homeschooling

All posts in the homeschooling category

Have A Very Goopy Christmas, Take Two 

Published December 20, 2015 by April Fox

I posted yesterday about my new blog, Math Makes Me Poop, but apparently I was still suffering from Almost-Christmas-Break Teacher Brain and the link I tried to post didn’t actually work. So let’s try this again: here’s a post from the new blog. I hope you like it. 

Have a Very Goopy Christmas  | Math Makes Me Poop

https://mathmakesmepoop.wordpress.com/2015/12/19/have-a-very-goopy-christmas/

Kids are Weird, Man. 

Published December 19, 2015 by April Fox

Edit: Now with a real, live, working link to the new blog! Sorry about that. 

Some of you might know that when I’m not writing, I’m teaching. This year, I’m working with a brilliant, hilarious, adorable kid I call Little G, and I’ve created a new blog to chronicle some of our adventures. We do a lot of out-of-the-box learning and I’ll be sharing posts about that, along with the things that don’t always go as planned-like you’ll see in the post linked here. 

The blog is geared toward people who are teaching, parenting, or otherwise care for small kids, especially those with some learning, sensory, or social differences. It’s still my voice though, and even if you’re one of those people who turns the hose on kids that wander onto your lawn, you might like it. 

Have a Very Goopy Christmas  | Math Makes Me Poop 

Roses are Red, Booty Haiku.

Published March 20, 2012 by April Fox

I’m making the minions-I mean the kids-write Springtime haikus today. I hated being told to write a certain way when I was in school, so of course I have to inflict the same torture on them. Baby girl decides to write about catching butterflies and sticking them in a jar.

I peek over her shoulder and see “I like to” written on the first line.

“I like to what?” I ask.

“Catch butterflies,” she says.

“Is that going to fit?” I ask. “Count it out.”

She holds up a finger for each syllable: “I-like-to-catch-butt… oh.”

“Yeah,” I say. “This isn’t the time of year for that, I don’t think.”

Baby girl considers that for a minute. “Mom,” she asks, “Is there ever a good time of year to catch butt and keep it in a jar?”

The kid has a point.

Baby Girl has a Severe Allergy to Pioneer Life, it Seems.

Published March 11, 2012 by April Fox

Baby girl and I are discussing books. She’s rather picky about what she reads, preferring fast-paced, adventure-filled books, but with a definite girly focus.

“I didn’t like the Little House on the Prairie books,” she says.

“I know,” I say. “They weren’t very interesting when you read them before, but you were pretty small. If you try them again you might like them.”

“I doubt it,” she says, with that cynical little twist in her voice.

“It can’t hurt to try,” I tell her.

“Unless you’re allergic to something,” she tells me. “Then your face could swell up and turn red and you could have a hard time breathing and you could get sick and die. Trying something like that again wouldn’t be good. You could have used a better phrase, mom.”

I’m almost certain that she is not allergic to Laura Ingalls Wilder, especially considering that she’s been through the home Ms. Wilder lived in and has had her books on our shelves her whole life, but I’m too tired to argue the point tonight. Besides, I think I’m out of Benadryl-and you never know.

Where the Hell is Lisa’s Car? Or, How My Kid Kicked Prepositional Ass

Published March 7, 2012 by April Fox

There’s a special kind of magic in homeschooling your kids. The closeness you feel as you sit side-by-side reading, the glee that bubbles over along with the lava that pours out from the homemade volcano, the omifuckinggod what was I thinking that goes along with trying to teach anything that isn’t 100% logic-based and static to a skinny bundle of autistic genius… oh yeah. There is that.

Thing one was working in his language arts book the other day. Most of the time, I pretty much leave him alone when it comes to schooling, because he kind of just soaks everything up on his own, figures out math through logic, and remembers everyfreakingthing, including and not limited to that time five years ago when his brother ate all the French fries from McDonald’s and I NEVER GOT MY POTATO FRIES! HE OWES ME POTATO FRIES! Still, there are things he needs to learn, and autistic or not, I refuse to have a kid who doesn’t have a basic grasp of grammar, so after some cajoling and grumbling and threatening to take away the video games on my part, thing one installed himself on the couch with his book and his scowl and his pencil and got to work.

And then the fun began.

“I already know what a prepositional phrase is. Why do I have to do this?”

“Because you do,” I tell him. “That’s your assignment. You need to practice, keep it fresh in your mind.”

Thing one heaves an exaggerated sigh. “Fine,” he says, which translates into, “I can’t believe you’re making me do this, but if I ever want to lay my hands on an Xbox controller again, I might as well get to work… I can’t wait till I’m the boss of the world. Then we’ll see who’s studying prepositional phrases. Mmmm-hmmm.” I know how the kid thinks. Trust me.

A few minutes later: “This doesn’t make sense. It says to add a prepositional phrase to the end of each sentence.”

“Okay, so add a prepositional phrase to the end of each sentence.” Sometimes the Obvious Fairy needs to visit thing one.

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

Another exaggerated sigh. He hates when I can’t read his mind. “It says ‘Lisa pulled over her car.'”

