I read somewhere that some homeschoolers use ‘dot-to-dot’ books to help their kids learn their numbers. Petra is pretty good with her numbers and, more importantly, has some understanding that numbers relate to groups of objects e.g. 4 means 4 things; 4 cars, shells, buttons whatever. But when she counts to 20 or beyond, she keeps skipping ‘15’ for some reason! And I’ve been late about tackling it, initially thinking it was cute. I call this ‘youngest child syndrome’ where, even with only 2 children, you are more relaxed with the youngest, thinking mistakes are cute and not correcting them! I think you know they will turn out OK after all, whereas with your first child you are constantly afraid and feel you have to do the ‘right thing’ all the time, especially if you haven’t lived your life closely around other children and seen how children grow up almost by accident!
Anyway, Petra was enjoying her dot-to-dot but kept asking, “Is this my homework?” When I prevaricated and said, “Well….” She said, “It is! Say it is!” I hated to say ‘yes’ because ‘homework’ for me has strongly negative connotations – time away from your family doing something worthless, competing with other kids on projects (which said more about how much time your parents would spend with you/do it for you, how much money they’d spend on it, than what a good job you’d done!) . So I think it’s very strange that Petra should want her fun to be homework! Edward never showed any enthusiasm for homework so why would she want to have some?
Edward never had much homework anyway because the school he was in, whilst academically ambitious, didn’t believe in homework, which is something I absolutely agree with. They felt homework was the ultimate ‘busywork’ because homework is only useful if everyone is set individual tasks – to improve upon any areas of weakness. But a teacher would never have the time to organize this. So instead they just sent home lots of interesting books from the library, which weren’t compulsory for the children to read, but were nice (and I really miss access to these books now that I’m home educating). But if the child had a real problem, you could discuss it with the teacher and they would make suggestions about how you could help. They were also good when you asked what you should do in the holidays with the children. Plenty of very ambitious mothers asked this! Unless the child really had a difficulty, the teachers would say “Nothing! Play!” So, it’s been nearly 2 months since we’ve needed to say the word homework in the house which is quite a long time in a 3 year old’s life. Yet a 3 year old girl’s desire to grow up, which is very different from a boy’s on the whole, Edward has even said he’s a ‘Peter Pan’, is such that she is desperate to do something she equates with being older, in this case, ‘homework’!
We’re off to this new Science Centre tomorrow, with a group of 14 other homeschoolers ranging in age from 15 month to 10 years. I hope it will be both a fun and edifying adventure!
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