Saturday, October 07, 2006

Am I Bad?


I feel like I'm being devious.

The first site I hit upon when doing my Montessori high school search was a thing in Wikipedia. It reminded me that I'm not giving the kids the feedback they need on their progress. So I decided to do a month report for the kids, starting with the 15yo. I'm working on her French section, saying what she's accomplished and what she has left to do to finish French 10. She's FAR more capable than that, but is convinced that she can't do French Language Arts. As I was going through the Alberta objectives, I realized that I could have her cover French 10 and 20 for sure this year (she's already touched on at least half the stuff), and possibly even French 30. She'll then be able to move into FLA 10-2 and 20-2 stuff for sure for next year. But I'm not going to tell her that. {devilish grin} That's why I ask, "Am I bad?" Well, I'll tell her eventually, but I'm not going to tell her that's my plan. She'll panic and resist.

There are lots of things she lacks confidence in, lots of things she's convinced she can't do better. And there are things with the 12yo and even my dd. I have to wonder if there's something I should have been doing all along to help this, or if there's something I've been doing all along that has encouraged this negative thinking. I'm brought back to Marva Collins saying repeatedly that the kids need to believe in themselves before they truly excel. She gives them constant feedback, even if it's a little over the top. I think this is something I need to work on. Growing up, I had the "Excellent!" stickers or the "Good job!" stickers and things like that. But not enough real feedback. I guess part of me figured that the kids would just know how they're doing. It's silly of me, isn't it?

Ok, gotta go back to my reports and Montessori high school searching.


Debbie said...

In my humble opinion you need to go a little easier on yourself. By the sounds of it you're doing a wonderful job at taking care of their educational, physical, and emotional needs. NOBODY is perfect, and (I don’t mean this in any derogatory way) nor is Marva Collins. I think we have to remember that even those people we most look up to and admire make mistakes. It's like I'm telling my children these days: you absolutely can not learn without making mistakes. You need to make them. Your students are so fortunate to have a mentor/teacher that revaluates her actions and methods. That’s what I love about homeschooling. You can see when things aren’t working, and make a course change.

Now, should you tell the 15 year about your ideas/intentions for next year regarding her studies? I don’t think you’re being bad not to tell. If she is someone who is hard on herself (hmmm) and stresses out over high expectations then perhaps it is better that she doesn’t know. OR she might benefit from having a goal in mind. Do you want her to get through the subject matter ahead of time so that she can get into college earlier? Or so that she can fit in more subjects? If it’s a goal that she shares perhaps then she’ll WANT to do the extra work. May-be start by asking what her goals are, and get her excited about them first. Then suggest a path to achieve them. You know her best, of course. Perhaps her confidence is low enough that she doesn’t have goals in mind. Incidentally, who knows really why some people are more confident then others? Influences from those in authorituve roles play a part surely, but is that the whole picture? And by the way, don’t forget that you’re not her only influence.

I don’t know you personally, Daisy, but your posts on Edmonton-hs are always insightful. I usually come away with an “ah ha” moment. And now through reading your blog I can see that you put a lot of thought and consideration into your own teaching methods. You’re doing an AWESOME job!

Daisy said...

Thanks, Debbie!

Yes, I'm definitely a perfectionist. Part of my problem right now is that we had a great go of things in previous years and the 'click' just doesn't seem to be happening this year. It's driving me crazy. lol. I'm horribly analytical, too, which means everything gets broken down as much as it possibly can. I am my own worst enemy, I know. :)

And no, Marva Collins isn't perfect. And she reminds her students of that. But she has inspired me.

The 15yo does have some vague goals. When she was clearer about what she wanted to do for post-secondary, she was very gung-ho. She's not so clear now and I think that's unsettling--and also unmotivating. She's also a perfectionist and too hard on herself. She's not stupid and realizes that in some areas, she's not at as high of a level as other kids her age, and convinces herself that that's how she is and can't do better.

I think I'm just reaching a point where I'm really seeing that there are some major non-academic things that need to be taken care of. My push for academics has been following physical laws: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I can't forget that our schooling is more than just academics. And that I can only take them so far--they have to do the rest.

Debbie said...

I am a perfectionist, too. Takes one to know one, I guess. And I'm way too hard on myself at times.

You know that I wasn't putting down Marva Collins or that you look up to her, right? I admire how well read you are, and the references that you make to various authors are enlightening.

I also didn't realize how much I had blathered on in my last post until I saw it published (kinda like this time!). I just meant to encourage you not to preach to you. I’m new to this so what do I know? :0)

Daisy said...

I didn't take you as putting down Marva at all! I saw it as a cautionary remark.

Blogging is a wonderful way to blather. As you can tell, I did a lot of it yesterday. :D