Saturday, January 22, 2011

Can vs. Should

This is one of the toughest questions I have/am facing while homeschooling. It's one I think I'd face no matter how we schooled to a certain extent, but it's especially acute for me at the moment.

Just because Sweet Pea is capable of doing something- should I have her do it? Expect it? Let her read it?

There's no easy answers, and it's a somewhat disparate question.

The should I have her do it right now is math. Sweet Pea has done all of the concepts for our year's worth of math work- and there is a LOT of school left for the year. So what do we do? Move forward? Move horizontally? A little of both?

I don't know.

Expect is right now is writing. Sweet Pea can write really well when she wants to. When she doesn't it's the single biggest area of contention in our day. She can drag an assignment out almost indefinitely just for the satisfaction of asserting herself, or she can do it in five minutes. So do I push it and daily expect a high output, or only when she's willing? Especially since most kids her age are writing a few short sentences and working on spelling?

I don't know.

Let her read it is that hardest part right now. Sweet Pea is a voracious reader. She's read the first two Harry Potter books and has 2 more books to read to finish the Chronicles of Narnia. She'd love to read the rest of the Harry Potter books, but some of the content concerns me based on her age. Emotionally I don't think she's ready to face all the themes, but she's ready from a reading level perspective.

So what to do?

I don't know.

Try my best. Be grateful to have such an eager student. Try more. :)

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post. I like how you're being so open about the...uncertainty that comes with being a home school family. I have been pondering these very things lately as I struggle with my oldest on phonics and he devours math to the point that (unlike your daughter) he wants to get too far ahead before he understands the concepts fully.

    Here's the thing: Your oldest is extremely smart and competent. As far as the writing is concerned, perhaps you can work out a deal with her. First make sure you're not expecting too much seeing that she IS super far ahead of what is normally expected and remember, we want them to ENJOY learning :) And then, perhaps offer that if she can complete the assignments for an achievable amount (and non burdening amount) of time then you will allow her to read a book that is ok with you and your husband. Or some other agreed upon activity. After all, when we work hard at a job in the real world and perform with excellence, are we not rewarded with raises and promotions?

    In public school everyone has to share and be nice, and be politically correct. In our home we try to mimic real life. Our children do not have to share their toys because in real life no one would HAVE to share their lawn mower. We try to create ownership so that the children feel their rights are protected and then they are more likely to share out of good will.

    Anyways, you are doing a fantastic job. Your daughters are bright and happy and sweet. Explain to your oldest that if she learns to write proficiently then she will be able to write her OWN books one day that little children all over the world will want to read. And, as for the math, goodness, if she WANTS to move forward, then why not?! If she is eager and enjoying it then that's AWESOME! However, if she needs more time to absorb and become proficient at the concepts or if she's perhaps not too eager, then maybe you could coast until it's time to continue on.

    Finally, perhaps if school stuff is running out too early you could take a break and do a fun interesting unit study? We're doing that with animals of the world right now and the kids are LOVING it. Just my 2 cents :)



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