It is late; however, I wanted to let you know what happened when I did our mid-year wrap up recently while it is fresh in my mind.
There are no course changes for the high schoolers; however, I did find that I needed to give correction to one younger student who had not been doing her work with mastery in not one, not two, but three subjects.
One subject was too difficult. She had finished her current year’s science text, and she had asked permission to move onto the next level. Turns out I should’ve waited on that. My mistake. Readiness was a real issue here, and I take responsibility for that. So now we are waiting on starting the next level until further notice. After all, there is no rush.
Secondly, the vocab words weren’t being internalized completely, so I gave extra work on day #1’s word list each week. Now she will need to write a sentence using each word instead of just looking over the words on day #1. I think this will help her enormously.
Sometimes additional tools need to be given to the student in order to for him or her to work well, much like a formula that has to be carefully developed in order to be just right. You add in a little here, take a little from there. I had a talk with her, explaining that I need to know if she is finding it difficult to remember her words so we can work together to help her do so. Now she knows, and we’ll go from here.
What disappointed me was the fact that she was not really studying history. I suspect the eyes were moving across the page, but the words were not being processed. Sloppy, yes. This hasn’t been going on for very long, as she is not very far into the book.
However, the “punishment” for not being honest and truly doing the work is that she is having to start over at the beginning of the book, and now she must write down the answers to the chapter questions in a notebook until further notice. The freedom to work on her own is gonzo, and I will be quizzing her regularly on what she has learned.
There is some peer pressure here in the sense that the others see that I am asking her questions and requiring things I had not required before, so she knows that they know that she has not lived up to her end of the bargain. She was hopefully feeling some shame in the situation, even though she has confessed her “sin,” and I have certainly forgiven her. There is a price to be paid though.
Kids are imperfect human beans. They learn and grow just like the rest of the population. Something really cool happened today with this child, however. She came downstairs and announced proudly that she could name all of the continents. That was lesson number one in her history book. She was anxious to show me that she could be trusted by demonstrating what she had learned today. I praised her, and I hugged her tightly. Affirmation is vitally important.
She knows I will expect much more attention to detail, and I will be looking…no…gazing intently over her shoulder until I am confident that I can back off a little. The other children also are reminded once again of the expectations to work hard and well, and I can see that good is coming out of this situation already.
Do I blame myself? Yes, for the first two things that I could have caught sooner with the science and the vocab. But the third item is something that has natural consequences, and the students learn through making mistakes. I know that is usually how I learn….the hard way.
Self-learning requires trust. Children really like to be trusted, and when they are not, they will work hard to be trustworthy once again.
So there is a real-life glimpse into the mid-year adjustment cycle in our home school. See! I told you we were not perfect! 🙂
I am very happy with the progress of the other students, and I know that the one who needs to improve will do so. I love them all so very much and just want the best for them. I know that this is exactly how the Lord feels about His children: He loves us and wants the very best for us. At times we wander off. He usually lets us wander, and usually we pay a price for our wanderings. But He is always there to forgive and to restore. We learn, grow, and hopefully do things differently the next time.
Oh, and the college kids are back at their respective haunts, having just purchased their load of books for the next semester. Everyone here at the house has their room back if they had to share to accommodate the olders during break, and all is well.
Now all we need is a little bit of snow to truly make it feel like winter.