Nomadic Dreamers
...our unschooling journey

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Location: Fairbanks, Alaska, United States

Saturday, December 31, 2005

T the Protestor

T has always been one to speak his mind when it comes to injustice, whether it is not following rules on the school playground or environmental problems he sees while we are driving around town. His newest endeavor is protesting. He is so up in arms about all the trees that have been cut down and land cleared for post housing. Some of this land sits with piles of rotting trees since it was discovered that the ground was permafrost (nice of them to discover this after cutting the trees). When T found out he was incensed. He now wants to protest the unnecessary cutting of trees.

Once his friends come home from Christmas break, he wants to have a meeting at our house to organize his protesting group....get their input on how they feel about the trees being cut down, what they think can be done about it, make signs, etc. Basically rally the troops. ;o) He did say that he "will have to get permission from his friends' parents" first. LOL I'm trying to get him to see that letter writing and such is also a valuable way of letting yourself be heard. I know T feels very passionately about a number of things but never thought he'd become a social activist at the age of nine. Thoughts of a few kids protesting on post remind me of two things: Hermoine's SPEW campaign in "Harry Potter" and the running joke Jody and I have about "boycotting Hell" at the local baptist church.

Books, books, books.....and games

I think this Christmas could be described as "The Year of the Books." Two days before Christmas T said "I know what I want for Christmas!" I was screaming on the inside "It's two days before Christmas and NOW you decide to tell me what you want?? It's a wee bit late for that!" Keeping my composure I asked him what he wanted. "Books, books, and more books!" was his reply. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Over the past few months I bought several books to give to T for Christmas -- "Wizardology," "Dragonology" and its companion book "The Dragonology Handbook," "The Star Wars Ultimate Visual Guide," "How to be a Pirate," and "Inkheart."

You just never know what books may spark T's interest. He's used the two dragon books together. One has rune "translations" and he is using that to translate runes into English from the other book. The Star Wars guide seems to be a permanent fixture on our dining table. T flips through it whenever he is eating, and I've been known to search for vague Star Wars trivia when both of us can't seem to answer each others questions.

The two "ology" books are so imaginative and well thought out. They are, of course, fiction but are written from a research, nonfiction standpoint. The same goes for the dragon handbook and the pirate book. Dad was not thrilled with this. He seems to think it will confuse T on what is real and what is not....whatever.....

T received "Sly 3" for Christmas and has been playing it whenever the TV is free. With the Christmas money he received he bought "Heroscape" and "Star Wars Battlefront" for PS2. It looks like the Star Wars game will take center stage on the PS2 for a while. Heroscape looks really cool and should be fun to play if I ever take time to figure out the rules! It has a ton of hexagonal pieces so you can build your own 3D gameboard and comes with a number of playing pieces that are similar to Mageknight characters. So far, T has just really enjoyed making up his own "worlds" and playing with the game as he sees fit.

Critters, critters everywhere...

Our home is beginning to look like a zoo of miniature proportion. The fish and basenjis are now sharing their home with Merry the cockatiel (we've had her since Aug) and the newest additions of two hermit crabs and soon-to-be triops (who are still in egg form).

We found the hermit crabs at Petco several weeks ago, but their new living conditions were not that ideal -- a smallish critter keeper. After some research, T and I went out to gather up supplies for the perfect "crabitat" -- a ten gallon aquarium with screen lid (couldn't find a glass lid), under tank heater, sand, driftwood, and a nice large water bowl. Because of its size, we set up the crabitat in the computer room. T thought Merry's squawking would hurt the crabs' ears, but they will have to learn to be roommates. ;o) It seems that the crabs are quite happy; our more active crab hightailed it around the aquarium several times, racing through the length of the driftwood, examining the large shell, messing with the fake plant, and spending quite a bit of time in the water and food dishes. HAPPY CRABS! Contrary to their name, hermit crabs actually live in large colonies so we may end up purchasing one or two more to give our guys a more colony feel.

T purchased a triops kit from Schoolhouse Express a few days ago, but the hatching project has been on hold since we needed bottled water for their little tank. If he's interested, we'll get them set up sometime today.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Post Christmas Euphoria parents have left after a weeklong visit, and all is now right in the house. Even T was relieved to have the house to ourselves once again. He was a tremendously good sport overrall during the visit. Dad insists on watching every news channel nearly 24/7, except when there is football, basketball, golf, or a car race on. *sigh* T had to vie for time on the TV so he could play on his PS2.

