A Magazine About Food, Art & Exchange In Midtown Kingston, Published By The Hudson Valley Current.

Daddy Debrief: Here we go

by David DeWitt

Homeschool is now in session.

The first few days were exhausting, my mind pervaded with doubt. Is it going to be enough for him? Is he getting the knowledge he wants/needs? Can I do this? Am I a good teacher?

Luckily Finn is not one to be silent if something isn’t working for him.

Back in the Summer when we were talking about homeschooling, he was inquiring about what it would be like. He asked what he would be learning.

“What do you want to learn?” I asked.

“Well, definitely POTIONS!” he said, his thoughts firmly swirling in Harry Potter world.
“And of course ABC’s and stuff like that,” he said.

It turns out the ABCs are a good place to begin. Imagine that. Though he has been writing for quite some time, he’s never really learned uniformity of letters, etc.
We eased into it by drawing shapes and working with clay.

Thus far we have essentially focussed each day around a letter. We explore the shape of it, the sounds it makes and all the words we can think of that begin with it. And at the end of the day we draw an artistic interpretation of the letter. Then the next day, another letter.

It’s amazing now how fast the days are passing.

My friend Ian, having learned from previous conversations what we were doing, heard Finn talking about “M”. “You’re already on M?” he said, surprised.

I was surprised as well. It got me thinking about how our days will be structured when we run out of letters. But I have some ideas. And our days are not only about letters.

We do our daily exercise, which Finn leads. He has some very interesting names for his exercise creations. I’m very fond of “the folding snake” which looks like a combination of a few yoga positions performed in quick succession. But my absolute favorite is running in place, which he calls “the runs” and the dance moves he includes. Afterwards we have a little meditation before we formally begin.

Mondays, he has a music lesson with Erin (which we call Music Mondays with Mommy), Wednesdays he has art with me and cooking with Erin. After a little convincing, he now sees how recipes are very similar to potions. And we’re noticing that he is more willing to eat what he has helped prepare.

Other advantages of homeschooling that I’m noticing right away are: Start time is flexible, no rushing out the door. He gets as many ‘turns’ at the chalk board as he wants and he gets all of his questions answered right away. “Lessons” tend to move along at a faster pace than I expected and if we veer off on a tangent, that’s ok.

Lack of energy is a hurdle some days (on both of our parts), but regular exercise, and remembering to have snacks helps that. The biggest challenge is reminding myself that we’re doing just what we need to be doing.

It’s still just the beginning, but I suppose that’s the best place to start.