Today was a hard day.  It was rainy and we didn’t get outside. Our Au Pair was leaving for DC so the boys had to come to work with me.  And I was exhausted.

But I soldiered on and we got through most of their work.  Near the end of the day, I tried to do a more traditional lesson on capitalization, and the boys were having a hard time. They were wiggling, and squiggling and bouncing out of their chairs.  They were rude and silly and disrespectful.  After about 10 minutes of this (the lesson would have taken about 7 minutes if they had cooperated), I calmly said, “I’m sorry.  You’re not going to be able to watch your video now.”

After which, tears and hysterics broke out.  Eventually, though, they calmed down and I started to do my work while they played.  Ten minutes later, Zach enters my office with two pieces of construction paper, folded up and taped shut.  He smiles at me and says, “Pick one.”

“Are these cards?”

He nods.  But squirms.  And I can tell that all is not well.

“Is one of them really mean?”

He looks down and thinks.  He changes strategies, embraces me and says that both cards say how much he loves me.  And then he adds, “But I’m just gonna throw out this one anyway.”

I take the remaining card, and open it up.  When he sees my face, he says, “Uh oh.  Did I give you the wrong card?”

“I don’t know.  Did you mean to give me this one?”

It read:  i hate my mom because she is sometimes very very mean

Which is all wrong.  I mean, hadn’t I just explained that we capitalize words at the beginning of a sentence?

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  • Andrea Cohn

    OMG. That's all I have to say.

  • Andrea Cohn

    Another thought: If Z&E were in school and started writing notes like that, the teacher probably wouldn't know about it and the other kids would (pretend) or really think it was funny and encourage it. At least they have no choice but have you as their target – and not some poor, unassuming classmate who already has low self-esteem…right?

  • Marianne

    Oh, the pain of it all! Reading your blogs brings back so many memories, both good and bad. You write in such a way, that I can picture the whole scenario. Teaching capitalization was a hurdle I remember WELL. We started out with workbook pages and after a couple of agonizing days, regrouped, exed out the capitalization pages and made our own books. We wrote a sentence, using the particular rule on the bottom of the page of a 5×7 sheet and then drew a picture of the sentence. Sometimes, of course, there was more than 1 rule in a sentence:) When all the rules had been used, we bound our book. When writing, we referred to our OWN books if there was a mistake. I would say, " remember the rule on page — in your book, go back and take a look!" They still talk about their books and it turned out to be a much happier 2 weeks learning all those rules. I am so glad you are enjoying homeschooling more and more – some days are better than others, even now!

    • tedelschick

      I love this idea. I'm definitely going to use it.

      Thank you!!!

    • Jeff Barneson

      can i get Copies of those bookS?

  • Deb

    Capitalization (sigh) – I still canNOT BELIEVE you are HOMESCHOOLING!

  • Wendy

    When I started reading this blog I thought, “Who teachers capitalization to a first and second grader? What are they going to capitalize? The cost of a lemonade stand? The cost of the puppet theatre? The cost of home schooling? Is finance part of some early-childhood base-ten approach to mathematics?" Then I got to the line, “i hate my mom because she is sometimes very very mean” Oh, now I get it….