Thursday, March 31, 2022

The joys of homeschooling

At least he looks good with his shades
Homeschooling can be tough.  One of the toughest parts is self-doubt.  You can't help but second guess yourself and wonder if your kids are better off or, heaven forbid, worse off.  You concern yourself that they're not learning, they're not learning enough, and somehow they won't be up to snuff next to their peers when they step out  into the world.

All of this happens, by the way, outside of the Covid era.  By shutting down access to other kids, other outings, other locations you can take the kiddos to, it has only been tolerable since we know the public schools have had their own similar problems. But the ongoing concern that you're failing them somehow always looms large, at least in our minds.  

So the other day we got a momentary dose of reassurance.  Our youngest, and last school age child, is moving into Shakespeare in his literature class with none other than The Merchant of Venice. It's a play more infamous in today's sensitivities than famous. 

So that's tough.  Heck, it's not exactly the easiest read for me.  The last time I read it, in fact, was in a Shakespeare class in college in the 1980s.  I chose it, however, because of the other suggested Shakespeare plays for his literature class.  When we looked at the list, it was the only Shakespeare mentioned that he wasn't aware of.  The list included Hamlet, Henry V and Macbeth, all of which he knows very well.  Too well to know if he's really getting anything out of the reading assignments as opposed to just drawing of his knowledge of the plays.

I didn't think about it until one of our older sons pointed out that's not bad.  After all, how many twelve year olds would force you to pick a less known Shakespeare play because he already knows most of the ones listed? 

We thought about that, and about how much we know he knows:  Subjects such as history and theology, and even philosophy.  Working on Algebra at twelve and he has studied art history, chemistry, Greek and Latin and even some intro into Mandarin Chinese - all before entering middle school proper. 

His real love is electronics and computers.  He's our fix-it man when something with our DVD or television or similar electronic devices goes wonky.  He can hook up new tech purchases faster than anyone else.  He's also quite industrious, figuring out how to make electronics work with sometimes no more than aluminum foil and battery chargers.  We mention he could have a career working with electronics, but he's somewhat coy about it, and dismisses it as a life's ambition.

So, in hindsight, I'd say that's not bad. We can't say he's better off, but we're pretty sure he's no worse off education-wise than if he was in the public school system. 

Our dog reading The Merchant of Venice after our son asked him for help


  1. Louis Rossmann is a youtuber who videotapes himself doing electronics repairs AND has been doing the good work of fighting for "Right to Repair" legislation all around the country. Would definitely recommend the kid check out some of his videos to get an idea of the life and challenges ahead of that path.

    Obviously I'm a bit biased being in IT myself that I would encourage your son to go the way of repair. It doesn't even have to be specifically computers as almost everything is using electronics nowadays. A month ago at the farm show here in Louisville I saw a pamphlet by... Case International IIRC offering to basically fund your way through "repair college" if you promised to work for them for a couple of years. So I'm just saying whatever the boy would love to fix - from computers to tractors - there would be a need for him. Heck I hired a guy last year who started in my town a "I'll come to you" car repair service and I think he's only been growing.

    People need things fixed, and I know you raised him to be honest and fair (but tough - judging by some of those board games) which you need in business. I have full faith he would be quite successful.

    1. Yeah, he's a bit 'nah, it's just fun' about it, but we encourage him because he does have a knack for it. Just like somehow he was able to use aluminum foil to get flashlights to work. No clue how he did it. He loves not just doing, but learning about tech and electronic stuff. He'll rattle of info about this or that tech or program the way our oldest talks of sports stats. So one of the benefits of homeschool being what it is, we try to make sure he has time in that department.

      I'll look at that link. I told him about it and he grinned, so we'll see. Thanks!

    2. Yeah, definitely pre-screen the link. Louis shows his repairs AND talks about things going on affecting small businesses and sometimes... those topics may not be appropriate for a 12 year old.

      But then sometimes it may be good to be aware of the hurdles he'll have to face to make it out there. He can be a bit foulmouthed when he's dealing with some especially stupid design (he is from New York after all). Like a product which "bricks" itself when you try to replace the battery. Watching some of the stuff he has to deal with, I would probably develop a sharp tongue myself.

      Hm. Maybe I should look for a more kid-friendly channel. lol I'll try to have something for you tomorrow.

    3. I would have watched through to be sure. But yeah, if you know of any happen to be pro-twelve year old. Thanks!


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