I thought we were making a good impression at the local library. I'm always there in the middle of a weekday with my children, checking out a lot of teachers' resource books and such, and otherwise making it perfectly obvious that we are homeschoolers. I thought we were doing a good thing for the community by making such public appearances, especially when we always check out a gozillion books and my kids are just So Freaking Excited to be there. The staff are always helpful and pleasant to us.
Today my son needed to get a new library card. I guess they've changed their system, or maybe it was because we usually use my card and he rarely uses his own. Whatever. The librarian handed Chad his new card and told him, "Just sign your name on the card here." He took the card and very carefully printed CHAD on the line before setting down the pen. "Aren't you going to put your last name there?" I asked him. He gave me a confused look and said, "Last name?" I glanced once at the librarian before sarcastically saying, "Yeah, you know, that other name that goes with your first name?" He wrote the first letter before stopping to spell it out loud to me, in a questioning voice. He spelled it wrong. I corrected him, and he began to write again, stopping every 2 letters to ask what came next. The libarian never said a word, but I could feel the burning condescention.
HOW in the name of Bob did my son get to be 10 years old not knowing how to spell his own last name?!? All the way home, I got a lecture from my husband about what a terrible teacher I must be since he can't spell his own name, and doesn't remember if Iowa is the city or the state, and can't recall his phone number when asked.
It's not that I haven't taught him these things. He's had to spell his name (first and last) since kindergarten. The second half of second grade was spent learning about community, including our address, phone number, city, state, and country. The first half of third grade was spent learning about other states, what a capitol city was, etc. (We happen to live only minutes from Des Moines, so this applies to us directly since we're there at least a few times perweek). I didn't consider the possibility that Chad wouldn't retain this information without constant practice. It's true that since he is homeschooled, he doesn't often need to write his last name (even his first name, really), but you would think he would still remember how.
So, I guess we will practice all that stuff all over again. Daily, if necessary until I'm sure it's stuck. And just for good measure, I'd better make it a random practice exercise at least a few times per year from then on. *Sigh*
So much for that great community impression I was working on. *wink*