Monday, October 02, 2006

Second Thoughts

I'm re-thinking my plan to have the 12yo switch topics every time he leaves the table. Part of it has been due to reading one of Marva Collins' books. What am I really accomplishing if I have him switch topics? I thought I would be showing him that his learning is in his hands, to a certain degree, but I think it could backfire. Plus it requires a lot of constant involvement on my part and there are 4 other kids in the house.

So, what's my plan, then? Have his checklist, make sure he does work before he eats a snack (classic work-avoidance tactic), using comments inspired by Marva Collins: "When you're an adult, is somebody going to give you money to get food before you do any work? Of course not. You have to work first to be able to get food." He hates the timer, but I'm going to keep an eye on time and have him switch subjects after a reasonable time. If he really has not accomplished enough because of his dawdling, he'll have to work on it in the afternoon. I also need to make sure that I'm clear with him what he has to get done today before he has any free time.

I'm also going to attempt to track how much time he actually spends working and show it to him later. Got to go get this stuff ready!


Debbie said...

I wonder if my son will still be this way when he is 12. Last year he did many passive aggressive tactics to avoid doing work. And I will admit that I didn't have a routine at all then. This year is going a BIT better. He requested that we make a school room in the basement. I was relunctant but he seems to switch gears when we head downstairs. He still sighs and complains sometimes, but I remain firm.

Debbie said...

I meant to also say that it sounds as if your doing a wonderful job researching what will work best for this child. I'm sure that you'll find what works sooner rather than later.

Daisy said...

Yes, Debbie, I think there is a definite thing with boys as they approach 12. It's an age of transition, to the point that Maria Montessori felt that kids ages 12-15 should have a practical, hands-on, active place for their education. She actually came up with the idea of having them work on farms or something similar, dealing with the care of animals as well as financial management, general management of a farm, etc. Basically, a good old-fashioned apprenticeship!

But I don't have that luxury and need to reach this child before he is high school age. I really want him to go to high school, not because I don't want him here, but because the high school that interests him has so much to offer in terms of science and technology, two of his great loves. Another is being active: his diving, skateboarding, biking... and this high school also has a sports alternative program if he chooses to compete in diving and wants to have time to train. For him, it's just almost too good of an opportunity to pass up.

Thank you for the vote of confidence! I was inspired by Marva the first time I read her and now reading this second book by her, I'm absorbing and understanding more of what it is that she does to reach even the most difficult child and am feeling more confident myself. She reminds me so much of Maria Montessori in that respect, even though she has an entirely different educational approach, but I think it's the acceptance of the child and showing you care about him and expecting great things from him that probably make a greater difference than any acutal educational method.

Debbie said...

>>I think it's the acceptance of the child and showing you care about him and expecting great things from him that probably make a greater difference than any acutal educational method.<<

Yes!! That gave me goose bumps. When it comes down to it that is my main issue with public schools. How can a teacher of 25-30 children make each one feel this way? She may be able to reach a lot of them, but there will be a good handful that are missed. I just don't want mine to be the ones that are missed.