The week was busy. We came across two Star Trek models (Enterprise and an old Klingon vessel) that T put together. He also received Sly 3 for the PS2 for Christmas so he has spent every chance he can playing it.

I bought a backgammon game before my parents arrived, in hopes that Dad would teach T how to play (he taught me the game when I was T's age). Unfortunately, that didn't happen, but Mom reintroduced herself to the game by reviewing the instructions, and we played a number of games one night. Hopefully I will be able to teach T if he is interested. I could see him being a ruthless backgammon player. I read somewhere that backgammon is derived from the ancient Egyptian game "Senet" (don't know how accurate that claim is), and T is very interested in learning it. I have it on order from an online store.

Tonight T and I watched a program on Egyptian curses and the 10 plagues of Egypt...very interesting stuff!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Counting down to Christmas...

T's been going nuts over the Christmas nuts. For two years now, T gets to open up a hollow walnut for each day during the week leading up to Christmas. I guess they aren't actually hollow - they have a little strip of paper that give a clue to a small present. He may get things such as Silly Putty, a new book, etc. Today he got a small set of Magnetix, which are ball and rod magnets.

T received a box today from his grandma, and I let him open two out of the three gifts. He got another set of Magnetix and two Bionicles. He spent quite a bit of time in his room today watching a movie and putting together his Bionicles. He's been tinkering with the magnets throughout the day, making cubes and other various shapes/images, including his interpretation of Phineas Gage.

Last night T and I watched a program on Stonehenge -- it was fascinating! They talked about all sorts of things, from the theories on what it was used for to possible ideas on the construction. At one point T looked at the stones and said "hey those are sandstone!" Later, they revealed that the largest stones were, indeed, sandstone!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Well, the week leading up to Christmas is upon us, and I'm working at top speed to get ready for Mom and Dad to arrive at the end of the week. T and I ran errands for part of the day...picking up a cable box for the master bedroom, the prime rib for Christmas Dinner, and a TV/DVD combo for T's room (BAD mom!).

This afternoon, T watched "Valiant" while putting together two models we picked up at Michaels. For the past few days he has really wanted to build an airplane model, so today he built a stealth fighter and an Apache. It's amazing how industrious he can be!

This evening T played on Neopets while I installed the cable box and finally attached the phone to the wall (GO ME!). After successfully hooking up the cable, I discovered that we get many more stations upstairs than on our main TV...go figure. T and I ended up watching a really cool reality show about the Iron Age on History Channel International. They had a group of 17 folks (men, women, and kids) living in an Iron Age Celtic "village" for seven weeks...very interesting stuff. We were lucky and watched part 1 tonight.

I've started working on a homeschool portfolio for T. It includes a basic course study outline just in case anyone ever tries to question what we are doing. With Alaska being so lax I doubt that will happen, but I'd rather play it safe. I also plan to write down any outings, a summary of activities week to week, and all the books that T reads.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Today T wanted to go to a movie. Since there really aren't any out that we haven't seen (except for Peter Jackson's "King Kong" which I don't know if T can handle), T asked if we could head to Value Village. We can't seem to leave this store without a bagfull of books, and today was no exception. Their kid's books are dirt cheap, however, so there is never any real damage to the pocketbook.

In addition to the various kid's novels, we found two books on ancient Egypt and one on the Aztecs. We also found a game T really enjoys called "Guess Who?"

This afternoon and evening, T spent time some time flipping through the Aztec book and looking at several "Calvin & Hobbes" cartoons I printed off the computer. From reading one of the comic strips, he was inspired to make a shrunken head...go figure! So, next thing I know T is diving into the fridge's produce drawer in search of an apple (future shrunken head).

T spent quite a bit of time on Neopets -- surprise, surprise -- and found another game where you can build your own levels. This one is a bit more complex, and we had to download the small program so he could make them. He learned how and where his saved files were located, how to copy/paste, and how to upload his levels onto the Neopets' site. I think he watched me only once and was then able to do it himself. He's probably built a half dozen or so levels already tonight.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I do believe that we have entered the world of the night owls with Tristan. Not too surprising, since both J and I also tend to be like the night more than the day. The past two nights I have left T to his own devices on the computer while I headed to bed. Yesterday morning I woke up at 4AM to find him still playing away on Neopets. I had him get off and go to bed - he was none too happy about that. Looking back, I should have just ignored it. If he had been up all night and had a rough day yesterday due to lack of sleep, it probably would have been a learning experience for him.

