Thursday, April 22, 2010

Confession time

I have *not* been the best teacher this year. I think (hope???) that many folks run into the same issue, but I am now stepping back and realizing all the mistakes I have made with my own son this school year. And having the obligatory guilt trip followed by the realization that I can and will fix these issues next year.

Has he learned this year? SURE! He started the year barely able to write his name and now has incredibly legible writing. Huge, but legible. Slow, but legible. He started the year barely knowing his basic addition facts and has spent the last week adding things like 465+197 or 24+17+32+11. And getting them RIGHT. He knows the definition of a noun and can give examples, he knows a few spelling rules and can apply them practically, he knows about the ancient Greeks and Romans, he will tell you words and their definitions in Latin, and he can tell you the organs that make up various systems in your body.

Progress? Yes.

Fun? Maybe not.

And that is my shortfall. I got so caught up in making sure he was progressing that I forgot one of the reasons that I took him out of school in the first place, that he was bored and I wanted to be able to let him put emphasis on the subjects he loves. I got so focused on doing things the WTM/classical way because it suits *ME* that I haven't really been open to too many other concepts.

In other words, I forgot that I am doing this for him instead of me.

So I started to plan. In preparing for next year, I have bought three different science curricula with the idea of letting him go through them as fast as he wants. (A good first step in my reformation program because he LOOOOOOOOOOVES science. Loves it. I gave him a Nasco catalog yesterday and got it back marked up worse than any Toys 'R Us catalog ever would be.)

Then when he said he wanted to learn both French AND Latin (Megan, dear, I'll be calling you for French help when I get stuck), I at first said no, that one language was enough.

But then, during my Great Revelation, I realized that the problem was that *I* didn't want to teach two languages. But the kid has had a great grasp on the English language since he finally started speaking, and he catches onto grammar rules extremely quickly. Why wouldn't I want him to pursue things he obviously loves? I couldn't bring myself to stifle it. So we have Latin and French books now. He's already starting to gun for a third language the year after, but *that* I am nipping in the bud for a while.

And so I'm trying to match my Type A/OCD personality with the mish-mash ADHD personality of my boy. My anal retentiveness to his go-with-the-flow. And I've come up with a plan. (Because I can't get away from myself THAT much. I must have a plan. Plans are good.)

I have finally decided that if he will do a little writing and a little math each day, I will let him pick what else he wants to do as long as I still see progress. Meaning if he wants to spend an entire week on science or history or piano or language, FINE! I know eventually he'll come back to spelling or art or grammar because he does like those things. Right now, though, I have killed a little bit of joy of opening the books to see what's inside.

Is this plan perfect? Probably not. Will it drive me absolutely batty initially when he spends the first two or three weeks of school on one subject and one subject alone? Definitely.

Am I gonna give it the best shot I possibly can?

Also yes.

Come August, pray for me. My sanity will need it.


Jana said...

Sarah, I have been there. It was the hardest thing for me to learn. I wanted all the kids to love "My thought" of the perfect education.

I had to learn to give and take. I still follow TWTM, but now I know that I can do it in a few days. Allowing other days to be child directed.

It worked well with even my older children. They knew that there were 4 math assignments, 4 english assignments, etc. When those were done they could spend the rest of the time on art, or history. ;-)

( based on a 4 day year round schedule, with Fridays off for fun. )

Habebi said...

Prays and hugs coming your way girlie. You are a lot braver than me you know- there's no way (at least now) I could attempt what you're doing. Keep your chin up! You're being honest with yourself and that will make all the difference for you and M1. :-)