Thursday, November 13, 2014

How Lucy is homeschooled

Lucy is one of those kids who loves school. Loves it. Not the social part of school, mind you. She eats lunch alone, makes few friends, and could care less that this is the case. She loves the academic part of school. Loves, loves, loves it. (Though it also gives her stomach aches and completely stresses her out.)

Just yesterday she told me the thing she misses most about being in regular school, besides getting grades, is preparing presentations (not giving them, preparing them). Who actually likes preparing presentations?

My daughter.

So homeschooling her is pretty easy. She does what I ask her to do with gusto, secretly worried if she does not do it with gusto, she will grow stupid.

This could be the end of the story.

But it's not.

I'm struggling with Lucy because I want her to break free of the idea of grades being the best thing about school. I want her learning to be the best thing about school. I want her CREATING to be the best thing about school.

Every day the four youngest kids have an hour of tinkering time, where they are supposed to try new things, new skills, or make new inventions. It is literally about tinkering. Shaemus and Calvin LOVE this time. It's their favorite.

Lucy, not so much. She just asked me the other day if she could do extra writing and extra Spanish during tinkering time. Not really thinking about it, I said sure.

But I've been thinking about it. I think Lucy needs tinkering time.

I think Lucy needs tinkering so she can learn how to fail.

I'm going to do some experiments with this. We've created such a right/wrong world (there is one correct answer and you'll find it in the back of the book!) in the public schools and in our society. Lucy is perfectly happy to exist in that world as long as she is on the "right" side of the fence. Being on the "wrong" side sends her into panic. (I'm not talking about morals, by the way.)

I need to create a world for Lucy where there are few right answers and few wrong answers—there is just effort and thought and inspiration and perseverance. I need to create a world for her where there is no "growing stupid."

Otherwise, when she grows up, she will be afraid of doing anything that might cross that stupid line, and her life will be very small indeed.

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