Sunday, March 6, 2011

“Teach Me”

Now that we have taken a few weeks away from actual formal learning and focused more on play on relaxed learning, Selena has just been begging for me to teach her again. The last four days she has asked for math, “Grandma, give me math.” Last night she grabbed her huge stack of library books and begged me to teach her to read.

I have made reference before about a child telling you when they are ready to learn, and when they just need time to digest, reflect, and relax. Well, it appears that Selena has had enough down time now and is ready to hit the learning time again. Learning becomes easier and fun when a child is willing, wanting, and ready then it is when they are forced to sit and learn.

I loved the post that Leah at Almost Homeschoolers wrote about Unschooling Panic Disorder. During this down time I had many days when I questioned am I being realistic here, do I truly still have what it is going to take to teach Selena here at home. Papa and I weighed in on sending her to Public School and then discussed the one Private Christian School. I kept holding on to my values and feelings of homeschooling. While I thought “Oh it would be nice to go do some of the things I see other women doing, the mid week bible study, or work out at the local gym,” reality always hit in and I had to concede that this truly is not who I am. Would I go to the weekly bible study, oh yes, for a little while, but once things began to seem like more of a gossip session I would be gone. Would I go to the local gym and workout, no probably not. You wouldn’t catch me running out shopping all the time, so what would I do with my time if Selena was in school? Sit at home, clean my house, and probably end up on the computer way too much.

It doesn’t take me long to come back to reality and scream “I can’t send Selena to public school!” All I have to do is go read the website for our local public school system. I cringe when I read some of the following information:

“All students  are encouraged to actively participate in our Accelerated Reader (AR) program. Students read designated library books and then complete tests on the computer. Students are scored on their correct responses. The computer maintains track of points which students earn throughout the year. Some teachers require students to read AR books as part of class.”

I want to know that what Selena is reading is 1. Something she is going to enjoy reading. and 2. Something morally appropriate, and that I would approve of. That goes without stating that at times I know Selena’s interests are not going to be those of mine, and I won’t always like every book she chooses to read, but at least it is a decision her and I will come to terms on and not one that comes from outside our home is making.

“Parents may notice the math terminology, methods, and presentation are different than they have experienced in the past. It will take some time for all of us to become familiar with the program.”

Our State that depends so much on the TEST as a grading system for the schools, teachers and students, discovered that children are failing the math section. The math on the TEST never matched up with the math in the classroom. To read a statement like the one above and to hear others tell how frustrating the new math is not only for the students but also for them as parents, reminds me that I truly want Selena’s experience with learning to be one of fun, encouragement, and while we will have our bumps times of “I just don’t get it,” there is absolutely no reason for her desire to learn to be hindered by the constant frustration that I know can be a reality for many in the classroom setting when they just are not able to get the attention they need to understand what they are doing.

Now, I am ready to get creative and just give Selena what she wants the opportunities to learn again. She is begging and asking for me to be the teacher again, so here we go. Not that we stopped totally, as I am always teaching Selena something she is going to need down the road, but now we can get back to our more formal fun learning.

One last thing as for the private school, when I hear the amount of the tuition, I quickly remind myself that I can homeschool for way cheaper then what the private school wants. That ends that thought real fast.

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  1. I agree there are just times when we have that panic like you said. I agreethat Leah's post onthat was awesome

    And so is yours

  2. Christy left me a comment to let me know that school parents have panic attacks too - maybe next time I'm doubting myself, I'll take your advice and head to the public school websites :)

  3. I certainly am not sending my child to an unsatisfactory school just so he can help raise their scores. Teaching to the test is really not a good way to foster a desire for learning. This is what I remind myself of when I am having panic attacks about whether or not I'm teaching enough.

    Kathi Sewing, Knitting, Candle Making, Homeschooling Mama

  4. I am glad that Selena wants to be taught again. I am sure every parent has some periods of doubt about whether their choice is the right one for their kids, and it's great to be able to have choices in case one way really doesn't work out.

  5. I love your statements about joining groups during the week. That is why I am not active in our PTO! It is all about gossiping and I can't stand it. I definitely support the school and do what I can (I bake for events, put together raffle baskets, and whatever else) but I can't stand to go to the meetings. Just send me an email telling me what you need and keep me out of the gossip.