Tag Archives: Homeschooling

End of an Era

With the school year ending, it’s time for me to hang up one of my hats – for good. For the past year and a half, I have been homeschooling Nigel, and in September he will attend the high school for a full day, so I will no longer be his academic teacher. When he started back at the middle school in March, it was only part-time, so I continued to homeschool him for language arts and social science. He made some amazing progress in those areas, writing a total of five essays, including a comparative analysis of Ancient Greek and Roman cultures. His case manager at the middle school was so impressed that she took a copy of that essay to give to his future teachers at the high school. I’ll have to make sure they realize how much of an effort it was for him to complete that; it took him weeks to write it. They need to be aware of that before they expect him to produce more work – or at a faster pace – than he is capable of doing.

At any rate, come September my academic responsibility will be limited to helping him with assignments and encouraging his organizational skills. I will no longer be designing his curriculum, preparing lesson plans, or teaching the material. It was doable in middle school, even though it took me a while to get used to the idea, but I don’t think I could do it for high school. I mean, I consider myself to be fairly intelligent, but there’s a lot of high school knowledge that I would need to relearn in order to teach it to my son. It would take quite a bit of effort and time, and as a single parent of two, I’m in short supply of those items. I also had to radically reduce my work hours so that I could homeschool Nigel for the amount of time that I did; as a result, my bank account is in sorry shape. So continuing to homeschool is really not an option, and I’m glad that Nigel no longer needs it. We’re both looking forward to his return to full-time regular school, for many reasons.

But there’s something else that happens at the end of every school year, and has for the past eight years: Nigel and Aidan go visit their dad in Los Angeles for several weeks. LA is nearly 700 miles away from us; it’s a long drive. And another world away. They get a taste of big-city life, get to bodysurf on warm beaches, and Nigel gets to go to the day camp for autistic kids. These are all things they get to do that they can’t do at home in southern Oregon, and I am glad that they have the opportunity.  I’m also glad they get to spend time with their dad, whom they miss so much during the school year. But I miss them while they’re gone every summer. It’s just consuming, this missing. It’s not like when they’re gone for a week at Spring Break. One week is nothing. But seven, eight, is a daunting expanse that cannot be filled. Maybe I’m being melodramatic – I mean, after all, we go through this every year. But it never gets easier. I walk down the hall and see their empty rooms. I can’t watch a movie or eat ice cream without thinking of them and missing them. True, I’m keeping busy, especially since I’m back at work full-time, thanks to my wonderful employers. Life is full and good, but there’s this void with the boys gone. It doesn’t feel natural. I feel disjointed without them. And I’ve got a long summer ahead of me.

Since it’s impossible for me to go more than a month without seeing them, I’ll be visiting them next month, so that will break up the time, make it a little more bearable. For a while now, Nigel’s been requesting to go to the Grand Canyon, so three weeks from today, that’s what we’ll be doing. I can’t wait to share another adventure with them, but mostly I can’t wait to see them, hug them, to be in their presence. Of course, until then, I have phone calls to look forward to: “Hello, Mom. This is Nigel [insert last name] speaking.” Or perhaps a conversation like this one. Oh, well. I’m just happy to hear their voices.

So summer begins. And it just dawned on me that I’ve essentially combined two separate posts here – the end of homeschooling and missing my kids. Correlation? Nada. Let that be a testament to how disjointed I feel with my sons being away! I can’t even write!

There’s No F in IEP

This week Nigel received his mid-term progress report for his first term back at regular school after over a year of homeschooling. He is receiving an F in math, and I am not surprised. What’s that you say? How am I not surprised? Because a few weeks ago we discovered that the entire time I was homeschooling him, I was teaching him out of the wrong book.

It all started at his IEP last September, when I requested the school-issued math book so that I could teach him exactly what his peers were learning so that he would be up-to-date when he transitioned back into regular school. I also knew that at the end of eighth grade, this year, this month, actually, there would be benchmark testing for his entire grade, including him, whether he was still homeschooled or not. I wanted him to know what he needed to know. The school’s sped coordinator spoke to Nigel’s previous math teacher at the school, and then he, the sped coordinator, went to pick up the math book and brought it back to the meeting to give to me. I thanked him and was very appreciative that the school complied with my request for the book, since they are not obligated to do so.

