Tuesday, February 01, 2011

figuring it out

The idea of homework has always been part of the deciding factor in homeschooling the kids.  I just don't believe in homework.  Very few jobs really require you to do work outside of doing your work.  Sure, there are some times when you might spend some personal time taking care of some business, but when do we, as adults, really have homework? 

So to think that schools can't, in the time they have, do the job we expect of them maybe suggests we should assume something is wrong.  But now that I'm seeing some homework and helping, I'm actually developing a different appreciation, though I'm only going so far with this.  I'm not really changing my mind.

By the time I got home The Boy had already finished his math homework, and he's doing well it seems.  He needs very little help except with understanding sometimes what's being asked.  The homework I helped with tonight involved eight sentences which were missing their verb.  The verb was place at the end of the sentence, apart and hugged only by ( ) but needed to be translated to past tense and inserted into the blank space.

Out of eight sentences offered there were only four verbs, so each was repeated.  We worked through the first four, and he once again impressed me with his reading.  He's taking his time with it, but he's actually doing it even though it takes a lot of reminders of what things sound like.  Of course we're also learning American English, and it feels that sometimes you almost need to work in our own Southern dialect.  How many times can you tell a kid that this time that letter sounds different from nearly every other time that you see it, and it actually sounds just like a letter that exists, which begs the question why it's spelled this way instead of another, and I'm not even stopping homework to discuss how many non English words seem to exist in American English, which is still only some amount of the issue, none of which is even the point.

After completing the first four sentences we agreed to take a break.  I settled back expecting a few minutes of playing followed be requesting food which would then be followed by a reminder from me that we needed to finish.  Less than five minutes passed before The Boy was back telling me he was done with his break.

He sat down and took a few seconds to look at his work paper before making the realization.  He looked at the four remaining improperly tensed verbs and realized that he didn't even need to do anymore reading.  He explained completely what he was doing, that the words repeated and he could just write them in without needing to read the sentences, and I couldn't argue with him.

It's true that reading the sentences would have been reading practice, and I even pointed out that it would be good to read them anyway.  I tried to entice him with the idea of being able to work on reading and to get better at reading.  I told of reading for pleasure, and he agreed that he'd like to be able to read better and to read whenever he wanted to. 

I couldn't argue with his better way.  And I'm willing to go with the idea that he's learning not to work any harder than the worksheet.  He did the assignment, and he saved himself some time so that he could get on the computer quicker.

And honestly, he's really doing great with reading.  He isn't fighting it, a concern I once had, though he's not at the point where it's easy enough to do so much.  He'll get there, and in unschooling fashion I'm going to step aside if he figures out how to beat the system once in a while. 

And I'm glad I just remembered to look up Turkish Delight.  The White Witch enticed Edmund with it, and we've read about it the last three nights that the boys were here.  The Boy keeps asking what it is, but the only answer I have is that I think it's a confection.  Then he asks, What's a confection? and I have to tell him it's kinda like candy or a sweet treat or something, that I'm not really sure, but I'll look it up.

so . . .