Monday, October 7, 2013

question and answer from a homeschool perspective

This question was asked:

I also would like to know whether Elazar is still interested in chumash.I find that so many times my kids pick something up, do it in an intense way for a day ( or a week) and then it falls off the radar. Then I look up, and nobody is doing what they seemed so interested and ready to do.

I would like to answer it in two frameworks, as a homeschooler and as an unschooler, because I think the answer differs, depending.

As a homeschooler, I would say that very often young children (meaning under high school age) pick things up in an intense way for a day or a week and then don't follow through.

One possibility is that they are actually learning in these intense bursts.  Think of night and day, spring and winter.  There are intense times and fallow times.  The fallow times actually are times when there is unconscious processing or a gathering energy for an active time.  Many times I had students who would be so quick at reading and writing some weeks, and other weeks it would be like pulling teeth.  I learned to do extra during the bursts and just keep a bare minimum during the draggy times (or sometimes, perhaps, skip it and bring it up in a couple of weeks).  Working with the child's natural energy ended up being more efficient.

Another possibility is that they ran out of energy because it is more difficult than they anticipated.  The "fun" does not outweigh the "drudgework."

In this case, it's best to look on a case by case basis.  Is this something where you think the drudgework is worthwhile?  Will the child learn important self-discipline and follow-through?  Is this an important long term skill to have?  Is this work something I think is manageable for the child and s/he is capable of?  In that case, it is my responsibility to set up the follow through and help my child achieve those skills.

Is it just a project that s/he thought was going to be awesome and now it's not actually fun?  Did it cost me money?  Did s/he make an actual commitment?  If the only down side is that my kid seems to be a bit of a flake, I would let it go.  There are many opportunities where your child will have to follow through on commitments and responsibilities that he or she has made.  If you don't let him or her wiggle out of those, then they make great situations for practicing responsibility and follow through.

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