This morning I woke up expecting him to be on the computer still, but I found him in bed. Right now it is noon, and he is still asleep. I need to get some things done around the house so I'm sure that activity will wake him up. I think I'll let this go on for a while and see if he can settle onto a sleep schedule on his own. He is so used to having his entire day dictated to him from the moment he gets up to the time he goes to bed. I'd like to allow him more control over his days.

The past two days, T has spent a lot of time playing Neopets and yesterday watched a few hours of Star Trek TNG. Last night we watched "Kronks New Groove." Right...... That we could have passed by. At the end T said "we watched all of this movie for THAT?!?!" I don't think he was real impressed either.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

T is so driven. From the moment he wakes up until way past his bedtime (or at least the time I think he should be in bed) he is on the go. And it isn't just mindless wandering or uncontrollable motion - there is a purpose for everything he does. Today is no exception.

In town today we stopped at Schoolhouse Express. Apart from the comic shop, this is by far T's favorite store. We picked up two "Dragon Slayer's Academy" books and some wooden geometric blocks. T found a great "Make Your Own Mummy" kit so we bought that as well. Then we went by JoAnns so I could find a small sketchpad. While there T asked if we could pick up some more burlap for a backup Scarecrow mask. When I was looking at the drawing paper, T saw a neat quill and inkpot. Yep, that ended up leaving the store with us.

Once home T was on the run with his projects. He watched "The Mummy Returns" while going through his mummy kit. We made the canopic jars and T wrapped his mummy...and then unwrapped and wrapped again. He worked with the quill a bit. I was unable to get it to write at all, but T was quite successful.

For most of the evening T played on Neopets. He spent a few hours making his own levels to a certain game, each one more intricate and tricky than the next.

T, of course, never forgets about anything so at around 11PM he asks if we can pull out the sewing machine to make his mask. *sigh* As tired as I was (and still am!) it was hard to know I would curb his enthusiasm by telling him "not tonight." So out came the sewing machine and soon we had a duplicate mask.

I'm throwing caution to the wind when it comes to bedtimes and see how T does. Bedtime has always been a battle and with him having difficulties sleeping, forcing him to go to bed just makes things so much worse. So for now I'm not even going to mention when he has to go to bed and see how he reacts to it. I think he'll be staying up way later than I'm comfortable with, but hopefully we will soon fall into a rhythm. You never know til you try!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I feel lazy. Completely and utterly lazy. Not that T and I don't do anything, but we are getting up later and later each day. It is wonderful to catch up on some much needed sleep.

T had Jr Nordics today. While he went off to ski, I stayed behind in the lodge and read. He came back pretty bumped up, physically and emotionally. They had skied on a trail dubbed "Roller Coaster," and T had his share of falls along the way. At one point, he hit his head and one of the other skiers proceeded to laugh at his troubles. Poor kid has such a sensitive nature that the laughing probably hurt worse than any bruises he might have received today.

This afternoon T discovered the auctions on Neopets. Oh joy. Today Neopets, tomorrow eBay. He's been checking on several items for hours now, making sure that he is still the highest bidder. He wants items for his shop. Donald Trump, T is not. He'll buy things for his shop and then sell them for less than the price he bought them for. His reasoning? He thinks people are charging way too much, and T wants everyone to be able to afford to buy things.

We finished making the Turkish Delight this evening,'s none too delightful. It was like playing with incredibly sticky and thick slime, and it was insanely sweet. And not a yummy chocolate sweet, but a fruity sweet (it was made with oranges). Icky, icky, icky.

Before heading to bed T and I critiqued bits and pieces of "The Mummy Returns." T can pick out the tiniest mistakes and details in movies. I truly wish I had his skill of observation.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I think T has become a teen in just a period of days....or at least developed the sleeping habits of one. He was up until nearly 3:30AM this morning and woke up at 11:30AM and only because I ventured downstairs and disturbed him. I'm wondering if I should just let this go and see how it develops (is it just a stage he's going through?) or if I should try to "force" him to sleep? Right now I've been pretty lax...allowing him to read, listen to his audiobooks, and even watch a movie. I think if I make him stay in his darkened room, it will just stress him out more and make his insomnia (or whatever it is) even worse.

