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Pat the Rat

We had dinner tonight with family - which was really fun.  After dinner, Campster's uncle asked her if she was reading, and she said "no".  I wonder if public schooled children get quizzed by family members?  No matter.  He was surprised and she went on to write several words in crayon on the kid's menu.  She wrote "bed" and then "mom" and "dad".  I explained that to Campster, being able to read means that you can read chapter books like the Jor Man.  So, she doesn't think that she reads yet, because she doesn't read books to herself.   He asked if she could spell his name, and she replied with "Sure, I read 'Pat the Rat'" and she wrote "pat the rat" with a big smile.

It got me thinking, does it bother me when people quiz the kids to see what they (as homeschooled students) do or don't know?  (And I realize that he might not have been quizzing her so much as making conversation.)  Yes and no.  I do fight those feeling of "they ought to know such-and-such by now".  But for the most part, I feel like what they learn is about them, and not about me.  If I needed for them to be able to read, write, spell, know their multiplication tables, or state capitals - or any other "measure" of their learning at a certain time, then I would just be "teaching to the test" in my own way.  And one of the reasons why I home school, and certainly why I unschool, is to avoid that very thing.

Teaching my kids what I think they need to know when I think (or anyone else thinks)  they need to know it is the opposite of giving them the freedom to learn what they want, when they want, and in their own way.

If their accomplishments are about me and my "superior teaching skill", then their "delays" are about my failure to teach them properly.

But what if we all learn what we learn at the right time for us?  Then we don't have to judge the learning process, we could just enjoy it.

After all, when Campster walked at 8 months, I didn't take credit for that.  That was all her.

So tonight was a good reminder for me that when people ask questions about what my kids are (or aren't) learning, it's a chance for me to be excited about HOW we are learning - together, as a family.  And if the kids want to show off their awesome learning - more power to them!  They learned it.    This is the homeschool version of peer pressure - my feeling the pressure from others for my kids to perform like their peers.  We're not in it for the performance.  We are in it for the joy of learning.

Wish you were here!

1 comment:

Lynn said...

people have always questioned my kids about what they know or what they are learning in school, too. i've always just taken it as a way for adults to make conversation with kids. i applaud your unschooling. i seriously considered homeschooling several times but georgia had a LOT of oversight in their laws and, obviously, i never followed through. if i had parenting to do over, i would definitely change our location and i would definitely homeschool. good for you!
~lynn

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