pretty much as expected, my first grader(my own daughter) did ask me today, "Are you a mom?" When I answered yes and asked her why she'd ask that, she said, "You're acting like a teacher."

11:24 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one! Apparently my oldest son's math was "torture" yesterday. Being a new homeschooler, I am just taking one day at a time.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Don't mess with my recess!

Just wanted to say that cause it sounded kinda cool.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

why did you decide to homeschool her this year instead of continuing with the status quo?

Basically, we wanted both kids at home. We would've started her after kindergarten but she asked to go to school "all day so I can eat lunch in the cafeteria."

Well, she did that, and figured out it wasn't very exciting, so when 1st grade ended she was more than ready to join her brother at home.

It's taking some practice on my part, juggling the two of them, but I think I'll get the hang of it.

The best thing is, we can take field trips now and not worry about rushing back to pick her up at 3:15.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Ed (zoesdad) said...

You're my hero! I lose my mind just trying to help the kids with homework.

I'd have to turn it over to the dog--he's pretty laid back. Cat's too high strung.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

We just started our home schooling adventure with our oldest and it proved to be as hard as I had anticipated. Granted, baby brother hasn't started preschool yet, so I'm praying for a smoother 2nd week. Guess only time will tell! I cannot imagine throwing my daughter into the mix which is why she is attending kindergarten at the local school. Wish you all the best for better days ahead!

2:22 PM  
Blogger Whit said...

That sounds like quite the handful, but very cool. I'm sure she'll come around when she sees the lunches are better.

11:15 PM  

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