What we are using

22 January 2009

Sorry Dear, I can't make grammar fun

How much effort should we put into making school "fun"?  

BB, as the first graduate of The Magic School House, has told me that school should not be fun. The material might be interesting and some of it should appeal to the student, but there are things that have to be learned whether or not it is fun. If we only learned fun things, most people wouldn't be able to multiply or do long division and we would all have terrible handwriting and poor grammar.

I recently changed our writing program to one that would be more challenging to CC and planned to add art since she loves art. Guess what? She hated the thought of art being a school subject. She would rather do art on her own. I also chose IEW Fables Myths and Fairy Tales for writing based on the fact that she loves rewriting fairy tales, and I thought it would appeal to her. It insulted her because she is doing it on her own and didn't want it to be part of school.

I realized that If I just made everything like grammar - short, sweet and to the point - that she would probably be happier. I can't make grammar fun so I didn't even try. We do it and I don't second guess it.

I am working this year on consistency and continuity. I want my kids to be well-educated and challenged in their studies. I need to quit thinking about CC's classes like she is in Kindergarten. She has a love of learning. I need to focus on delivering the content and leave the fun for the rest of our day.  

The problem is that all of this really bothers me.  I first encountered homeschooling through John Holt, and I am in philosophical agreement with the ideals of unschooling.  I also see my kids work the hardest on things they are delighted in.  On the other side, I am a practical Mom that knows that kids thrive best on a routine.  My kids do best when they have a basic structure and know what to expect.  I think that if I challenge them to learn at a high level, they will strive harder and excel.  I want them to learn to do hard things.  My best compromise right now is to make sure that they have plenty of time to learn in freedom.


Urban Mom said...

I'm struggling with this a big myself. It's hard to know when to push something and when to let it go until another day. Picking battles is going will need to be a well-honed skill over the next several years, I guess.

Urban Mom said...

I mean, a BIT myself. A BIT.

(maybe *I* need the spelling lessons?????)

Happy weekend!

Summer Fae said...

My kids are loving grammar right now.

They were getting bored so I took a dry erase board and used my sliding glass door to do the work on. I use to for notes, vocabulary words, and anything else that I can think of. Last night I need to figure out just how many chinese dumplings I could have for dinner and still come in under my calorie limit. I used the sliding glass door to work out the math. My kids saw me using addition, multiplication, subtraction and division. Dh looked at me and laughed. But I showed my kids how I use math everyday. I will have to take a picture of it.

The grammar program that I am using is called Ignite Your Writing. The kids love it.

Karen said...

no - don't tell me you made grammar fun! ;) now I have to go look. Thanks. And I'd like to see pictures.