Tag Archives: Z-boy

On the benefits of afterschool activities


Karate class continues to go well!  They have started a module on Philippine stick fighting techniques in a style called cinco teros, or in their tradition, senco teros.  Z-boy has been working very hard and improving greatly in focus, concentration, control, and technique.  It’s so incredible to watch him blooming!


Sinawali (yes, it’s blurry to obscure identities)

I hope he can link this into other areas of his life.  He’s been working so hard, and he loves it, and he’s so excited to progress and move on to new, more complicated, and therefore more awesome techniques and skills.  He wants – really wants – to earn his next belt.  He’s also very worried about being able to do well enough in school to get his teacher’s to sign off on his belt promotion.  He thinks it will take him all year to do it.

So self-confidence is growing, but not yet in the area of school.  I had hoped to catch one of his favorite instructors to have him give Z a pep talk, but he was off this week.

So my plan for this school year:  make sure he has plenty of after school programs scheduled for when he’s at his dad’s house.  While he’s at mine, we’ll concentrate on karate, choir, and homework (as his dad isn’t really capable of helping him with writing and math).

For one thing, having afternoon/evening activities reduces the likelihood that the ex-girlfriend will be able to visit him (his dad allows visits, against my wishes).

But perhaps more importantly, it will surround Z-boy with different types of people, many potential positive role models.  And friendships with kids who share his interests and lift him up.

And of course there’s the opportunity to build skills and confidence in himself in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and he can carry that confidence into his school day.

I don’t want to “over-schedule” him, but at the same time, I want him to see the wider world, and to feel he has a place in it.

So I’m going to get him into 4-H, possibly a drama and or dance class, possibly gymnastics, possibly fencing, possibly violin lessons, possibly robotics, possibly computer programming.  Not all at the same time, though.  But there are so many potential avenues for growth!  I’m going to try to make this the best year yet!




Present, Future tense


Currently, we are not homeschooling Z-boy. He just completed 1st grade in a K1 montessori classroom at a public school in Davis. He had a wonderful teacher. New, as in brand-spanking, right-outta-the-bag new, but she had all the most important qualities: compassion, passion, and respect for her charges and their various learning styles.
But next year is a different story altogether. Montessori, at this particular school, is less about the whole Child, and more about how some worked-over version of a “whole child approach” can accelerate their academic achievements. Well, that works ok for some, maybe… but…
then there’s Z-boy. He’s smart, but not a reader yet. Unfocused, easily distracted, not terribly good at picking up on non-verbal cues from other kids, and so on. Possibly he has sensory processing issues. He’s a ham. Attention-seeker, happy with both positive and negative reactions, as long as he’s getting a reaction. Table-licker. Clothes-chewer. Completely annoying. Not good at participating in Circle activities. Poor follow-through.
But smart. Usually kind. Very sensitive. Very outgoing. Not at all shy. Amazingly analytical. Vocab to the moon. Loves electricity, building, science. Wants to be a Ramassanse Man (Renaissance Man). Loves the surrealist art of Irving Norman.  (Yeah, I know!  Social surrealism is his thing at AGE 7???)

My World and Yours (And the Gods Created the World in Their Own Image), 1954 by Irving Norman

He’s… unique. More so than most, perhaps.

He’s hilarious.  He once heard the song “Every time you go away” by Paul Young, and misheard the lyrics: “… you take a piece of meat with you…”

I, unfortunately, have to go back to work for 8 weeks come the end of August, so I think he’ll have to be in school for those 2 months or so. Then, we’ll see. I’m predicting some fun parent-teacher conferences right at the start.
So I’m preparing for homeschooling. I’m actually really looking forward to it – I kind of hope that his experience in the 2nd-3rd grade classroom will suck so that we will have to pull him out and homeschool him. Hmmm, what shall we do today? Go to the train museum all day? the art museum? do some citizen science program along the river? plan a camping trip? paint? Start a quilt? bake? experiment with edible fermentation? hang out and do math worksheets? put together a simple motor? take apart an old radio?

Versus:  Stressing out about getting food that he’ll eat for lunch, packing it in the AM, getting him out of bed, making him shovel food in his mouth before hitting the road by 7:55 am, getting home and being too tired to do anything besides shovel more food in his mouth and throw him in the tub and then bed by 8… all that stress… so much fucking stress just to get somewhere and back from somewhere where little learning is occuring and much pain and frustration is happening over workplans and reading and workbooks and losing pencils and is he pronouncing these sounds at the proper grade level and being overwhelmed by 20 other 7-8 year olds…  Yep.  I’m tense about it.

I hope we get to homeschool soon.