…the curse being for the kid being homeschooled, of course.
I’ve written about introversion and parenting before In fact, it’s one of the more frequent search terms bringing people to my blog – some combination of “introverted” and parenting.
And what’s an INFP? Well, probably gobbledygook, but I’ve actually found it to be a useful and pretty accurate way of understanding myself. The initials stand for Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiving. What it means in my psyche is that I am not shy or awkward with others, but am drained by time with others and energized by time alone. The NFP parts add up to mean that I deal with life by observing and responding to it rather than trying to organize it ahead of time.
So yes, I plan, but I do so by watching you and then figuring stuff out at 2 AM. And then jotting a few notes down on the back of an envelope, but being perfectly willing to jump down a rabbit hole if the situation seems to call for it.
So this afternoon, the boys were at a movie, and I was at Barnes and Noble, going through all my bookmarks and Pinterest pins and endless emails I’ve sent to myself with pertinent homeschooling links and getting psyched about the year.
As I wrote before, the ten-year old is not unenthusiastic, but he does have a bit of anxiety about “keeping up” and his friend who is going to the brainiac school up the hill. As I clicked and scrolled and my pen flew over the pages of my Moleskin (of course), I pondered this, and considered “my” planning, and stopped short.
He’s ten. Almost eleven. I keep saying I’m all about the unschooling. And we have tried to be totally unschooling, but it’s not a great fit for the older boy (who will be going to high school this year anyway), and then the younger one’s worry kicked in, so I got more proactive and started planning, and then there I was at the bookstore…planning.
I thought…what. Am I doing. There’s got to be a way to help this super smart kid with a ton of interests to take more charge of his own schooling…but feel okay about it. To help him feel that “yes, this is school, yes you are keeping up. More than keeping up.”
So I closed the computer, picked the boys up, came home, opened the computer back up, typed up some sheets, printed them up and put them in a notebook. In a little bit, we’ll sit down and go over them.
- Page 1: The subjects for this year and the spines we’ll be using. (“spines” are the foundational texts – lots of supplementary material and activities are assumed.)
- Page 2: What should happen every day. Prayer & chat about the saint of the day; Handwriting/copywork; Math; Latin; Creative time – draw, sculpt, play music, go outside and explore, write, etc.
- Page 3: the list of other activities and when they’re happening, from piano to boxing to Troops of St. George to zoo class, etc.
- Page 4: What he wants to do. What specifically does he want to study this year? (for example, over the past couple of days, he’s mentioned he really wants to delve into herp biology and also do a lot of dissection. Not of Rocky, we can assume). Does he want to play with another language (via Duolingo or something)? Pick up another instrument? Find a different kind of art class? Cook? Clean the basement?
It just occurred to me that his needs weren’t being well served by my instinct to keep things in my head and just respond to the moment. He needs more than that. And I really hope – and believe – that what’s going to happen in me being more organized, and us talking it out and being more collaborative, even if I’m taking the lead, the end result just might be him feeling confident enough to take a bigger role in staking out his own direction, without being afraid that he’s “behind.”