Let's face it. One of the top five reasons for me, personally, to be homeschooling could charitably be called laziness. I've never figured out why learning is supposed to be a difficult process. I know that my years in public school had me convinced that learning was equivalent to sweating blood, having night terrors, or being audited by the I.R.S. ...but in the 20+ years (and never mind how many + years there might be!) I sort of figured out differently. What I know, I mean what I really know know, is stuff that I learned myself. This was knowledge that I went after like a shark in a feeding frenzy, or stalked with the patience of someone who enjoys watching rocks grow. Test me on anything I was taught in high school and I might come up dismal; test me on what I taught myself and the rodeo is on.
Still, I have those days. Those days when I wake up and realize that all my children do, all day long, is watch the Science/History/AllDayEveryDayScooby Channel, or poke around in the back yard, or read books that feature dancing rabbits. I have the almost irresistable impulse to sharpen a slew of pencils, sit them all down at the kitchen table at 8 a.m., and teach them calculus. That I myself have never taken calculus and that the Banshees are still in the single digit age realm should be clues numbers one and two that my panic has caused me to be semi-delusional. I panic and I have not now, nor have I ever been, a good thinker under such situations.
Now, let's introduce you to MB. That's the middle child, the one I swear would be on half a dozen medications for ADHD if I'd left him in public school. He's outgoing and energetic and in the last six months or so has taken his native story-telling abilities to new heights. When he gets into a subject, he gets into it with spelunking gear in hand. He's going to dig and delve and immerse himself in his current interest. He bites into it and gets lockjaw. (I will go on record here that it's all from his father's side of the family. I certainly never display these characteristics. Just ignore what I said in the opening paragraph. I get interested to an obsessive degree; my spouse gets interested to a degree that would have most OCD patients shaking their heads.) What's interesting about MB, however, is that he will then follow you around the house and pour out everything that he's just processed. Constantly. For days. And he never seems to breathe. It isn't always accurate but he's doing a credible job for his age. We first noticed this when he latched onto the story of the Titanic; he now has books and models and a dvd about Titanic and won't pass up an opportunity to learn something new about that boat. (Yes, we do have a multiplicity of doting grandparents. How could you tell?) He lectures about not only the Titanic but Britanic and Olympic as well. (If you didn't know Titanic had sister-ships, now you do. Did you also know that there was a passenger on Titanic that was working aboard the Britanic when it sank?)
MB studies stars and galaxies and has nightmares about black holes swallowing up the solar system. (Yes, we've told him this is unlikely. Now we need to get back up sources -- but if you're going to teach someone to question experts, they're going to start with the nearest ones.) Today he rushed into the room, breathlessly spewing everything he'd just learned about volcanoes. Without breathing. Finally I asked him if we were going to have to get him as much material on geology as he's got on Titanic. I think I can safely interpret the reaction as "Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!" I told him that we would have to test drive a few books from the library, and that some of them were likely to be books written for grown ups. Did he, I inquired politely, feel up to the task of tackling grow-up books? Yes, he said, bouncing. Okay, I said. And then, as he turned to leave the room, he started humming the theme from Superman.