And since last September, Nigel and I diligently worked through that book every single day, along with working on the other school subjects. I felt certain that we kept up very well, since we made it two-thirds of the way through the book by March, two-thirds of the way through the school year. When he started back at the middle school that month, initially I was more concerned with how he was doing socially and behaviorally than academically. Things seemed to be going well for the most part, and then it was time for Spring Break. After that, I started asking him how things were going in class, and how he was doing in math. I asked him where they were in the math book, if it was near where we had left off with homeschooling. That’s when he told me. “Mom, I found out that was a seventh grade math book we did homeschool with.”

I wanted to scream. “Are you serious?! Are you sure? It didn’t say seventh grade on it!”

He confirmed that was indeed the case. And had I not been so busy with Aidan’s health issues at the time, I would have marched straight into the sped coordinator’s office and let him have it. Or the math teacher who recommended the book. I was angry. I felt like I had wasted Nigel’s and my time and effort and had put him at a great disadvantage for returning to regular school and taking the required benchmark testing. My heart raced and I clenched my fists. I took a deep breath and vowed I would deal with it when I had time. I went home and trundled Aidan off to whatever doctor’s appointment he had.

A few days later, maybe that weekend, I remembered what I had read around the blogosphere about there being no accidents. Carrie mentioned it, and Jess and Pixie expanded on it. I started to calm down when I thought about that. And then Nigel wanted to rent Kung Fu Panda that weekend, which we hadn’t seen yet, and guess what the theme of that movie is? That’s right – there are no accidents. The wise old tortoise master says it several times. And I started thinking that maybe I was meant to receive the wrong math book. Maybe I received it because that was what Nigel needed me to teach him, and what he needed to learn. I realized that no one had intentionally given me the wrong book, it was just a mistake, and I was glad I hadn’t stormed into someone’s office threatening to bestow one of Mama Mara’s Ieppie Awards in the Worst Great Idea category.

And so the benchmark tests are in two weeks. It is what is and what will be, will be. I’m not going to get stressed out over it, and I certainly don’t want Nigel to be. His transitional IEP will be coming up soon, and I’ll be sure to diplomatically let everyone know the reason behind his (very) low math grade, without pointing fingers. And if anyone apologizes for giving me the wrong math book, I’ll surprise them by thanking them. Because I learned a lot from this experience. And not just how to divide fractions again.


That David Bowie song is playing in my head – “Ch-ch-ch-changes . . . Turn and face the strange changes . . .”

Nigel and I have some big changes ahead of us. It’s been a year since I began homeschooling him, and just when I started to feel like I was doing okay with it, Nigel announced that he wants to go back to regular school. I’m not too surprised, actually. He is a social, extroverted person, autism notwithstanding, and even though he’s been involved in Scouts and has other social outlets, he’s reaching his limit of being home with Mom. And it’s showing in his lack of compliance with doing his schoolwork. It’s been increasingly difficult to get him to focus, to gauge if he’s learning anything, and if he is, whether it’s going to stay with him. His thoughts are always elsewhere.

I never expected to homeschool him for very long. Hell, I never expected to homeschool him at all until it became necessary! I had never even entertained the thought. I never thought I was the homeschooling “type,” whatever I thought that meant. I guess I thought it meant people who really wanted to homeschool their children for religious reasons – or any reason, for that matter. But once I realized that he needed it, a) because things were so bad at school that he asked me to, and b) because bussing him to a contained classroom in a different city was not acceptable to me, then I wanted to do it. Then I began to wrap my mind around it and come up with ways to make it happen. It was probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as a single parent – making drastic work changes, schedule changes, and financial changes. I put so much mental energy into just getting used to the idea of homeschooling. Then I had to research what I was supposed to teach him, how to do it, and plan. It required a lot of focus to convince myself that I could do it.

It’s not over yet, of course, not for a while. The first step will be to see his doctor again, since we have decided to try some new medication to help with his behavior and need to get started with that. Then we need to attend his IEP (Nigel has requested, for the first time, to attend his IEP meeting, which is huge) to discuss what his options are. Most likely he will attend two classes in the morning and then come home, so he will be half-homeschooled. We’ll do this for spring term, and if all goes well, in the fall when he starts high school (gulp), he may be able to attend full-time with some support.

