Thursday, June 4, 2009

High Expectations

Since it is the end of the school year for most of the kids around us I have been evaluating what we were able to do over the year and if I feel like Sophie has covered enough in 2nd grade. I honestly can't believe she is heading into third grade already.

There are so many days I feel like I am failing at homeschooling and that Sophie is way behind in some subjects. Usually these are the days when we just can't seem to get around to doing our "table work" and just play and read books. We do tend to be very informal anyway but somedays it doesn't feel like we really "do school". I often need to remind myself of how much we actually do get done, and how much she, as well as the boys, are learning even when it isn't sit down and do an assignment type of work.

I know History/ Geography are well covered. She knows way more than most kids her age and I know there are things we have studied I don't ever remember studying. I also feel like we read a ton of great literature and that she is exposed to many of the masters of art and music. My kids love to read books and almost always have books or music playing while they go about their activities. I mostly feel like we are behind in Math and writing/grammar. These are the subjects that seem to be more assignment based and therefore she fights them.

I was sitting next to another mother while the kids were at swim lessons and her son is in second grade. She was complaining about the amount of homework he has to do at home and said he was tired of doing so much adding and subtracting all the time. I remember thinking about Sophie and how we are struggling with multiplication tables and lately long division. I guess she isn't behind at all. Infact she is ahead. Singapore math does introduce concepts earlier than other curriculums and she is almost all the way through the 3A book which puts her halfway through the 3rd grade year of math. I guess I am pushing her a little hard. I think I need to play a little more math games with her and slow down through the workbook.

As for writing and grammar, I know we aren't regular about any program we have tried. And for this reason it feels like I have really short changed her. Today while at our weekly trip to the library I stopped to look at the writing fair that was on display in the library. Each of the schools in our school district sent in student work to show off what their classes were doing. I, of course, went to the 2nd grade work and wanted to see the "masterpieces" that I figured were coming out of these classes. What I saw was very basic stories or sentences, often misspelled with grammar and punctuation either missing or incorrect. The writing itself wasn't any easier to read than what Sophie prints out. It was eye opening for me to see this. When I came home I put away the writing assignment Sophie had done for that morning into her folder where I keep this years work. I glanced through her work that I have collected over the past few months and could honestly say that her work was either about the same as what I saw or in some cases better. So again I was reminded that my expectations for my almost 8 year old may be a little high.

I am not trying to create a genius or a star in anyway. But I do hope she learns to love to learn new things and how to express herself in a coherent and articulate way. I know I can't and shouldn't try to force her to learn. It is up to her. I just have to give her opportunities and guidance along the way. No it isn't important to compare my child's levels to what other kids her age are doing but for me it was nice to be reminded that I am not failing to help her progress.

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