Friday, November 4, 2011

One of the longer posts I mentioned

I haven't been talking much about school this year, mostly because I've been preoccupied with keeping my eyes open and food in my stomach. Truly, I don't recommend combining homeschooling and the first trimester if you can help it. But as I've started coming out of the first trimester fog, I'm realizing that quite a bit of the difficulty has been K and her resistance to most of what we're doing.

One big issue is she has a combination of shyness, perfectionism and performance anxiety that prevents her from wanting to answer a question unless she's absolutely sure of the answer (and to make it even more fun, when she's bored or feeling resistant, she sometimes likes to play dumb). This is a poor combination for a program where a teacher calls every two weeks to ask her to read out loud, let alone with standardized testing time comes along. Her kindergarten teacher last year had a reasonable amount of success with her, but we got off to a bad start with her teacher this year due to miscommunication, and while things have improved, K absolutely refused to read for her the last time she called.

The other issue is something it took me longer to realize: she's bored. This is too easy for her. The way she moans and whines through a list of three-letter words but brightens up when you start introducing more difficult words makes that clear. But I can't make any sort of case for accelerating her if I can't get her to show what she knows.

So she resists while we slog our way through a program with a heavy emphasis on output - worksheets, projects, constant mini-quizzes between the frequent tests. Just the thing a child who doesn't like to give answers needs. I keep thinking that if we could have at least half of her school day be things she likes, it will be possible to get her to do the stuff she likes less. But so far, that's only science, which is three days a week. No word on when we might introduce some other (state-mandated!) subjects, like social studies, music or art.

So: we have an educational program with only three subjects (reading, math and science), two of which are on too easy a level and which emphasize all of the things that she dislikes most. It demands that a child who is very shy and has performance anxiety when it comes to showing her knowledge get regularly quizzed by someone she has never met in person. A surefire recipe for success!

If we were homeschooling on our own and were having this kind of trouble, we could go out and find a new curriculum that's better suited to her strengths instead of her weaknesses (if we were homeschooing on our own, we would be required to be covering about nine different subjects, so I'm more than a little confused about why it's okay to just be doing three through school).

So clearly the answer is to start homeschooling on our own. More on that tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment