Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Babbling and stuff

I requested this book from the library called Teaching the Restless: One School's Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to Helping Children Learn and Succeed and it's just wonderful. I heard about it on the AERO site, a site about alternative education, including "Free Schools", which the school in the book is. I had read one of A.S. Neill's books in the past about Summerhill and while I found it interesting, I felt he reached a point of almost abandoning the kids a little too much. The school described in this book doesn't do that. It really does focus on helping the kids to grow rather than just assuming that they will on their own. They still have the freedom to have lessons or not, just like for Summerhill (and for 'pure' Montessori), but the director really seems to know his stuff and works at helping kids with their emotional well-being. It's a fascinating book. I think Montessorians might consider exploring more the idea of Free and Democratic schools. They've got some great points that complement the Montessori approach.

The book completely brought out one of Deepak Chopra's "things" in his book about coincidences: I've been reading Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World this past week or so and have learned all about this society's soma and drugging and all that. Wouldn't you know it but today there is an allusion to that all in Teaching the Restless. Had I not been reading the book, I would not have really understood!

Ds went to bed early last night, but I didn't because I'd started the Teaching book and was too interested. He's still tired and sensitive, though, but not nearly as bad as yesterday. But I didn't sleep well and kind of let it be unschooling and play today. I find it so hard to follow through on plans when I'm tired. I suppose I need to figure out a way to address that, because it can end up causing serious problems in getting the kids to work! Or, thinking about the book I read on helping kids with motivation issues, I have a problem: when I'm tired, my plans go out the window and part of it is because I don't "feel like" following through on them. Now, this means that I don't achieve what I want to with the kids and that they go undirected if they are not being self-directed. So, by choosing to go with my not feeling like doing stuff, I'm choosing to not reach my goals! Ach! (This book, Bright Minds, Poor Grades has been insightful for ME, perhaps more than for my work with the 12yo!!)

In any case, ds did a math sheet and we reviewed (cursive) abcde, dd and the 12yo did art this morning, while the 15yo did an online social studies practice test (got 100%!), then went outside while the 15yo did a math test (55% :( ). She was so convinced she was going to fail the test and that she "can't do tests" that she didn't even ATTEMPT to use the equations she was supposed to use. *sigh* It was a unit she hit a point with that nothing was sticking and I thought a good break from it would help but our review this past week did not seem to help and she bombed her first attempt at the test. I had her go back and check certain questions and gave her the points if she could figure out her mistake. She ended up with 55%, which is a passing mark here, but is a really sucky mark. She was so... what's the word? Downcast? Not sure. Not happy, though.

Once she finishes the unit 2 test tomorrow and we get started with the 3rd unit, then I think I may give her one of the questions from unit 1 to do each day. Or maybe just a review question each day, period. She needs to go back to the same stuff over and over and I somehow have to have her change her perception of math from being "I can't remember how to do this" to "I can think this through". Well, now, in saying that, perhaps daily review is NOT the thing to do but a daily THINKING question. Something basic that she needs to think her way through, even if it means starting over in algebra because it's as though she's forgotten completely how to think her way through the questions, even simple stuff like 8=4n. She knows n is 2 but she doesn't "remember" how to solve it mathematically. For something more difficult, like 8=2n+4, she has no clue how to approach it. I don't get it. She flew through this stuff in grades 7 and 8, did lots and enjoyed it. Stuff started falling apart last year. What has happened? Or maybe something got hard last year and all her old doubts came flooding back and her approach to math is through that filter. She may need some just general confidence building before anything serious. I'll have to think about this more.

Two more days left this week. I feel so confused! I somehow wonder how the week is already more than half over, yet can't believe it's already the end of the second week back. Wow. So, what are my plans? I'll post separately in a little while.


Lisia said...

... 8=4n. She knows n is 4 ...

But n is 2 ;)

BTW I enjoyed your posts on how homeschoolers are not isolated from the real world, and agree entirely. Started to write a comment but ended up posting it in my own blog.

Daisy said...

Woops! I was so busy trying to come up with an example, I goofed! It'll be corrected. :) And people will then wonder what we're talking about. lol.

You have a blog? I've got to check that out. I'm guessing through your linked name!