Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Can't teach 'em 'til they're ready

You'd think that as a university trained, state certified secondary teacher that I would know this. I *thought* I knew all I needed to know about kids after graduating with my teaching degree. Parenting was not a big deal. It was simple. All kids must follow the same basic progression or why would everything be organized the way it is. Follow what they taught me and all would be well.

Then, I taught for a while.

And, then, I became pregnant for the first time.

I read the books. I read the research. I prepared. I studied. I asked around. This parenting thing really wasn't that big of a deal.

Then, Flicka arrived.

And, I went reeling. Nothing about this child was standard, by the book, expected, or on time. But, I only had to survive it once because the nice medical team that treated me for infertility assured me that I'd never be pregnant again.

Until, I started throwing up when Flicka was 15 months old.

Seven months later, while I was then reeling from Flicka's ongoing terrible twos, Pojke arrived.

So, a couple years later, we hemmed and hawed about homeschooling. However, we settled on a little country school that we *LOVED* for Flicka's kindergarten and first grade year.

Jump forward two raucous, crazy, insane years and we were starting homeschooling. How hard could it be? I taught 150+ middle schoolers daily for several years. I had a teaching degree. I had been a parent for 8 years. I had this.

And, then I didn't.

How could I not have learned (or, at least, remembered) that kids learn at their own pace, in their own order, and at their own motivation. I still *get* how new information should be "linked" or "hung on" older already-known information for better recall and retention but, while I've seen it in the classroom, I don't see it as often with my own kids.

Most of their acquisition of knowledge makes me feel like I have whiplash.

For example...

...a child that can't spout off their "2 times" facts but sat down and did their 6's, 7's, and 8's

...a kid who can't read their phonics workbook but can read a chapter book

...a child who can't tell you 6 + 9 but could tell you 6 X 9 who can't remember the reading from yesterday but can remember in detail an event in a biography we read a year ago.

...a kid that can't name the planet we were studying this afternoon but can rattle off the entire planetary solar system mnemonic for all 7 (or 8) of them.

...a child that can't print their name legibly but can do it in beautiful cursive. that misspells every 3rd or 4th word while "free writing" but is a month ahead in their spelling text with consistent 100% scores.

...a child that can't tie their own shoes but is learning about the Fibonacci sequence.

...a kid who can't remember to cover their mouth (or to chew with it closed) but wanted to look up "typhoid" and "cholera" after reading about immigration at Ellis Island.

All this can be frustration, infuriating, delightful, and wonderous. It can be the best part of homeschooling...and the worst. This is that leaps-and-bounds thing. And, that two-steps-forward-one-step-back conundrum. But, what it is at its most basic is - a leap of faith.

Having faith that we as a family called to this. Having faith that *I* am called to this as the teacher. Having faith that, with all this hard work, laughing, crying, and fun, it will all turn out just fine.

1 comment:

  1. Beth, This made me laugh because we have experience every one of your examples. Every one almost exactly the same. Hilarious. The cursive thing has me cracking up lately. Have you heard that some people actually teach cursive first?