So, we’re making adjustments. It reminds me of when he was younger and he attended three different elementary schools before we found the right fit – we constantly made adjustments. We are no strangers to change. Part of me is feeling defeated – I had to work myself up to doing this in the first place (homeschooling), and now it is winding down. But it’s not like I’m throwing in the towel. We’re just making adjustments. Trying to find the right fit again. I have to believe that we will.

Winter Break

Remember when it was called Christmas Vacation? It amuses me that even what we call our seasonal time off must conform to political correctness. But that’s okay. I actually prefer the name change, especially since I’ve been teaching this year, and I realize how essential a break really is.

One of the most common internet searches that points people to this website is “homeschooling autistic teenager.” I know this not just because my blog software tells me, but because I’ve typed that search myself. And I still do. I keep hoping that someone out there will have figured out the ins and outs of homeschooling autistic teens. And if they already have, I haven’t yet discovered their words of wisdom.

Winter Break gives me a chance to do a lot of things in addition to taking a break from teaching. I catch up on other work, like the work I do that actually generates some income (can’t let that slide!), I clean the house a bit, I try to visit with friends and family members who may be wondering if I’ve dropped off the face of the earth, and I make plans for the next school term. I have been homeschooling my autistic teenager for nearly a year now, and this is what I’ve learned.

  • Homeschooled autistic teens function best with a written schedule. We went without a written schedule for one term, and we won’t be doing that again. Not having a written schedule opens the door for numerous motivation and focusing issues.
  • Verbal autistic teens will debate with you the merit of any subject that they are not interested in learning. In fact, they will debate the necessity of formal education in general. They will demand to live how they want to live. This does not just happen occasionally. It happens every day. Yes – every single day without fail. You know that saying about the patience of a saint? It ain’t me. So I have learned to leave the room for a moment to get my bearings and remember that even though he is verbal, it doesn’t mean that I can reason with him. It doesn’t mean that even if we’ve already discussed the importance of education three days in a row that he won’t ask the same question tomorrow.
  • Autistic teens are individuals and have their own particular learning styles. My son is a visual-kinesthetic learner. I have taught him division by taking a pile of almonds and grouping it into sets of three to show how a number goes into another number. For years while he was mainstreamed he never understood this concept because math is not typically taught that way. I have also taught him how to multiply fractions by writing out the steps for him to visually refer to.
  • Autistic teens may need “crutches” to help with some concepts. I have used question marks in place of letter variables when teaching algebra to my son. After he learned how to solve the equations, he no longer needed to substitute the question marks in place of the letters.
  • What works one week may not work the next. Not only do you have to “think outside the box,” you have to reinvent the proverbial wheel on a regular basis. Inspired moments like teaching division with almonds won’t always produce the same “a-ha!” results when applied to other concepts. The almonds, however, do come in handy if you get hungry.
  • Homeschooling an autistic teen will stretch you – your mind, in coming up with innovative ways to reach someone who thinks differently and often simply does not want to learn; your patience, in dealing with the daily debates and the frustration of going over the same concept for weeks; and of course, your heart. Nothing else I’ve ever done is more of a labor of love than this.  

So take Winter Break, Spring Break, and Summer Break. In fact, take Friday Break also. Keep up your strength and safeguard your sanity. Take whatever breaks you can, when you can. Take Christmas Vacation, Halloween Rest, Easter Time-Out. Relax, regroup, rediscover. And then restart.

When Autism Does Not Equal Liking Math

There’s a saying in the autism community that you’re probably familiar with. “If you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism.” This loosely translates to “When an autistic teen doesn’t like math, he really doesn’t like math.” And neither do I, making it an arduous task to teach it to him. After trying to teach him long division and triple-digit multiplication late last year, I finally said, “Oh, look! A calculator!” and the two of us were much happier. That is until this year, when we got to algebra.

I tried to explain to my son as he gently banged his head on the kitchen table that if he wanted to attend the local public high school at some point (which he has indicated that he does), he would need to learn algebra. A simple equation like 2c + 1 = 7 would send him into a tirade: This is an outrage! Letters do not belong in math!

After explaining to him that the letters are called variables and they symbolize numbers that we need to figure out by solving the equation, an idea came to me. As we sat on the couch together with the dreaded math book in front of us, I suggested to Nigel that we substitute a question mark for the variables. In other words, 2c + 1 = 7 would become 2? + 1 = 7. I could actually feel Nigel calming down as soon as I rewrote the equations. And it worked. He listened to my instructions and he could solve the equations.

