Sunday, September 1, 2013

Back to Not School!

In general, we're having a great week.  Monkey (now renamed The Mad Natter - to fit the theme, and because he'll soon be too old for "monkey") has been back to Not School since Thursday, and all has been going spectacularly well.  I actually remembered to plan for the fact that he has his best focus early in the morning this year.  That's made a world of difference.  We've been able to get our work done in under an hour, had time to play games, and then moved along before he lost his focus. I had no idea what time he lost it, either, because we were already done before things went crazy.

Today... was a different story.  Sundays we would ordinarily drive Skeeve to work if The Mad Natter was awake early enough.  He wasn't today, so Skeeve took the bus, and I rested a bit on the couch, waiting for The Mad Natter's appearance.  I didn't have long to wait, he came down the stairs stark naked and giggling about a lack of clothes in his room (yes, he goes through enough clothing in a day that I have to get laundry done every five days or he has absolutely nothing to wear).  So we dressed him out of the laundry basket in the living room, watched our week's episode of Magic School Bus (we've picked up free science lessons using MSB from HomeschoolBelle!!) - again - and got rolling.  Mad Natter wanted to do handwriting work, and since fine motor skills are his weak point, I'm all for letting him, despite having completed the week's handwriting (for reference: 2 pages on each of 2 days, 4p total) the day before.  More power to him, right? Anyhow, I set him up with his handwriting book, and he worked his way through S, J, T, I, A, the segment review AND the capital letter alphabet.  Seven pages - so nearly two weeks of handwriting work in about an hour this morning.  And that's when things started going to hell in a handbasket.

We started about 10 minutes later than usual today, due to it being a Sunday, and therefore a hectic morning. Mad Natter spent 25m watching MSB, then another 5 dawdling his way to the school table. He spent about 50m on handwriting. Then everything went crazy.  He was suddenly completely unable to focus, everything was interrupted by OOOH, SHINY! and he was completely incapable of adding 4+1.  Now, let's bear in mind that this child has been able to plus-one count up since he was three.  I could have understood 359+1, because it requires the regrouping of the ten, which is more of a challenge when you can't focus, but 4+1? We only made it through maths because it used the maths balance - which means it involves actually physically moving the weights to balance the equations. Spelling was equally easier, because I let him play with the balance while I asked beginning and ending sounds, and then separating sounds was done by moving tokens for each sound (thank goodness for All About Spelling!).  We completely dropped reading for the day, and the second half of our ant study was put off until after lunch - we had a read aloud, and then brainstorming, and letter writing.  I'm really glad for homeschool on that front - I was able to put things off until he was a little better able to focus.

Apparently, though, Mad Natter has about 90 minutes of focus in the mornings, and his focus is spotty for the rest of the day.  I'm really glad to have the freedom to have figured this out, and I'm hoping it will be something we can build on from here.