I signed T up to play at the CDC for a few hours today. They were having a "Parents Shopping Day" this afternoon. I thought this would be a great opportunity for T and I to have a bit of time away from eachother. I could do some last minute Christmas shopping, while he had a chance to place with some other kids. Although it was supposed to last for four hours, I picked T up after only 2 1/2 hours -- I was bored! I milled around a few businesses but couldn't keep myself occupied for the entire time. I did, however, find another copy of "The Phantom Menace" which I lost at the theater yesterday. When I picked up T he was teaching three other boys how to play the card game "Cheat." LOL

When we arrived home, T went to see if a friend could play. The friend's mom, however, was babysitting. T said it was ok his friend couldn't play since the boy had "more important things to do" by helping his mom. It's crazy how this kid can fly off the handle at some of the smallest things (at least in my mind) but can come up with the most mature thoughts at times. T spent the rest of the afternoon playing on Neopets -- opening a few shops of his own and reading a neopets comic.

Tonight we made stage one of Turkish Delight. Once we mixed all the ingredients together, T ran from the room feigning illness, since the concoction had a nasty, yellow gelatinous look. I had hoped to tint it red, but it instead came out more bubblegum pink. We'll let it harden overnight, and tomorrow we will cut it into pieces and then roll them in powdered sugar.

T spent some time watching bits and pieces of "The Mummy Returns" extra footage. He is really into the making of the movies, especially when it comes to the visual effects. Now whenever he sees footage of Imhotep (the Mummy) he refers to him in stages...."oh, Mom, he's in Stage 2 in that scene!" or "I think there he is in Stage 4."

I found a skull hologram pendant at Hallmark a few weeks before Halloween. I had meant to give it to T but misplaced it shortly after I bought it. Wouldn't you know that I found it this evening. T was thrilled and has dubbed it his "Pendant of Death." He asked me how holograms are made, and I didn't have a clue. So, we looked up the answer in "The Handy Physics Answer Book" I found at Gullivers a few weeks ago. On the back cover it lists several sample questions, including "why is it dangerous to look at a solar eclipse?" Looking up this answer led to a discussion on pinhole cameras and how to make them and then the difference between solar and lunar eclipses.

During our evening walk with Jazzie, T contemplated the rationale behind the "Book of the Dead" and the "Book of Life" in the two Mummy movies. In the movies, the "Book of the Dead" is used to bring people back to life, while the "Book of Life" takes life away. Both T and I think it would make more sense to switch those around (death brings about death, life begets life). So we talked....and talked....and talked some more about this subject.

Right now T is hunkered down in bed under his new reading lamp. I'm hoping he'll read until he falls asleep. :o)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Oh, the moodiness that constant togetherness creates...or does it? Poor T has had the worst time sleeping over the past several days, and I think it is really starting to show in his overrall mood and attitude during his waking hours.

We went to see "Narnia" today, and I was really surprised at how full the theater was, especially for a school day. There were a handful of kids, but the vast majority were adults. It was a very good and wellmade movie! The villain (the White Witch) was despicable, just as a villain should be, and downright creepy.

After the movie, we ran a few quick errands, and I realized that I had left T's new book, "Star Wars: Phantom menace" at the theater. By the time we arrived at the theater, the book was nowhere to be found. T gave me the silent, pouty, ugly-look treatment for a few hours.

As the afternoon wore on, T became more agreeable (must've been the time on neophytes....) and was eager to go to "The Nutcracker." My enthusiasm had really waned...I was tired and just not in a good mood. We did go, however -- at least for a bit.

At the intermission, T asked if we could leave, and I was more than ready. I must be a completely uncultured swine, but I found it to be incredibly tedious and downright boring. The few crying kids and the constant whispering/talking of the people a few rows behind us had T about ready to go over the edge.

Before heading home, we stopped at Taco Bell to grab some late dinner. On the way home, T started laughing hysterically and was constantly cracking himself up over his invented jokes. It seems like his mood improves as the day goes on.