The drawback to this, of course, would be when we got to two variables within the same equation: 2x + y = 7. I started to think that we could use other symbols besides question marks, like an asterisk. Then I thought, okay, maybe the question mark is just a crutch, just something that will help him to understand the concept of variables so that he can learn how to solve the equations, and after a while he won’t need to substitute ? for c or x.

Following our local public school calendar, which gave all of last week off for conferences and Thanksgiving, we homeschoolers also took last week off. Today we got out the math book, Nigel groaned, and I turned to a new chapter, one that started working with two variables in the equations. We started working one together, and I wrote it out just as it was in the book: y = 2x + 8. Nigel did not ask about the question mark. He did not yell about letters not belonging in math. The question mark had been just a crutch, one that he quickly could do without. But he still reminds me every day that he doesn’t like math at all. “Just humor me,” I tell him, and then I explain what that means.

On a side note, I just discovered this article, Reaching an Autistic Teen, that I loved and wanted to share. It’s about a special school in Decatur, Georgia for autistic teenage boys. Be sure to check out the last page – there’s a bit about one of the boys wanting to build a “magic cabinet,” and it reminded me so much of something Nigel would want to do. I absolutely loved it.

Homeschooling Hurdles

Search engines amaze me. We can type in anything and in mere seconds, dozens, even hundreds and thousands, of listings pop up in some configuration of what we typed. We could spend days reading all of them. And so, when someone finds this web site by typing “teen homeschooled and doesn’t want to learn” into a search engine (as my blog tracking software indicated a few days ago), it amazes me.

The reason it amazes me is because, even though I have not yet written about it, that is what I have been experiencing recently with Nigel. It’s not that he doesn’t want to learn anything, it’s just that he only wants to learn what he wants to learn. He loves science, especially earth science and weather, but he is also interested in biology, chemistry, and even introductory physics. His favorite subject, of course, is history. His concept of the ideal learning approach is to sit on the couch and read National Geographics all day or, better yet, watch a DVD about whatever historical topic he’s studying. “That’s how I learn things,” he says. He feels that there’s no need for him to write an essay about it because it’s all in his head. And on some level, I’m sure it is all there. But I’ve got to prepare him for high school. I’ve got to teach him to write an organized essay, site sources, etc. For the time being, I’ll say that he’s resistant and leave it at that.

He is also highly resistant to learning math. Nigel, in an un-stereotypically autistic way, hates math. Numbers are good for historical dates, calendars, times of movie listings, how much a Lego set costs, phone numbers and addresses, but other than that he has no use for them. Why learn multiplication tables when we have calculators? “Long division is for losers,” he loves to say. “I’m going to destroy it.”

He says he’s going to “destroy education,” too. And Charlemagne, since Nigel thinks that’s who “invented” it. He’s going to go back in time and assassinate Charlemagne because he apparently had something to do with promoting education.  This plan came about when I pointed out today that he is required by law to be educated. “You can be educated at Blank Middle School or here at home. Which do you prefer?” “Neither. I’ll destroy education,” he says, and purposefully presses down too hard on his pencil so the lead breaks.

It isn’t supposed to go this way, I tell myself. He should appreciate that I’m homeschooling him so he doesn’t have to go to the school he hates. Doesn’t he realize all the sacrifices I’ve made as a single parent to be able to homeschool him? Of course not, and I can’t expect him to. He’s a kid, an autistic kid at that. But there’s only so much I can take. Only so much talk of “destroying” things, non-tangible things that can’t be destroyed anyway. “That doesn’t make sense,” I tell him when I am at my wit’s end, unable to try to reason with him any longer.

And so, to the person who Googled “teen homeschooled and doesn’t want to learn,” I say the following:  

You’re in good company. Despair not. Take it one day at a time. I don’t know if your teen is autistic or not, but mine is and that’s how I manage things. That’s the only way I’ve ever been able to manage it – one day at a time. That’s the only advice I’m able to offer. Some days they’ll listen and some days they won’t. Some days they get it, and some days they throw their math books across the room. And yeah, some days we want to throw the math book across the room too. Some days we want to yell, “This isn’t fun for me, either!” But we just keep at it. Yes, it is hard. What I call the “hurdle days” are especially hard. But it’s also worth it. Even though I’m making this up as I go along, I know that it’s worth it.

