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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Gerber Wilson

Is it over yet? Adventures in homeschooling my 12 year old son

As soon as the news about the Corona virus started overtaking everything else, I knew my son would be home from school for a while. These two, three, four weeks or more will be a time out of time that we will all remember in the future, so my first priority is making the time a warm and loving experience that will provide positive memories for all of us, rather than a scary time where we all just sat around and panicked. I thought about what I could teach Benjy that would be important for his life, and not just whether I could provide similar curriculum to the school's.

I'm breaking up the day into academic time without screens, academic time with screens, and life skills time. Add to that a long walk, some rest time, and reading time, and we've got ourselves a schedule. I know that my guy is very schedule-driven, so it'll be important that we keep to it, keep expectations clear, and keep it interesting.

Luckily I design websites from home (you can see them here on my site), and my husband works from home for Longsight, an edtech firm that's completely distributed (and yes, I will be working on that website...someday). Thankfully, this sets us up well structurally to homeschool B. Also, it makes me feel as if my history PhD has some meaning beyond those three little letters that I earned with tears and sweat, since I no longer work at the university.

As I thought about it, the most important things we need to learn for adult life are concrete life skills, how to write effectively, how to think critically, and how to learn efficiently. So, that's what we're focusing on. This week's unit is on the history of Lexington, where we live. This morning we read about the town's beginnings as Cambridge's farmland, and we started seeing familiar names pop up. So we'll keep track of all people who provided names for the elementary schools: Harrington, Bridge, Bowman, Hastings, Estabrook, and Fiske. We'll look at the Middle School people: Clarke and Diamond, (and Muzzey b/c there used to be Muzzey Jr. High). And we'll find some amusing extras....because we can. Today we walked through one of the town's historic cemeteries, Munroe Cemetery, where we saw graves of some of the very families that we had read about this morning:

This one happens to be a name that comes from my own home town in California. I wonder if there's any connection between this Cheever dude and the guy who founded Newhall, CA? Another something to research. Benjy took lots of pictures and is making a VLOG during his screen academic time/creative time later today.

As long as we live in an historic town, we should really get to know it, right? And there's not much curriculum on local history beyond the battles of Lexington and Concord, which feature costumed re-enactments every year on Patriot's Day (which might get canceled this year in any case).

I've also enrolled him in a couple of online courses from I found out about this and other online learning opportunities from a facebook group that some very good doobies from my town started so we could pool resources. B's got an online writing course tomorrow on key word outlining that I hope will help him develop some good skills and habits. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tomorrow I'll tell you how the life skills learning is going. We started with laundry and will move on to all the projects I've been tackling alone. Mwahaha. Until then, wish me some quiet time, good luck, and patience, which has never been my strongest suit.

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