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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Enough is enough

The beauty of a custom-tailored education is that the level, pace, and emphasis can be precisely matched to the student's age, ability, and interest. The trick is keeping mindful of that. Already I'm often tempted by the "should" whispers urging me to introduce material or skills simply because that's what his age-peers are doing in school. I find myself asking: Is it relevant? Is he ready? Is he engaged? and trying to keep my focus on the student, not a curriculum.

It happens even in conversations.

Yesterday T and I were working in the garden and he asked, "Are there wild peas?"

Wow. What a great question! My mind started spinning with information about the history of agriculture, cultivation, natural and hybrid selection, domestication, genetic mutation, and the like. And he was asking about peas, for goodness sake! The ghost of Mendel was screaming at me to rush for the nearest whiteboard and scratch out a Punnett Square!

But, um. My kid is six. And all he wanted, and needed, to know at that moment was whether it would be worth the adventure to go foraging in the woods for the same type of plant food he was enjoying in our garden.

For now, all I provided was a brief, "Probably not. The peas we plant in the garden are a different kind than their relatives that once grew wild...and I'm pretty sure they didn't grow naturally around this area anyway."

And we went on with our day.

Sigh. Mendel, your time will come. Just not yet.

3 comments:

  1. Awesome job Mama!

    My mantra (which can be very hard to remember at times) is:

    ONLY answer the question they ask.

    This usually keeps me from turning innocent curiosity into a Teachable Moment. ;)

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  2. And that's exactly it, isn't it? You want to keep aware for those Teachable Moments, but not to get so overzealous that they turn into TuneOut Moments. As with everything else, it's a balancing act...one on which I'm constantly trying to improve.

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  3. Great distinction between a Teachable Moment and a TuneOut Moment!

    (for me, school was often one TuneOut Moment after another!)

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