Getting in Gear

There are no bells, no forced schedules, no dress code. No busses, no other students, no anxiety. This is homeschool. And even though it is the ideal learning environment for some kids (like Nigel), it’s still school. And he’d rather not do it.

We’re relatively new to homeschooling, having started six months ago (and the past three months were summer vacation), but, knowing my son, I think that even if we’d been doing it for years he would still complain, as he did this morning. I pointed out to him that I was sure he’d rather be doing homeschool than be in a classroom with lots of other students bothering him. You’ve heard of fantasy football? Nigel wants to do fantasy school. He responded, “I want to do school on a video screen lying in bed.”

So, even for homeschoolers, it’s hard to get in gear. Maybe it’s because we don’t have bells and lockers and busses. I’m still working on our schedule because we’re waiting to hear back about the time slot for the social skills group meeting that Nigel will attend once a week at the middle school. And we’re waiting to hear back about checking out an eighth grade math book for the year.  So for now, we work with our tentative schedule, we do a review of last year, we go through the math and grammar workbooks, we discuss our plans for electives (Spanish, psychology, and judo), and wait for things to be ironed out. It’s our way of warming up and easing back into academia. Short of lying in bed with a video screen, that is.

The Schedule

As those who teach or live with autistic individuals know, schedules are a necessary tool, not only for teaching, but for just getting through the day. For Nigel, his schedule is a lifeline, a beacon to show him the way. It has always been so. When so much about dealing with people is unpredictable, it comforts him to know what he’s supposed to be doing when (of course, this does not usually apply at bedtime).

I found this description of schedules for autistic students at Specialed.us:

Definition: A daily visual schedule is a critical component in a structured environment. A visual schedule will tell the student with autism what activities will occur and in what sequence.

  • Visual schedules are important for children with autism because they:
    • Help address the child’s difficulty with sequential memory and organization of time.
    • Assist children with language comprehension problems to understand what is expected of them (5).
    • Lessen the anxiety level of children with autism, and thus reduce the possible occurrence of challenging behaviors, by providing the structure for the student to organize and predict daily and weekly events.
    • Assist the student in transitioning independently between activities and environments by telling them where they are to go next.
    • Can increase a student’s motivation to complete less desired activities by strategically alternating more preferred with less-preferred activities on the student’s individual visual schedule.

      Example: By placing a “computer” time after “math”, the student may be more motivated to complete math knowing that “computer” time will be next.

    • For the student with autism, the consistent use of a visual schedule is an extremely important skill. It has the potential to increase independent functioning throughout his life – at school, home and community.

Without a doubt, schedules are highly effective tools. But Nigel’s schedules over the years have been much more than that. They have been a type of therapy. And I’m sure they will continue to function as such perhaps for all his life.

Yesterday I wrote about the type of homeschooling program I’m doing with Nigel and how I designed it. Here is his weekly schedule:

homeschool scheduleTime: What we are doing Monday through Thursday
8:00 alarm rings
8:10 out of bed, go to the bathroom, wash face
8:15 eat breakfast, rinse bowl
8:20 brush teeth
8:23 get dressed
8:30 start homeschool: Math: 1 pg of If Mathematics, 1 pg of Core Skills Math
9:00 Writing/Language Arts: 1 pg Quick Practice Writing Skills; Essay Writing, either 1 section with Mom or 1 pg by self
9:30 Science: go online to study topics from Grade Level Standards; take 5 footnotes from websites
10:10 snack & 10-min. break
10:20 Social Science: read books from library or go to websites to study topics from Grade Level Standards; take 5 footnotes from each source
11:00 Physical Education or Library Time
Mon: bike ride on Greenway
Tues: 15 min. yoga/15 min. push-ups & weights
Wed: walk to Phoenix library or drive to TMS library
check out 3 items: 1 social science book, 1 educational DVD, 1 book of choice
Thurs: 15 min. yoga/15 min. push-ups & weights
11:30T/Th Elective for the week (see elective list)
12:00 prepare & eat lunch
12:30 check responsibility chart & do chores for that day: when chores complete, you have free time
Ohomeschool schedulen Fridays I go into the office for a few hours, so that day has a different schedule. Nigel gets up at the same time and then takes one of the aforementioned educational videos, watches it, takes 5 “footnotes,” as he likes to call them, and then types a summary on his computer to show me when I get home. I am fortunate that he has reached a point where he will be okay for a few hours alone at home, following his schedule. Maybe it’s a lifeline for me too.

