I've been remiss to not include my other two children into the mix of Educating Emme. Homeschooling is not just about the homeschooler - it is about the family unit! What surrounds and shapes her.
My oldest is Jennah. She'll be 19 next month! She's this adult now and I have no idea what to do with her. How to talk to her. Discipline. It's all so weird having my first grown child. She graduated a year ago with honors from public school. In elementary through middle school we "homeschooled" during the summer months. Usually a long project, lots of reading, book reports, nature walks and a workbook-type curriculum for whatever next grade she would be going into. She's always been bright. She has this mind that I don't even understand. She did remarkably well on her ACT and received a partial scholarship to UM, where she started last fall.
Unfortunately, without going into too much back story, Jennah is having some health troubles and is taking some time off from school right now. She will go back - but for the time being she is here without a structure. School and education have been her life for so long and now I don't even think she recognizes her own life. It's a delicate situation, and I am constantly thinking about how to be a better mother to her. I'm a little lost if you want the absolute truth of the matter. More than a little.
Then there is THE BOY. Jake. He's 16. Big and strong as an ox. Quiet and handsome. He is just finishing up 11th grade in public school. He is doing relatively well in his physics, geometry, history and construction classes. It's his literature class that is giving him difficulties! The boy does not have a creative bone in his body! Unlike the girls and me, he is not a reader or writer. He has a great memory, he's great with his hands, very strong in math and science. Grammar and spelling come easily for him too. But ask him to write a few paragraphs about anything or to read even a short classic novel - and it's like you asked him to rewrite War and Peace!
Earlier this semester I helped him write an essay on some Hemingway and Faulkner short stories. Then Emily and I read along with The Great Gatsby and I helped him with another 4-page essay just last week. The teacher puts as much emphasis on the format as he does on the content. I'm not sure that I agree with that. Not only that, but his directions for the MLA formatting were sometimes incorrect. So, anyway...... it was an issue in this literature loving, wannabe-writer's mind. Now I am re-reading Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God . It's been over 20 years since I read it last. The teacher is reading this aloud in Jake's class. Again - I'm not sure how I feel about Mr. D's reading aloud about the sexiness of a woman's figure to my 16-yo boy or repeating the *n* word TEN times in front of impressionable mixed-race youths. PUBLIC SCHOOLS!!!!!!!
Any idea how I can improve my boy's creativity? I've tried for years upon years to instill a love of reading into his life. I read to him all the time as a baby, toddler, young child. We did family read-alouds of The Cricket in Times Square and The Phantom Tollbooth and Chronicles of Narnia when he became older. He barely tolerated it then - and now he hates to read. All he wants to do is play video games in his spare time.
Of course then there is Emily:
And me. I'm Mom.
One of the very, very rare picture of all three of them together:
And of course, don't ever forget Cat:
That's us. The dysfunctional lot of us. My crazy, beautiful family. I wouldn't change a thing.