Meducation

So, a new feature to help get me to post with some regularity: Mondays, I’m going to talk about Homeschooling. I’m missing the traditional alliterative quality of such features—Meducational Mondays just lacks that certain something (namely sense). I have been planning for a long time to start home preschool when Joey turns two, but dithering about whether to start right at his birthday or wait until after the holidays. Then I had a series of conversations that led me to check the two-year milestones and see that he’s significantly behind in language, after being well ahead of the curve right up until Kit was born. So we’re starting just a hair early. For now, I’m picking a theme for each week and then several activities for each day, trying to include an art activity and a book; we’re only doing an hour a day, and that is already quite a strain on his attention span. Day 1, last Monday, was pretty rocky—he is not excited about doing anything he is asked to do, and he hadn’t slept well the night before. I knew going in that he knew at least red, blue, and green, but now think that he knows all the colors; for one activity, I had a book of colors and for each page, was encouraging him to hand me the plastic link that was the same color as the color on that page (using those plastic links that come in chains as baby toys). For every page, he handed me every single wrong color and left the correct color behind—he was making a point but also accidentally letting me know that he is able to match the colors. Things did improve somewhat as the week went on, especially since Friday I could see that he was tired and kept things very casual.

I’ve got sort of a philosophical dilemma when it comes to teaching Joey. On the one hand, I want him to be able to be as free as possible to do whatever he likes in the only years of his life during which that’s remotely possible. On the other hand, doing so isn’t making him happy, and he’s falling behind his peers in terms of knowledge and skills.—Okay, that makes it sound like I turn him out to set fires in the back yard all afternoon, which is not the case. He has quite a set of rules and boundaries that we consistently enforce, he is disciplined by the loss of things he is persistently abusing and/or time ins. He wears clothes and eats regular meals. We read books every day, but he chooses that. Sitting him down and telling him that now he has to color makes me feel guilty. But as I say, he’s not very happy recently (by which I mean for the last five months), so I’m certainly willing to make a change. Will schooling make him happier?