We've taken a LOT of time off this past year since my youngest was born. Intentional academic work has been minimal at best. Now that the baby is crawling and able to entertain himself, I'm trying to get some stuff accomplished before having to do our end of year report.
My oldest is 7, but would be in 1st grade because of an October birthday. He loves reading pages from the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History, especially when there are games we can do online. So today he wanted to do a game on a website that simulates an archaelogical dig in Mesopotamia. He loved the game and was having fun. I got tired and wanted to stop when we got to the part where he needed to label his finds (I must have sensed trouble, ha). He wanted to continue, so I was helping him with it, summarizing what we found so he could come up with his own label. I described an artifact to him, how it was used in harvesting grain, and how it was an important invention for farmers. Then I asked him to tell me what he wanted to write, and he had no clue.. not how to phrase it, but he couldn't even remember what the tool was for.
So.. am I asking too much that he be able to remember stuff like that? He has similar issues, I don't know if I'd call them comprehension issues, or what.. when doing other schoolwork (stuff that he initiates). But he has no problem comprehending fiction and stuff, and he independently reads at about 2nd-3rd grade level, with good comprehension. Sometimes I feel like we're doing great with homeschooling, and then at other times, like today, I totally question my competency as a teacher.
Any thoughts or advice? Thanks!
It sounds like you're doing fine to me. You said he's ahead of his peers in reading. My thoughts are that either he feels some level of performance anxiety and is freezing when you ask him things, or he is just better at visual processing than auditory processing. I have that issue. I can learn and retain information more easily from written material than from verbal instructions. I often have to ask people to repeat themselves because I will have no idea what they just said to me. I can hear them; I'm paying attention; the meaning of the words just doesn't click for some reason. It may also just be a contextual problem, like he can't hang on to the information because he doesn't have enough of a frame of reference for it. Cultural artifacts of Mesopotamia is kind of an otherworldly subject for a 7 yr old unless he's been immersed in the history of that time period and region for a while. Or maybe he had just reached his threshold for absorbing new information for that day and was feeling a little weary or drained.
I lean towards unschooling, so my opinion may not be relevant, but if he's having fun, has diverse interests, and is learning, you're pretty much doing your job.
Thanks.. I hadn't thought about the visual vs auditory thing. That's a definite possibility.
We lean towards unschooling as well, which is why I made sure to stress in my OP that it's all stuff he wants to do. If I was forcing him to learn something he wasn't interested in, and he didn't retain it, I wouldn't be surprised at all. I just find it frustrating when, like this morning, I totally wanted to stop and he begged me to help him finish, then didn't seem like he was paying attention to what I was telling him. But you may be on to something with the visual vs auditory thing, though. The contextual thing is possible, too, although he's awfully interested in ancient history, so I'm not sure.
I guess I was just thinking.. I know with math, we do lots of problems for the ideas to really sink in, but I didn't think much repetition was necessary with history, especially when it's something I've literally just told him. I mean, I know we'll revisit subjects as he grows.. but it just feels awfully pointless to do certain activities with him, when he doesn't remember a thing about it.. and when he wanted to do the activities in the first place.
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