Stolen Borrowed from The Natural Child Project on Facebook. Awesome.
This Is Just To Say
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
~ William Carlos Williams
So the other day I commented on a Pioneer Woman Homeschooling post – which I never do, because there are usually a zillion comments and I would be comment #33652 and who reads that far down? No one. That’s who.
Anyway, the question was Why Do You Homeschool the way You Do?
I commented that I was a combination of relaxed and classical, and that each person has to find their own way and blah-blah-blah.
Then someone asked me why and how I had chosen that route, and it really got me to thinking.
I choose to be flexible in certain subjects, like science because my children are very young (7 and 5) and I think at this age fostering curiosity is more important than content. My kids are insatiable when it comes to science, and I’ve can see they gobble up more information with a relaxed approach than with a scheduled one. It’s BECAUSE they have such an intense interest in it that I am able to be relaxed. They seek out information on science subjects at such depth and at such a pace, a scheduled program would actually interfere with their learning. I can hardly keep up with all their varied interests, frankly. (and this is where I spare you yet another link to the Geoduck study) (sorry, couldn’t resist).
We did do a scheduled science program at one point, but Big was so interested in volcanoes, that he really couldn’t care less about the workbook I bought. Finally, in a blinding moment of clarity, I realized that saying “hey, put down THAT science book you love so we can do THIS science book you hate” was patently ridiculous.
On the other hand, my son is not very into math (so he says. I remain unconvinced). But I know that math is an extremely important subject and I have to be a lot more insistent to get that done. Math is not optional, and it’s the first thing we do every day. If he were super interested in Math, I might find myself being more relaxed, simply because his interest would outpace any schedule.
And in writing all that out, I had a mini-epiphany: HOW I’ve been deciding which subjects can be relaxed and for which ones I need to be the task master. It’s all about The Children!
If their interest in a subject is so intense, and so consuming, then I really don’t need to do much more than facilitate their discovery. Books, factory tours, television specials, notebooking pages… I merely find the materials, toss them around (literally – on the table, on the floor, on their nightstand), and get out of the way. (this looks like a good place for a geoduck link). Actually, I shouldn’t say “merely.” Finding enough stuff to satisfy a 7 year old boy who has an intense interest in something is quite a lot of work. In many cases, I’ve had to close a perfectly good Pinterest window to search online for things like Barnacle Printables. Selfish Deb finds that quite annoying, but Super Homeschooling Mom Deb beats her into submission at least 75% of the time.
Sixty percent of the time.
Fifty percent of the time… Look, Selfish Deb is fierce, but she is weakening now that I devote 23 minutes a day to self-improvement.
On the other hand, if they just really aren’t into a subject I think is important, like math or phonics or spelling, then I am way more insistent and diligent in getting that done. There is a minimum acceptable amount of ability they will have by the time I’m done with them, and that’s not open for discussion at this point (that minimum is quite high, so don’t get your panties in a twist thinking we’ll finish up with arithmetic and call it a day).
On the third hand, if they aren’t super interested in a subject I feel is Not Essential To Life, like certain sports or artist studies or music lessons, then I’ll probably let it go. (AFTER I’ve given enough of an introduction to the subject to make sure they really aren’t interested, that is. I don’t want any passions going undiscovered because I’m too lazy to arrange an art lesson or a gymnastics class).
Now, I’m sure I’m probably (as usual) preaching to the choir; and y’all are like “DUH, Deb, we know! You may as well tell us about that little box you can put all your music in!”
But it was new realization to me, and I like to write it down when I figure something out. That way, when I am planning next year and trying to figure out if I’m an abject failure because I don’t want to plan a composer study, I can give myself a stern talking-to and remember how I had it all figured out in March.
Plus also, I usually feel that Relaxed and Classical are diametrically opposed and I am only a few years away from driving myself to the brink of sanity. Maybe having some kind of logic behind it will stave off the men in white coats for a while longer.