I am so conflicted.  I read radical unschooling blogs.  I read blogs on classically training your four year old.  Good thing I watch and listen to my kids, too, or I’d be all over the place.

I’ve said before that I have seen the benefits of my ‘fickle’ approach; hard and heavy curriculum for a week or two leads to all sorts of unschooly goodness for a week or two as they integrate the lessons and make them really their own.  Back and forth we go, and up the learning curves they go!  Fortunately, they even integrate the subjects whose lessons are, by default, less interest driven; the handwriting, math and reading work that I *know* they will want, and want at a high level, at some point, ergo I push them now.  But only for an hour a day, and not even five days a week most of the time. (We are all sick right now, for example, so paper flowers and Barney are apparently the order of the day, as per my kids’ requests.  Bring on the glitter glue!) 

I find myself wondering if my having twins and a little brother has anything to do with this?  It seems like some of the scheduled/curriculumed-to-the-nines families only have one kid.  If mom is your main playmate, why NOT play at lessony stuff?  I can totally see that mom might be more interested in playing if there is learning happening, so that is a good (attentional) reinforcement system for kiddo to want to go along with it, interested in the subject or not.  By contrast, my kids have three or four (if we count Daddyman) playmates around all the time, so their interest in homeschooling (unless we are doing something novel) is about the same as their interest in playing any other game – about an hour!  (Also, obviously, it is much harder to keep three kids all interested in the same thing, and they distract each other massively.  *Whole* different can of worms, that.)

Don’t get me wrong: I *like* that homeschool is like any other game or project or toy to them; what better way to foster lifelong learning than to have it be something fun? 

Doesn’t mean that I don’t look at some of these other families, and their incredibly one-thing-or-another kids, and play comparison games.  >.<

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2 Responses to Pushing

  1. I think being overly scheduled with only kids is big for the reasons you say, but also because it’s always novel for the mother with one child. The very first time you “teach” preschool and kindergarten and first grade and even chemistry, you are on a sort of brand new adventure together. It’s new and exciting, and you can plan and come up with crafts and so on. But when your third kid is at that level? Not so much. For me, part of it is quite simply a case of been there, done that! LOL

    Another reason for me is simply time. I can’t devote that much time to such scheduled learning TIMES FOUR. I’d never get anything else done!

    And another reason… often, oldest kids are the types to be super eager to please, a little extra adult, and have other personality traits that make them perfect for that sort of idealized one-on-one schooling (Victoria certainly was!). Second and third and fourth kids? Not so much! They have each other to play with, less compulsion to be perfect or master everything, more concerns with the normal fun of childhood. 🙂

    We had years of lots more scheduled schooling and projects and so on. Personally, I’ve been HSing for over 10 years now and a lot of the novelty has worn off! Sometimes I feel guilty for not doing more these days, especially with my boys. I know Victoria thrived with that early one-on-one superschooling, but she also is a very different sort of kid than her sister and brothers. My goal now is to do *more* of that sort of thing, but I don’t have it in me to ever do it full time again and my other three wouldn’t even like it!

    • Siggi says:

      My oldest two are twins, which I think complicates it all as well. Getting to read with just one child is nigh on impossible. No ‘litte adults’ around here!

      I taught public high school, so I got used to teaching the same material over and over again, both from hour to hour, and from year to year. At first it was frustrating, but then I got into improving my delivery and lessons in general, and started enjoying it.

      My son’s (youngest) experience is SO different from my girls. He’s learning a lot of this stuff right along with them, so I’m not sure I’ll have a lot of repeating to do anyway. My girls are very different from one another, but learning the same stuff; makes me glad I learned differential instruction from my professional work!

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