Report Card from Grandma Patsy’s School for a Displaced Third Grader

Does banging out the same song over and over and over on the piano count for music class? It does in Grandma Patsy’s School for a Displaced Third Grader. I’m close to the point of anything goes.

music lesson

We’ve just finished our second full week of home schooling, this eight-year-old grandson and I. It’s been a roller coaster ride as I try to keep the attention of a boy who’d much rather be playing Fortnite than doing worksheets.

In a former life, I taught English in the community college. To adults. I was the mother of three girls who liked to read and usually did their homework without too much prompting. Teaching a third grade boy who prefers fishing and computer games has been, let us say, an adjustment.

I’m pulling out every trick I can think of. He enjoys striking a match to light a candle each morning before we start the day’s work. (Boys like fire, I’ve learned.) I dug up an old Beanie Baby for him to squeeze when he feels frustrated or finds his attention wandering (which happens like, every other minute). We ask Alexa to play songs, taking turns. I don’t know whether to be impressed or alarmed when he picks Black Sabbath.

And I let him put his head down, something I’m pretty sure isn’t allowed at school. I pick my battles. Besides, I feel like putting my head down too.

head down

Even though he’s not a big reader, I’ve learned he’s a decent speller. And he can whip through some math. While I was still poring over the textbook, he was already converting liters into milliliters (or is it the other way around?).

The day before we did centimeters and meters, and another day we worked with grams and kilograms. Just take me out and shoot me.third grade math

I do try to make learning interesting. A STEM (whatever that is) project involved going outside and collecting leaves. I picked a pretty morning, grabbed a sandwich bag, and we toured the yard. He plucked leaves for a while before I lost him to tree climbing. Oh well, I decided that counted for P.E.

charlie in the tree

Back inside, I did manage to get him to tape the leaves onto a sheet of paper as I quizzed him about the names of the different trees.

STEM project

Truth be told, he was more interested in pricking himself with the holly leaf than in learning the difference between the crape myrtle leaf and wax myrtle leaf.

Still, we’d gone outside and enjoyed nature. The dogwoods and azaleas aren’t affected by a virus that’s virtually shut down our country and thrown our children out of school. This year, their blooms seem especially pretty.


Charlie and I will make it somehow, some way.


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