One Week In: Thoughts & Thanks

First, the thanks–to all the new readers (and old ones I never knew!) that have offered suggestions, links, and ideas. You women have been more helpful than I could have imagined, and I am immensely grateful. I hope that over time I’ll be able to be as helpful to some of you. For what it’s worth, I’m collecting a lot of interesting links over on my pinterest home schooling board; maybe some of those will be interesting to some of you. (They skew towards science, and towards older rather than younger kids, just fyi.) I’m also hoping to update my blogroll, which is currently useless.

The thoughts:

  • At least for now, PK needs, I think, a little prodding to do things other than video games. He responds surprisingly well to this, though, and is also surprisingly positive about homeschooling so far (admittedly I am starting slow!), so yay. I will do a little prodding.
  • My husband has been more helpful than I expected (given his work schedule)–and, because he’s more the direct instruction type, that mixes things up for PK a bit. So far this week he’s done some math with PK and some history.
  • What we’ve done this week:
  1. Science: club soda v. tonic water taste test (was primarily about methodology and writing down observations–a good start on that front); video about possible uses of the Large Hadron Collider (which led to some discussion and explanation–from him to me–of the ideas in it); online games about natural selection, radioactive dating, and the chemicals behind neural stimulation. (The video and online games are available via the pinterest link above, if anyone is interested; I am too lazy to do individual links.)
  2. Language Arts: writing down the club soda/tonic water stuff; literary archetypes and formalism (generic plot conventions of fairy tales and adventure stories and character tropes in Western movies); started reading Alice in Wonderland; practiced with his computer’s dictation software (which is going to need a lot more experimenting before we can really make it work effectively to write!); daily essayistic explanations of various scientific/video game/literary topics.
  3. Math: 3d graphing, a word problem in zombie algebra (also on pinterest page). He keeps putting off looking at this math book I want him to consider adopting; will have him sit down and spend 10 minutes looking it over this weekend.
  4. Social Studies: movie–“Coliseum: A Gladiator’s Story”; history lecture on civil war battleships (interdisciplinary with science) from the husband.
  5. Arts & Crafts: amusingly, PK identified this one himself, as he was building cannons during his PE play time in order to fire at the pawn statue in our front yard.
  6. Independent Learning: along with the Arts & Crafts thing above, PK also explained how Minecraft has helped him learn about spatial relationships, direction and navigation, strategy, planning, design, and problem solving.
  7. PE: We still need to work on getting some serious movement going, but he has been good about taking breaks from the computer and going outside every day, so that’s a start.
  8. Field Trip: Wide Sky Days Conference in San Diego.
  • For next week, I think I’ll step it up a bit by having him start reading some history (specifically, The Mental Floss History of the World, which is right up PK’s alley, tone-wise) and spend some time every day with at least one of the links from my pinterest page (his choice). I also want to get us both out of the house for a long walk or hike at least once this week.
  • The biggest challenge, I suspect, is my own mental health issues. I’ve been struggling this week with my energy level, as the days get shorter; Thursday we both did nothing but hold the couch down, I’m afraid. I have an appointment with my psychiatrist this week to adjust the goddamn meds, but one of the down sides of homeschooling is that when I was having problems with depression and he was in school, I could better mask it by napping while he was gone; but now that he’s home all the time, my inactivity engenders his. The up side, I guess, is that homeschooling, if it’s going to succeed, is going to force me to be more aggressive in treating my own depression. (One never sees issues of mental health discussed w/r/t homeschooling, which I think is weird, so I’m going to be making a point of talking about this because I can’t be the only hs mom who has to deal with this.)
  • On a similar topic, I need to follow up on my request for a psychiatric referral from the Summit Center (which did the assessments for PK last spring). He adamantly does not want to do any more talk therapy right now, but his anxiety (separation anxiety? GAD?) is a bit of an obstacle, and I want to find someone who can help me decide whether or not medication might be something to consider. That said, he is getting much less reactive whenever he recalls his middle school experience, and is much less hostile in general than he has been, both of which are very reassuring. Needless to say, the shrinks that our insurance covers have zero overlap with shrinks who deal specifically with gifted kids, and neither group has any overlap with shrinks who are in our actual city. Sigh.
  • Another big homeschool advantage: it is going to be WAY easier to schedule appointments now that I don’t have to work around school hours or document every goddamn thing for the school district.
  • The week after next is a week-long field trip to San Diego–which will be fun, both because PK really likes San Diego and because it will get us out of the house and help with the inactivity problem as a consequence. PK wants to take me to the Ulysses S. Grant Hotel so that I can have the mock turtle soup; I want to take him to Balboa Park and visit some museums. Extra bonus: travel always means we do more reading and less internetting, and I have a stack of books from our summer vacation up to Seattle that I need to dive into.

3 responses to “One Week In: Thoughts & Thanks

  • ladydianastarr

    Good job mama. No, not a lot of us want to talk about the mental health issues for many reasons I could point specifically to from my own experience. It is not easy living in intensity. Glad you are taking care of you too!!

  • Anne

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I’ll first say week 1 of home/unschooling at our house has looked so different than my imagination. Work. In. Progress.

    Re: Talk Therapy for PK–I know you have several goals you’re working toward and this might not quite hit the nail on the head–I’ve never met a teen boy who wanted to go to talk therapy, but I’ve seen great work done with teen boy groups. We have several in town that bring together boys who are gifted & it helps them find friends and practice social skills. The boys I know have been more eager to go when they know they’re not alone.

    Thanks for being so open to discussion.

  • tedra

    @Anne–thanks. I think he’d benefit from a group for sure, both on the processing front and on the social skills front. Group anything is another thing he loathes right now, but it’s definitely something I have in the back of my mind as something to work towards.

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