I came across this article about middle childhood soon after Christmas. It resonated with me, as it is exactly the stage Xander is at. While he's just turned seven, rather than the six mentioned in the article, there has recently been a noticeable increase in his level of responsibility and maturity.
It's greatly appreciated. He has always responded well to being given responsibility, but now he's much more reliable at actually completing it. A call for a Band-Aid to fix a bubba booboo is actually answered, or even anticipated.
He really came to my rescue the other day, too. After a recent supermarket trip, I was packing our groceries and realised that I'd forgotten an essential item. With a trolley full of paid-for groceries and two approaching-their-limit two-year-olds, Xander volunteered to go on a solo expedition. I watched him from outside the checkouts as he read the aisle labels, decided which one to try, disappeared and reappeared, item in hand. He met me at the checkout so I could pay. He was so proud of his success, and I was so proud of him. He'd really helped me out, and he'd completed a task which could have been overwhelming in an unfamiliar supermarket. (A new supermarket has just opened nearby. Every single trolley is a twin trolley. On the opening day, a friend sent me a picture of the ranks of gleaming twin trolleys. I nearly swooned.)
He's growing up, for sure. I think part of the improvement, too, is that we're adapting how we deal with him, in light of our new understanding of him. After a couple of challenging years at school, we finally made the decision to fork out for a visit to an educational psychologist. It was very enlightening; mother's instinct was, once again, spot on.
On a not-completely-unrelated note, this year also begins a new era for us. For a variety of reasons, we will be homeschooling Xander for a while. I've worked through the paperwork and obtained our exemption from enrolment (which was a challenging and fascinating process, very well designed for clarifying my aims and approaches). There's a whole lot of factors that I'm not inclined to share (sorry), but it will probably only be for a few terms. We will be especially working on improving his fine motor skills, getting him past his hang-ups about writing, and getting him accustomed to using a computer for written work where possible.
I'm expecting to get comments along the lines of "But what about the socialisation? Won't somebody think of the socialisation?" I am completely satisfied that with his variety of activities, friends, neighbours and homeschool network resources, he'll be just fine. Even better than with the "socialisation" opportunities he was given at school.
Starting out with homeschooling - while toilet-training twins - is definitely a challenging situation, but doing the research and planning has been absolutely fascinating. I feel like I have a new understanding and appreciation of Xander and his abilities. Our first "school" days have gone well, but I fully expect the novelty to wear off.
I'd love to hear from other people who have decided to homeschool, for whatever reason. What do you find most rewarding? What is the most difficult aspect?
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