Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Balancing Confidence with Challenge

I have often pondered this topic-- Challenge vs Confidence. However, it has remained only a thought process up until this point, with no move make steps to improve how we do it.



One of the major benefits of homeschooling is going at your child's pace-- not being boxed in by a grade or label. Need to accelerate? Great. Need to slow down? Absolutely.

Somewhere during second grade, being a year ahead in math started to be a problem. So we slowed down to about a semester "ahead." That has worked pretty well up until this point. E is challenged, but not defeated.

Writing was another area of struggle. We backed up and found a new groove. Better. Challenged but not crying. Success.

Or maybe not so successful?

E is doing very well academically. Reading at an accelerated grade level, doing math at a higher level, almost a full year ahead in spelling.

My goal has always been find the more rigorous online and local schools and aim for that level of academic work as long as they are able.

She is doing that. But at what cost?

Yes, while she is excelling, if you ask her she will say she is not. She will say "I'm not good at math" or even "I'm horrible at it."

I remember my elementary school experience. While there were challenging moments here and there, I remember mostly feeling success. Feeling "smart." Things were mostly easy for me.

That feeling of accomplishment and confidence is lacking for E. And I want to head it off for C before we get to that point.

I need to find the balance of challenging my children, while still allowing them to feel successful and proud of their accomplishments. Confidence is critical.

I am not sure exactly how I will do this or exactly what it will look like, but I know I am intensely aware of the need to build up my kids and offer them more outlets to build confidence. Not make things easy for them-- I have no desire to build false confidence. Affirmation alone is not cutting it. I tell them all the time how smart they are and how great they are doing. However, they don't feel smart because all of their schoolwork tells them differently. They have to work at it therefore they must not be smart. If they were smart -- it would be easy, right?  When it gets easy we speed up...and move on. Sometimes this is ok. Sometimes, we just need to feel confident. Sometimes it's ok to do something "easy."

I want to encourage and affirm their hard work and diligence...with something other than harder work.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Failing Summer?


I had serious lofty expectations of summer. You know-- keep up on reading and math. OK. Maybe my expectations were not very high at all. But you know the old saying reach for the moon and land in the clouds? Well, we aimed a little too low and got the ground...

I remember back to the days when I was a kid...summer break did not involve Summer Bridge books. You didn't have to work all summer to not be "behind" in the new school year. And yet, things have changed. Usually we look at summer as a time to tread water-- not necessarily tackle anything new, but just not lose ground. It's a solid goal for us. One I still maintain. I just didn't hit it this summer. The best laid plans and all that...

I feel like I failed summer. I was going to have the kids do a Bravewriter project about our trip in May...and take numerous trips to the library, and read all those great read alouds we didn't get to last year. Nope. Didn't happen. In fact I only know my 7 yo hasn't forgotten how to read because he regularly reads Wii instructions. Go ahead and laugh. Pathetic. I know. Hey, we went to the library once.

Truth is ... I needed the break. Summer got crazy and got away from us. Hubby and I kicked off the summer with a cruise...just adults. Lovely. Needed that. Got back and he left for a work/mission trip. He got back, I left with my oldest for kids camp. We got back and I left for a weekend with some friends. Got back, hubby left on another mission trip. He got back and sheesh. It was almost July. Two weeks of tennis camp for the older two and -- summer is almost gone. I blinked and just about missed it. 

We didn't get done all that I had planned, (or any of it) and perhaps there was more chaos than I prefer, but I am very grateful for the break. I needed it. Every bit of it. 

We are headed into the homestretch-- 2 weeks until our start date.  A new school year. I have begun the grind of planning and printing and printing some more...organizing and vision casting for the new year. It's overwhelming at times, but I love the planning process. I love looking ahead and prayerfully considering our goals and focus for the upcoming school year. 

I am excited about things to come. I can't say I was excited in May. Perhaps the summer wasn't a complete failure after all...





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