“Okay, so what’s the problem? Just write down where she pulled over.”

“Mom.”

“Yes.”

“I don’t know this Lisa person.”

Oh boy.

“Do you know anybody named Lisa?” he asks.

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Would you let me go in the car with a stranger?”

“Of course not.”

“Well then,” he says, “how the heck am I supposed to know where this Lisa person pulled her car over?”

“She’s hypothetical, thing one.”

“Okay,  if she’s hypothetical, I can technically deny her existence, and unless someone proves to me that she does exist, I don’t have to write this down, and if they do prove it, they can tell me where she pulled over.”

Kid-1

Mom-0

I’m terrified of the rematch.

 

The Pissed-Off Cat Theory of Autism and Education

Published March 5, 2012 by April Fox

Take one already cranky cat.
Pull its tail until it tries to bite you.
Stuff it in a small crate.
Spray it with water.
Dangle a hot dog in front of its nose, just out of its reach.
Spray it again. A bunch, like, till it looks like it got caught in a rain storm.
Open the door and try to hug it.
The result is what it’s like trying to get my autistic kid to write about a hypothetical situation for school today.

More on this later, when I can hear my own thoughts.

Autism and Oatmeal

Published February 24, 2012 by April Fox

My son, thing one, is 13 and has autism-Asperger syndrome, to be exact. Now this isn’t one of those Poor Me posts, or Look How Much I’m Doing for My Wonderful but Challenging Child, or some shit like that. He’s only called autistic because he needed some therapies, and they weren’t covered without an official diagnosis. He’s a weird, quirky, cranky, hilarious kid who happens to fit the DSM-IV criteria for Asperger’s. So do I, for that matter. So does beloved. So do probably half the people we hang out with. No biggie.

Still, the Aspie thing can make life pretty interesting around here.

The other day, baby girl decided to poll everyone about their breakfast preferences and graph the results. Unfortunately, thing one was at the table with the pad of graph paper, working on a map. He’s always working on a map. All day, every day, maps maps maps. Baby girl tells him she needs a sheet of paper.

“Why? asks thing one.

“Because I need it,” says baby girl. “I’m making a graph.”

Thing one dismisses her with a sigh. “I’m making a MAP,” he says. “You can wait.”

This, of course, is the switch that wakes up the evil preadolescent side of my charming baby girl. “MOOOOMMMMMM! He won’t give me any PAPERRRRRR!”

“I’m aware, child. I’m right here. Thing one, give your sister a piece of paper. Baby girl, don’t yell.”

“I didn’t yell.”

“I’m using the paper.”

Big mom sigh here. “You’re not using all the paper, thing one. Give your sister some paper.”

Thing one hauls his skinny body out of the chair, unfolding like one of those super-long Arby’s curly fries, and hands baby girl the pad of paper. “Here. Take it out of the back. Be very careful. Don’t touch my map. You’ll mess it up.”

Thank you,” says baby girl. 

“Mmmmmm-hmmmm,” says thing one, channeling his inner Niecy Nash.

Several minutes later, baby girl has successfully determined that she, thing two and I all prefer oatmeal to cold cereal for breakfast. And then she asks thing one.

“What kind of cereal?” asks thing one.

“Just cereal,” says baby girl.

“What? There is no such thing as just cereal.”

“Cheerios,” I tell him.

“Real Cheerios? Or the organic stuff in the squished box from the hippie store?”

“Real ones.”

“We never have real Cheerios. Well we did one time, I think. They were on sale. But we never have them, so if I pick that, I probably don’t get breakfast.”

“It’s hypothetical, thing one. But fine. Hippie Cheerios,” I tell him, being very conscious of my eyeballs and the effort it takes not to roll them.

“Plain or honey nut?”

“Honey nut.”

“Hmmmmmmm…” ponders thing one. Thing one ponders a lot. It’s pretty cute. Satisfied, he moves on to the oatmeal. “What kind of oatmeal?”

GOD,” says baby girl.

“God-flavored oatmeal? I’m not eating that,” chuckles thing one. He’s pleased with his wit, and clearly enjoying irking his sister. “What real, non-mythical flavor is this hypothetical oatmeal?” I’m not kidding-my kid really talks like this.

“Brown sugar,” baby girl manages to squeeze through clenched teeth.

“Plain brown sugar or maple and brown sugar?”

“PLAIN!” growls baby girl.

“Hmmmmm…” More pondering, and then, “I don’t believe I’ve ever had plain brown sugar oatmeal, so I can’t answer that.”

“FINE,” says baby girl. “Maple, then. Maple and brown sugar hypothetical NON-MYTHICAL-FLAVORED OATMEAL.”

“Oh,” says thing one, with his most innocent and winning smile. “Why didn’t you say so? I would prefer oatmeal.”

“God,” says baby girl.

“Tasty,” says thing one.

A few minutes later, beloved walks into the room. Baby girl repeats her cereal versus oatmeal question for him.

“Hmmmmmm…” ponders beloved. “What flavor is the oatmeal?”

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