Professor Mom Steps In

With no teacher training whatsoever, I am attempting to provide a stimulating educational experience for my kids while this strike drags on. On the very first morning, I freely admitted to the boys that I don’t know everything, that we’re all kind of feeling our way through this, and that we can always turn to Google if we get stumped (which we did in Justin’s very first vocabulary lesson — speaking as a highly trained communications professional, why does anyone need to know about irregular vowel sounds? But I digress.)

My class composition: a gifted nine-year-old with Asperger’s who would finish a year’s worth of workbooks in an hour if I’d let him but who falls apart if he gets even one answer wrong; and an active seven-year-old who loves to read but hates to write and whose favorite part of the curriculum is the DPA (that’s Daily Physical Activity, when we spend half an hour jumping on the trampoline or playing Twister or whatever).

I was expecting to maybe spend 20 minutes on worksheets each day and call it done, but the boys surprised me by wanting to keep going, so I’ve had to plan out lessons to cover the entire morning (well, not the ENTIRE morning: Justin was raring to go at 7:00 on Tuesday and I persuaded him to wait until 8:30.) I’ve come up with some math games that seem to be a hit, the kids have been pretty good about doing their reading comprehension worksheets, and our interactive globe has been a great help with our social studies unit. I’m skipping the arts and health components of the curriculum (pick your battles, right?) and I’ve been avoiding science, but we will start learning about states of matter tomorrow. Ugh.

But there’s a reason I didn’t become a teacher. I suck at it. I do love explaining things, but I prefer to do that by writing documents, not by standing in front of a group of kids. I was happy to be done with math and science decades ago; relearning the basics so I can pass them along to my kids is not my idea of a good time. And I strongly suspect the kids would behave differently for a teacher who wasn’t their mother.

But this, too, shall pass, right? RIGHT?