Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Homeschooling Hubba

A Hubba Haiku:
Always curious
the whole world is his classroom.
Who wants to sit still?

I wanted to post an update on Hubba. I was so excited to tell you about how we got a phone call from the school - a GOOD call - to let us know that Hubba had earned a blue ticket (these can be exchanged for prizes) and was being recognized for great behavior. We made such a big deal about this at home - we were thrilled to have such good news and see that Hubba was making progress! Well, wouldn't you know it, the day I sat down to write about our happy news the phone rang again. It was the school.

Hubba had a substitute teacher while his regular teacher was doing some testing for the day. Hubba made a burping sound (obviously fake) and the substitute asked him to stop, but he continued to do it because it was making some other kids (and Hubba) laugh. A parent helper who is familiar with Hubba also tried to get him to stop. This was when the realization hit that he was going to get in trouble - so instead of settling down, he ran from her. Not a good choice.

The principal's secretary called and let me know what had happened. I talked to Hubba over the phone and then they let him return to class. I talked to Allen, frustrated over why Hubba would choose to do this at school. Did he like the attention? Making others laugh? Probably both. But he is smart enough to know that acting this way is going to get him into trouble and Allen and I both agree that it should not have to be the teacher's responsibility - or the substitute's - to deal with his antics in a crowded classroom.

We decided to take him out of school and homeschool him for the rest of the week.

As I drove to pick him up, I thought over what I needed to do to make the week a learning experience. I didn't want him to be miserable, but I also didn't want him to love being at home so much that he might see it as a reward for his behavior at school. I remembered how much he disliked worksheets over the summer and decided he would have plenty of them to keep him busy.

That first day he only had a half day of school left, so I had him write letters of apology to the sub, the parent-helper and his teacher. This took the rest of the school day because he wanted me to tell him what to write and I refused.

After complaining about it for almost an hour he got to work and drafted some great letters.

Day 2 was filled with worksheets on counting money, writing practice, reading comprehension, putting things in alphabetical order and writing his own short stories. When he finished these, he got to read.

Day 3 was worksheets on the countries in North America, learning the difference between grams and kilograms, writing in his journal and making his own book about how to catch a leprechaun. When he finished these, he got to read.

Day 4 was our last day. Hubba was excited that it was a half day at school, which meant he would have less work to do. He didn't even complain much when I gave him a pile of worksheets that had to do with St. Patrick's Day.

We reviewed some math facts (estimating, the difference between inches & centimeters, pints, quarts & liters and grams & kilograms) and he took the same math test his class was getting.
We still had about an hour left and I was out of ideas so I had him teach Curly and Little O how to estimate measurements using different items from around the house.

They both loved "having school" and Hubba was a great little teacher. I marveled at what a smart, fun and engaging kid my little boy was growing up to be.

Monday morning came, and Hubba was happy to get back to his regular classroom. Me? I was happy to get dressed before noon.

I learned a few things from this experience, especially an appreciation for all that teachers have to do to prepare for and teach a whole classroom full of students each day.

As for Hubba, he's going to be just fine. He's a 7-year-old boy with a precocious personality who likes attention (what 7-year-old doesn't?). We'll work on that and just take things as they come, one day at a time.


Linn said...

I think you handled this INCREDIBLY! Honestly, that is really hard to do when you want to take something seriously (when I was a teacher, SO many of the parents would have blown this off or found a way to blame me for it), but also have to take into account kids will do silly/crazy things because of their age or because they want to make their friends laugh, etc. I'm so grateful for your honesty and example. Thank you for sharing Gerb and that sweet boy is going to be just fine because his mom loves him enough to handle this just exactly as she should.

Kacy Faulconer said...

I really like how you handled this.

La Yen said...

This is absolutely fabulous. Way to be an awesome and involved mom! I love that you were able to do this--our school would never go for this because TX standards are tied into attendance, so a week out would get her kicked out. (So frustrating to have to jump through testing hoops.) (But not frustrating enough for me to pull her and ACTUALLY homeschool!)

Gerb said...

Linn- Thanks, I appreciate your sweet words. He's a great kid, just a typical boy. And this teacher's classroom is seriously too full - and with LOTS of boys. She is AMAZING and so supportive of how we deal with Hubba's antics.

Kacy- Thanks, pal.

La Yen- There was some concern about him missing so much school but I talked to the principal and he said he'd talk to the district and make things good if there was a problem with it. I love my kids' school. They have been a great support. I think that working as a team makes all the difference in the world.

Connie said...

You're a good mom. Hubba still has his self-esteem, he kept up with the class in academics, he apologized to everyone involved and he was excited to go back to school. I call this a win-win situation.

Laurie said...

Perfect way to handle the situation - I'm impressed! Wish I'd been so wise while raising my rambunctious bunch, but they turned out just fine in spite of my inept parenting.

Teachinfourth said...

I think that he's going to make a great Joey in another three years...

And I can't wait.

Chelle! said...

You are an amazing mom. I can't even fathom how many lives you are blessing because of your willingness to share your ideas and thoughts. Thanks for being an amazing example!!

laura said...

You are so good. What a good learning experience for him. And, I remember a similar letter being written by Hubba's big brother back in the day. Your kids are so blessed to have such loving and creative parents.

Btw, weird, but you were in my dream last night.