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And we're… off! Sorta. Kinda. Getting there.

I declared to my kids a few days ago that our official first day of homeschooling would be next Monday, but somehow today got to be the day.

All summer, we’ve been coasting. My daughter has been so into her camps, and my son has been into practicing magic. Neither had any interest in studying much of anything, except my daughter and our Math Stories excursion. I had no problem with that. I may be a classical homeschooler at heart, but my 7-year-old has proven to me that unschooling can, in fact, work. She just soaks things in whether I plan them or not.

However, I have been lying in wait with a few things. One of them was our Japanese project. I decided that the way to get my kids really into learning Japanese was to get them to document it, something they both like to do. So here it is, all fresh and new:

You can visit our new Japan blog at

Today happened just like a typical homeschooling day when I was doing only one. We did a scheduled activity (Irene the wonderful piano teacher is back in town! Yay!), then a few errands. Came home, ate lunch.

At some point I mentioned that we might do some Japanese. Daughter says she has something much more important to do. Son disappears into his room. Later, I give them 5 minutes notice, Let’s get together to do some Japanese. Son has excuses. Daughter says I’m busy!!! Finally, I drag them to the carpet. Son interacts with me for a bit, then daughter joins in, then son decides he needs to derail the whole thing and gets daughter all annoyed, then daughter decides she needs to derail the whole thing and picks up the flashcard for Little Sister (imoto), sticks a blue tag on it, and says, “Blue means good.” Then she picks up the flashcard for big brother (oniisan), sticks a red tag on it, and announces, “Red means bad.”

How do you say “Oy, veh!” in Japanese, anyway?

But somehow, things seemed to start to come together. There was a vibe. We learned to pronounce the animal flashcards and took turns saying, “I like dogs.” “Really? I like cats.” The sort of inanities that you have to do when learning a language.

Then I mentioned the blog. 11-year-old had already chosen his Japanese blog name, Akira. 7-year-old, who hadn’t been able to decide when it was just an idea, suddenly had to be Ishi. 11-year-old set up WordPress on my website like he does such things for a living. (I’m still trying to figure out how I can become rich on  his skills.) And we have a blog.

The idea is that we will all contribute, and that our contributions will fuel our excitement about what we’re doing. That’s the idea anyway.

But if you want to make my kids’ day (and perhaps make my homeschooling days easier), take a minute to go and comment on their blog entries (once they’re up there). It’s such a kick for kids to realize that they’ve done something that grown-ups have noticed and taken seriously. And while they are working away at the blog, they’ll actually be cementing what they’re learning, which is my point.

Their point is having fun. And being taken seriously, no matter what they’re doing.


Posted in Homeschooling.

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