Thursday, June 30, 2011

Planning School

I've been trying to decide what to teach my son next year.  There are so many things to learn, and so many ways to teach them.  It's a difficult decision.  Today it occurred to me that I'm going about the thing all wrong.

I'm seeking, as usual, a good match between his interests, his learning style, and what he needs to know to fulfill state standards.

What I should be assessing are areas of strength and weakness, and areas that require growth and change.

This was a difficult year.  The first semester was spent unschooling, as much as anyone in a highly regulated state can do that.  By the end of the semester, he realized that self-directed learning wasn't really getting him anywhere, and asked for books.  I happily complied.  He excelled at first, but after a month or so, his enthusiasm waned, and so did his character.  He became lazy, deceptive, and occasionally defiant.  These issues were much more easily treated when he was younger; compounded by approaching teen-hood, they fixed themselves firmly as a part of his personality.

I don't know how far any curriculum can go toward goals that are more character-oriented than standards driven, but I need to try to pursue strategies that will encourage the character growth as well as the knowledge.

As a reminder to myself, these are areas I need to focus on in the coming year:

  • Partnership learning - he and I need to work together in one subject area, not so much as authority and subordinate, but as partners.  Goal: relationship building through shared experience.
  • Independent work - he needs to be able to read and comprehend lessons without my intervention in at least one subject area.  Goal: building confidence and self-reliance.
  • Planning and strategizing - he needs to better plan and prioritize his work.  Goal: base his expectations on a realistic understanding of the work involved.
  • Honesty/integrity - he needs to mean what he says with intention to fulfill his word.
  • Social skills - he needs to catch up a bit in terms of social maturity. 
  • Get my husband involved - Tween needs to have more of a connection and mentorship with his strong Christian father.  He also needs the pressure to excel that closer interaction with his dad will build. Not sure how to implement this one, given my husband's erratic schedule.
Often, when I type things like this, I feel like I've set my Christianity aside.  Please understand that these thoughts presuppose God's guidance and help.  The ultimate goal is always to become conformed more to the image of Christ, for him and for me.


  1. I need to plan and order stuff, too! Next week. This week, it's the closets. Next week, the bookshelves! Then, I'll be ready to order.