Our Homeschool Story

Every family has different reasons why they choose to homeschool. Many do it for moral/ethical/religious reasons. Some do it simply because they love to spend as much time as possible with their children and want to be responsible for their education as well. Some do it out of necessity for the child. Our family’s homeschool story, of course, falls into that last category.

About seven years ago, I attended a special needs parenting workshop on IEP preparedness and advocacy guidelines. The moderator went around the room prompting all the participants to introduce themselves and mention their child’s educational status. I vividly remember a woman seated by herself who explained in a tired but accepting voice that due to mainstreaming problems, she would need to homeschool her twelve-year-old son who had Tourette Syndrome. At the time, I thought I could interpret the exhaustion on her face, the frustration, the resignation. I thought, because I was a single parent with an autistic six-year-old, that I knew how she felt. I remember at that moment being thankful because Nigel showed such great potential that I wouldn’t need to consider homeschooling in the future. On some level, I didn’t even want to consider it because I thought it was something I wouldn’t be able to do. But now when I remember that woman’s face and her voice, I comprehend on a deeper level what she conveyed at the meeting that night, seven years ago.

This is what I need to do for my son. I don’t know how yet, but I will do it. I will make it work.

I know this now because this is how I felt five months ago. Six months ago, as the school year was about to begin, Nigel asked me several times if I would homeschool him. At the time I had not even considered it an option, mostly because, as a single parent, I had to work. How could I homeschool him? I couldn’t be the stay-at-home parent: I was the only parent!

I will write in future posts about all the bullying and social problems Nigel experienced that made me decide to find a way to homeschool him. Within weeks of school starting, his already fragile status in a low-support mainstreaming situation had deteriorated to the point where I had begun to seriously think about homeschooling him. I started researching homeschooling websites in general and looked at our state’s requirements for specific information. But I had no idea how to swing it financially.

Opportunity knocks. I had been working at my job as account manager for an order fulfillment company for almost ten years. My boss walked up to my desk a few weeks after I decided I would need to homeschool my son, and she said that one of our clients, a music label, was looking for someone to handle the royalty calculations for their 45 artists. It was tedious accounting work, but it could be done from home, and did I know anyone who might be interested? My spine tingled; I hadn’t told her yet that I needed to find a way to homeschool Nigel.

I took the job. And after several weeks of hiring and training my replacement at the office, I begain homeschooling my son. I am so glad he asked me to do this. It is a dream come true for both of us. 

The Bikeriding on a Busy Street Debate

It’s a gorgeous spring day here in southern Oregon, and, after we finished with homeschool, Nigel wanted to ride his bike, alone, to a store a mile and a half away on a busy street. I blanched at the thought.

As I have mentioned before, I feel semi-comfortable with him riding alone around the suburban neighborhood in which we live. I know, I know. He’s thirteen years old, for God’s sake. Let the kid ride his bike. But this particular thirteen-year-old kid, even though he can talk now, still has sensory issues which can compromise his safety (and possibly the safety of others). What happens if a commercial truck drives right next to him and the rumbling (roaring, to him) of it jars him enough to make him wobble, hit the curb, and fall into the path of the truck? Or, if he appears to not be paying attention, the driver of the truck, or any vehicle, could sound their loud horn to alert him, and it would startle him enough to make him lose control of his bike and veer into traffic.

Then there are the flying insects. At any time while walking, if any flying insect, from a tiny gnat to a huge moth, happens to come near Nigel, he immediately begins violently shaking his head, flinging his arms around, and running away. This cannot happen on a bike on a busy street.

So I talked to Nigel about my truck concerns, about holding his line so that he does not wobble too close to traffic (“I hold my line,” he said in his deadpan voice), and about insects flying in his face. That sobered him for a moment, and I could see the wheels turning. Then he said, “We just need to extinguish bees with stingers. Or make flightless bees.” Flightless bees. Time to do a homeschool unit on pollination.

In the end I realized that, safety concerns aside, I have to get him a bike lock before he can ride his bike to the store anyway. So I’ve successfully put off the bikeriding-on-a-busy-street milestone for another day.