During dinner (grilled chipotle burritos - not bad!) we got into a discussion of who is the most evil --- the Scarecrow, the Steward of Gondor, or the White Witch. I voted for a tie between the Steward and the Witch. T thought it would most definitely be the Steward. LOL

At some point during the day, T asked me what Turkish delight is. It was somesort of candy/sweet that one of the characters in "Narnia" is quite fond of. I had no clue as to what it actually was so I googled it for T and came up with a recipe. He asked if we could make some so I will probably pick up the ingredients tomorrow.

It looks to be another late night affair at our house. It is nearly 1AM, and here I am, typing away with T still awake listening to "Harry Potter" -- he's almost finished with the audio book, by the way.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The past few nights have been hard for T; he hasn't been able to fall asleep until about 1AM. Thank goodness we don't have the pressure of having to get up early for school. He'd be absolutely miserable. I'm thinking of buying him a reading lamp to sit next to his bed so if he can't sleep he can read/play quietly and have some subdued light in his room. The bright light in his room can't be conducive at all to sleep.

Today T came up with a new plan in regards to chores and his allowance. He thinks it would be best if he were paid by the day. If he does chores on 4 out of 7 days, then he is only paid for those four days. Smart kid, since for a while he wouldn't get any allowance if he forgot one or two days during the week. He wants to make up a weekly chart so he can mark off what days he does his chores...and what days he partially does them. Computing his weekly allowance could get complicated! LOL

We rented the Narnia Playstation game and the original "War of the Worlds" today. T got quite a kick out of the movie and laughed hysterically through much of it (probably not what the director quite had in mind for an audience reaction, but....). The incredibly dramatic music and the primitive special effects (being able to see the wires suspending the UFOs) make for a great Mystery Science Theater 3000 opportunity. T really seemed to enjoy the Narnia game. It's amazing how he can guide himself through a brandnew game without any instruction whatsoever. Although I wouldn't have a clue as to how to play, I must say it really is beautifully made game.

It looks like we messed up when we created T's neopets account. We haven't been able to officially "activate" it so he is locked out of many of the features. So, we spent a bit of time making him a new account, creating a new neopet for him, etc. T spent most of his evening on the computer. A number of the Neopet games are very similar to old Atari and arcade games, such as Space Invaders and Qbert. It's funny to see new twists on old ideas.

Tomorrow will be an eventful day. We plan to see "Narnia" on its opening day and will be attending "The Nutcracker" tomorrow night.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Today was pretty low-key. Both T and I slept in quite late and spend the morning reading (me) and playing on the computer (T). In the afternoon we ran a few errands in order to get ready for the impending visit of the grandparents....a stop at the Class 6 for wine and Alaska Amber was in order.

After school got out T had a friend over to play for a few hours. They bounced around from watching movies, playing Playstation, and messing with T's neopets.

Most of T's evening was spent on the computer and choreographing/photograping more clone trooper battles, while I watched LOST (a rerun, darnit!). I did figure out how to scan documents into pdf format tonight - go me!

While we were driving around this afternoon, T piped up and said he was "happy." It was strange. I can't remember the last time he just exclaimed how he was feeling. I'm thinking that pulling him from school was the best thing we could have done.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Well it has been a week since we withdrew T from school. It's quite a liberating feeling, to be honest. No more worries about who from the school might contact me today, what T's mood will be when he arrives home, staying up way too late to listen to all of T's concerns and worries about the upcoming day and past school days. Even though I'm sure we will have our good days and bad with homeschooling, there is already a more relaxed atmosphere in the house. While walking Jazzie this afternoon, T thanked me for homeschooling him. He's generally been quiet about the whole affair. I'm not sure if he is having any misgivings about it or not. It is still early, however. Hopefully we will all remain happy with this decision.

We picked up the Star Wars Episode III soundtrack at WalMart today, along with "Cinderella Man" and the second volume of "Clone Wars." As soon as we got home, T was up in his bedroom and you could hear Star Wars blaring from his CD player. He knows exactly where each piece of music is in the movie and can rattle off large chunks of dialog to correspond with the music. He's definitely inherited J's knack for memorizing movie lines! T was so excited to see that "Clone Wars Vol 2" had been released; he's been anxiously looking for it for months. One of the special features of "Clone Wars" was an animated short entitled "Revenge of the Brick," that involved Legos Star Wars. It was quite hilarious.

