Monday, September 1, 2008

Billy Madison Has Nothing on Me

In the Adam Sandler comedy his character, Billy Madison, has to go back through each year of school and has about two weeks to accomplish each year. Well I have it somewhat easier. I am retaking each grade in stride with each of my children. So currently I have attended kindergarten three times, first grade twice, although I am currently attending it for the third time with Darby, second through fourth grade twice with Austin at the helm and I am now proceeding through fifth grade with him.

When I first had kids the realization that I would actually be working so closely with them through schooling never dawned on me. They were just adorable bundles of love that ate, laughed, cried, played, and from time to time left me presents of the not so desirable nature. Now that they are both in elementary school, I find myself wondering and not really remembering what these grades were like for me. Perhaps it was because my family moved so often during this time of my life I remember moving more than I do schooling. Or maybe being the second oldest of seven children has something to do with it? I don't really know all I can say for sure is that it seems that this new generation are being challenged with exceedingly high expectations.

Personally I feel that this is in their best interest and I wholeheartedly want my children to achieve their very lofty potential. (I don't particularly enjoy having to relive it myself). These last couple of weeks Austin has been excitedly researching the world of microbiology. Yep, "MICROBIOLOGY!" I think the first time I heard that word myself wasn't until junior high school. Anyway he found huge interest in viruses and how they are transferred, their affect on the body and how they can mutate. He was assigned to create a project that involved anything microbiology had to offer and although there were two or three projects that were already outlined he chose the "design your own project."

Normally this wouldn't be a problem, well let me reconsider, yep normally this will be a problem. Austin's mind is so full of knowledge and random factoids that it is difficult to reign in his broad perspective on everything in order to focus on something manageable for a small project like this. He had listed on a few disorganized papers in his thrown together backpack that I help empty out everyday (trying to show him the error of his chaotic mess) three different viruses that interested him; the influenza virus, the West Nile virus and the pneumonia virus. Along with his list of viruses he had researched and written facts to accompany each. So as we discussed his options of how to accomplish this project the direction we came to, after two or three days of debate and persuasion on my part, was to compare and contrast two of the three. Then we would build 3-D renderings to accompany the poster he would display. So, today, we set about to finish the project completely because his anxious mind is already involved in working on the next essay project involving the respiratory system of the human body.

Dennis helped him build and paint the model of the influenza virus (green blob) and we all made snakes out of red polymer clay to create the model of the West Nile virus. I think we will have pink hands for the next week. Darby was a great help to her brother with this part of the project and she was proud of her efforts. We all helped place them like sausages all around a ball of aluminum foil and baked it in the oven to harden the clay.
Austin finished putting all of his thoughts in better organization then typed everything on the computer and printed and pasted it all on his board to display. We just finished gluing on the assembled models and he will be ready to show and tell tomorrow.

Although it was his project, it became a laborious day for the entire family. I go back to school with them both to help in the classrooms on Wednesday and I always direct homework and reading time when they come home everyday.
Billy Madison eat your heart out!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This year marks the 19th consecutive, but finally final, year (unless Sam get's held back in "homeschool") of Early Morning Seminary for us. However, I did teach those classes for 4 years and 3 months of that time. Does that count double? Maybe triple? Although I have not had to drive all those years, I have most decidedly taken on the role of alarm clock.

After reliving my entire public school career seven times, I have finally consented to the final year of the final child to be experienced at home. Does that make me a quitter, or just crazy?

At least five of my children have continued on past me in their college direction, I having dropped out after 3 years with an associate degree. These children have surpassed my efforts by earning, collectively, three Bachelor's (a fourth will be added soon), one PhD, one Law degree (I don't know the abbreviation for that-should have gone to school longer, I guess), two associate degrees, and spouses (which I really can't claim, but did help some along the way, so I will) with one DDS and three Bachelors. I guess I could also mention the guy that made all this possible, my hubby and the father of all of the above (excepting spouses, of course) who I also encouraged and helped support through his masters degree and have tagged along with him around the nation ever since.

Hopefully this means that, collectively again, we are helping to make the world a better place. We have at least added to the economic growth of our society.