We had grand ideas about homeschool. Or rather, I had grand ideas. All the things I would teach them, all the things they would learn. How culturally appropriate they would be at the end of this journey, what children of the world they would be.
I don’t know what I was thinking. Because clearly, my children are flunking homeschool.
We spent 3 glorious days in the Swiss Alps, staring at the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau glaciers, hiking around them, gazing at them, visiting the waterfalls near them, and discussing at length the beauty of especially the Jungfrau mountain (pronounced yoong-frow).
So, when we landed in Italy following our Swiss excursion, we were constantly making reference to the Jungfrau which was fresh on our minds. Then out of the blue Gracie asked, “What does Jungfrau mean?” I nearly fell over. It was then I knew that my children would flunk homeschool.
She was not to be outdone by Zack, who, the next day, while surveying a map, exclaimed, “Israel’s a country??”
Dear Jesus, help.
Now, granted, Zack explained he had only mixed up Jerusalem with Israel, but it is enough to give a mother pause – or a heart attack. Especially when you are on a trip around the world and your normally bright students seem to have no idea about, well, the world.
Where have I gone wrong? Should I make them draw maps and color them in for a week? I force them to journal, to blog, to repeat Rick Steve’s historical information. They patiently listen as I drone on from brochures explaining miniscule, detailed information about a waterfall, a cave, a mountain. We rent audioguides in cathedrals. I drill them on facts about sites we visit.
And yet, I worry. I do have to give them a report card at the end of all this.
The one silver lining in homeschool – Zack can teach himself geometry. I don’t have to touch a ruler or God forbid, a protractor. And Gracie gets facebook posts about the algebra homework she needs to complete each week. Good thing, because when I had to help her with a “box plot,” I thought it meant a garden. Instead, she had to figure that one out all by herself (which, thankfully, she did).
My other brilliant idea? Downloading library books written in first person narratives from the countries we visit. To instill more learning. And won’t they love to read them? No, they will not. Instead, I ended up reading the one about the girl in Greece. Gracie said it was poorly written and had no plot. She refused to read it. So maybe I need to homeschool myself on appropriate literature.
I hate to admit that I learned that Nike is the Greek goddess of victory from that book. Of course, my kids already knew that information. Before the trip. Swoosh.
There was a ray of hope today, though. While visiting the Acropolis, we walked by an English-speaking tour guide spouting historical information about the site to her overly large tour group. As we passed by, Zack leaned over to me and said, “I already knew that. I learned it yesterday.”