This evening T played Neopets while listening to his new music. He's really learning his way around the computer and has shown me a few tricks. I saw him this evening use the "search" function on the neopets site to find a game he was looking for.

Right now he's doing double reading "duty"....reading "Batman Begins" (for a second time) while listening to "Harry Potter."

I'm reading a new book "Parenting a Free Child: An Unschooled Life" which has been incredibly hard to put down. I'm bouncing back and forth between watching "Cinderella Man" or finishing my book tonight!

I decided to watch "Cinderella Man" and although it kept my attention, I turned it off after about 30 minutes...I was just too tired to stay up all night! Plus, poor T came wandering down the stairs at around midnight. So we headed upstairs and told him he could mess about his room for awhile before trying to get back to sleep. He listened to "Harry Potter" while making up scenes with his clone troopers. He then went to photographing the scenes and taking very short movies, complete with music and sound effects. I'm sure he'll be thrilled with the camcorder he is going to get for Christmas. We both ended up crawling into bed at about 1AM. A very late night for the both of us.

Monday, December 05, 2005

We are just a few weeks away from the winter solstice, and it sure does make getting up in the morning difficult! I had to drag myself out of bed at 8AM, and everytime I walked past my bedroom the pillows and comforter beckoned. It would be so easy to just sleep the entire winter away!

T spent the morning watching some of "Batman Begins" and playing around on the Neopet website. After lunch we headed out to buy tickets for some of the performances that are happening this month -- "The Nutcracker" and "A Thousand Cranes." T saw "The Nutcracker" a few years ago with his first grade class and has mentioned that he'd like to see it again. Believe it or not, I've never even seen it so it will be a new experience for me. "A Thousand Cranes" seems a bit deep for the Christmas season, but it is considered children's theater so we shall see. I've heard great things about the local theater troops.

We then went and poked around the new Petco that opened a few weeks ago, and we ended up walking out with two hermit crabs (yes, I know...BAD MOM!!). T took great care to get their new home set up and made sure they settled in well.

The rest of T's afternoon was spent playing Neopets, and it seems he's become quite the proficient card player. He's been playing a game called "Cheat" (known to adults as the cardgame "BS"). Don't know if it's good he can beat folks at this game or not! LOL He also played with his megablocks while listening to "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince."

This evening we watched "The Mummy Returns." Kind of a mindless movie, but after watching three hours of DaVinci last night I think we could afford it. ;o) T recently read the adult novel of the movie and spent much of the time telling me what was coming up and how the movie differed from the book. Nothing escapes this kid!

I spent some time today comparing various math curriculums. It was enough to make my head spin! I feel like I need to rush and have some ready to teach T, but I also don't want to push anything on him right now. I think all the other "subjects" will come naturally, through just following T's interests. He has so many, that I know we can easily incorporate so many subjects into a single topic. Math, however, does concern me a bit, especially if he/we decide to put him back into school next year.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Well, three days have come and gone.... They really seemed like your typical long weekend....T playing a lot on both the PS2 and the computer, watching some movies, etc.

I introduced T to "Neopets." I'm not so sure that was a good idea. He now has a total of four pets - one that he "designed" himself and the other three were adopted. Grief, he probably would have adopted 100 more if he had been allowed. He wants to help them all...even if they are only little virtual critters. He now has a small house built and is earning "neopoints" by the thousands in order to buy food, medicine, and other necessities for his little charges.

Last night we went to Glow Putt for a Christmas party. Funny how there are so many people in the area that wear more than one hat in the community. The mayor for North Pole, for example, is also a science teacher and the director for the yearly science camp. The owner of Glow Putt is also the chief meteorologist for one of our local TV channels. Anyway....the party was fun, and T managed to get at least four holes in one (or is that hole in one's??).

Today was spent milling around the house, and then we headed off to the library, BBV, and the comic book store where I bought a new game called "Set." We'll see how that game goes. Right now T is watching a documentary on Leonardo DaVinci.

