I have been telling people for 3 + years that I don't teach my kids, I just give them the materials they need to learn and find a method of accountability (testing!). They teach themselves. I tried to tell the schools they attended that no one was teaching anything because the kids were not learning at their level. Your article stated exactly what I had been trying to say! LOL My daughter is now 13 and taking AP tests in Physics and Calculus this spring, having been adopted from Russia 7 years ago. I haven't taught her math since she learned English. Her brother, at 12 is less motivated, but has found that he can learn math using a different program, and having just starting high school geometry 2 weeks ago is 50% done! We basically do the same in all subjects: learn the material, discuss what they feel is interesting and correct assignments and tests together. This has eliminated a lot of stress in our family.
Nancy in Connecticut
I have 7 kids. In some areas they're "ahead." In some areas they're "behind." In all areas they're growing. I repeat almost daily to them all that I don't care if they're at grade level with their peers; I only care that they're happy and learning.
I really liked reading what Sheila had to say.
Amen, Anne! (really all of you who are giving your children WHAT they need, WHEN they need it! Keep up the good work!
Assistant to The HomeScholar
I have 5 kids, two now in university. While I pushed the basics, we did not worry much about grade level. Some things they are behind in, others way, way ahead. As long as they were challenged and learning and working hard, I do not care (much) about grade level. It does bother me a bit that my grade 6 dd is doing grade 4 math, but that's my problem, not hers.
Most kids are interested in something; the trick is finding out what that is and then letting them excel at it without pushing them too hard. It's always a learning curve, I think.
I have 3 daughters. 2 (the oldest and the youngest) love math. The youngest is actually ahead of her sister in math. Her sister is two years older. It is like this: There are analytically minded children and artistically minded children. The analytic ones have no problem with math and science since they automatically think logically and have a passion to search out the "right" answer. The artistically minded children are not interested in the "right" answers and therefore, math and science don't seem to hold the same fascination as music and art -- which don't have any "right" answers. They are more expressive and have a passion to express their emotions, ideas and experiences in a creative way. So, it doesn't bother me at all that the 17 year old is barely doing Geometry and the 15 year old is ready for Algebra 1 and 2. It's better if we focus on their strengths and help them (sometimes with much time, hair-pulling and one-on-one) with their weaknesses. After all, they probably won't choose a career in which they have to "live" in their weaknesses. Rather, they will choose a career which focuses on their strengths. Needless to say, I have no geniuses...just ordinary and different kids.
Oh, Take heart Carrie- you are not alone. I have been homeschooling for 17 years, 2 graduated, and an 11th grader, 1st & Kinder left. I only had one that was self motivated, he was just that way. So far, I have had to "pull teeth" with the rest. But I know that God desires that I do this, and it is training me to endure. In God's economy nothing is wasted, preparing us for the next thing He has for us. Don't be discouraged, it really is for such a short time. I have found that structure works best for the unmotivated. If they cannot rule their time and get the work done, they will be ruled and their time will be structured (somewhat.) Sticking to a schedule might help him understand how to use time wisely and free time is a big motivator!
Amen, Lois! Our family motto is "Never compare, someone always gets hurt." Great sermon, Lois :-)
Here I am! My kids are smart, but not fast. They are both behind where they "should" be. My 12 year old son is completely unmotivated, and must be spoon-fed math. There is no incentive big enough to have him initiate what he knows he needs to do. Now that baseball season has started, he must finish ALL his work with a GOOD ATTITUDE or he won't go to practice or the game. My daughter takes at least an hour to complete an algebra assignment, and I only assign half the problems. She's in 9th grade, and other homeschoolers we know do algebra in 8th. I don't get how they completed all that came before.
Let me just share one thing I've learned to encourage you. Never compare yourself to another. That goes for your kids too. What I want for mine is to demonstrate a heart that loves the Lord, and for them to serve Him all their days. That is the goal of education. That's my sermon for the day. God bless you!
I agree providing the curriculum that matches your child's abilities and needs, not just teach what some school board says is "grade level", but it bothers me that the only stories parents share seem to be when their child is a genius and teaches themselves geometry and does 50% of the year's course in two weeks! Or is passing college level AP classes in middle school. Is there anyone out there with a child like mine? That needs actual one on one teaching to understand math; who isn't a self-motivated student. I mean if I left it all up to him he would read star war books all day. Yes he can read "above grade level", but left to school himself I dont believe his writing, science, algebra, would all just take care of itself. Again, am I alone out here, the only one who has a child that won't breeze thru AP classes, ace the SAT, and teach himself?
Teaching Latin. It is a language that is intimidating to some, but can be helpful in helping to learn other languages. Before you blow it off as a dead language, see what my friend Mary Ellen has to say about it. She'll bring you many good reasons why teaching Latin shouldn't be intimidating or hard, but why it can benefit your homeschool!
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