Most of my weekend has been spent reading. Heck, most of my free time (and then some!) has been spent, internet articles, email groups... I read one homeschooling book ("The Unschooling Handbook") in two late evenings. I'm now working on several books simultaneously: "Teach Your Own" "The Teenage Liberation Handbook" and "Raising Your Spirited Child." That last one might as well be called "Raising T" as I've never seen a more apt description of T in anything I've ever read. Both of the other books are incredibly insightful when it comes to homeschooling. Even though T is not a teenager and he's not trying to liberate himself from school (the main premise of the book) it does have a number of ideas on how to incorporate learning while just LIVING -- doing the things you're interested in, following your dreams, etc.

T has been really moody the past few days, getting frustrated extremely easily and just grumpy for the most part. I don't know if he's having conflicting feelings of leaving school...or maybe this is how he always is at school and I'm just now seeing the "real" T? Hopefully it's just a phase and nothing more serious than that.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

So here we are, the first day as homeschoolers.

T got up fairly early and played "The Mummy Returns" on his PS2 for a little while. After reminding him that we had a few errands to run later that morning, he went up and got dressed. He bounded down the stairs with books under his arms. One on Egypt and the other on the human body. "Where should we start, Mom? Afterall, we are doing homeschool now!" While eating breakfast, he thumbed through his body book thinking of different ways that I can test him on material.

Before we left the house, T began to mope. I asked him what was wrong, and he said that he was "bored." BORED?!?! It wasn't even 10:30AM, and I already had a child that was bored. This didn't look good. Hopefully he was surly since he wasn't real thrilled about getting out of the house.

Noon approached, and T asked if was almost lunchtime. I said that it was and asked him if he'd like to grab something to eat. His response? "But, Mom, when are we going to do recess? We always have recess before lunch, or we can do it after since you are the teacher -- even the principal! -- now." *sigh*

The rest of the afternoon was spent playing on the PS2, while I discovered the world of "neopets." I could see that being quite an addictive little activity; although, I bet T would enjoy it. I plan on showing it to him tomorrow.

This evening T finished his Scarecrow mask (it would have been finished last night, but I needed to hunt down some thick black thread for the finishing touches), and we watched "Lilo and Stitch 2." It's late, and T is now hunkered down on the couch (his bed for the night) with one of his many Goosebumps books.

I can see this being a very unsettling time for both T and I. For T, he'll need to abandon his "schoolish" thinking while dealing with a wave of different emotions, a task that may prove more difficult than I first thought. I never thought that he would be making references to school throughout the day - and it did happen all day long. For me, I'll have to gently guide T along this path and encourage him all the way, while working through my own feelings.

Schooling on the Homefront

Well, I never thought the time would come. J and I have tossed around the idea here and there for years, but today was the day. Today was the day we withdrew T from public school and began the journey of homeschooling.

This has been a long time coming. The situation at school this year started off poorly and has only continued to deteriorate. Hopefully T will regain his love of learning, and his feelings of self-worth will improve by being schooled at home. For me, most of the day has alternated between periods of exhilaration and nausea. On one hand, I think this could be such a wonderful opportunity for not just T but our entire family, but I can't help admit that the prospect of homeschooling scares the living daylights out of me. Can I really do this? Are we doing it for the right reasons? Will Tristan love it or hate it? Will I love it or hate it? The questions today were neverending.

We'll have a period of deschooling, and I'm really not sure how long that will be. A few weeks? A month? Maybe much longer? Most of that will be dependent on T - how quickly he is able to let go of his feelings toward the school and the ways he has been taught in the past. I have a feeling it will take me longer to deschool than T. I have a lot of anger to deal with in regards to the school.

This first evening of "freedom" was incredibly busy for T. After school we headed to Blockbuster to find a few movies and then to JoAnn's for some burlap. T's latest movie craze centers around "Batman Begins", and he was determined to make a Scarecrow mask, modeled after one of the villains in the movie. He was eager to start this project, but I had him put it on hold temporarily so I could watch "LOST." While I indulged myself watching my favorite program, T entertained himself by listening to "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" and playing with his Star Wars figures.

We then started on the mask. So here we are, 9:00 at night, hunched over the sewing machine I can barely use, trying to make a mask from a length of burlap. T successfully made quite a nice replica of the Scarecrow mask, with very little help from me. Of course, we then had to watch bits and pieces of "Batman Begins" in order to compare T's mask to the real thing. He has a few alterations in mind that we will complete tomorrow.