Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Back to square one

I decided today that I need to step back and re-read some of my favorite inspirational reading. Not inspirational as in religious, though that would probably help as well. But rather, inspirational from a child/education perspective. When I was in college in the early 90s getting my degree in Early Childhood Education, I was very idealistic and totally against textbooks, workbooks, etc. During my brief teaching career, I worked for a principal who gave us a ream of paper for the entire year. She wasn't trying to be cheap, she wanted us to think outside the box and resist the urge to use so many worksheets with our students. During orientation, I remember her saying, "In this school, we ALWAYS cover the textbooks" and she walked over to the shelf with the textbooks and covered them with a sheet. Then she proceeded to talk about literature and how that was the foundation for learning. It was a great place to be!

Anyway, I've said this often since I've begun to homeschool: I never took teaching as seriously as I do homeschooling. Teaching was fun, and the kids were mostly fun and some challenging and others absolutely adorable. But at the end of the year, they moved on and so did I. I know I did not obsess over it like I do homeschooling my own children? Why is that? And it was like this before the 2 were diagnosed on the spectrum, now it just seems to have stepped up a notch. Every decision seems to have these life and death ramifications, or so it seems.

And in the midst of all of this worry, I've stopped enjoying the very people that I'm so worried about. I'm so worried about messing up school or therapy or whatever, that I'm making myself and probably them (and all of you who call me friend and are concerned about me) miserable. That makes no sense! If the young and fresh in college me, who fell in LOVE with a picture book and made an entire curriculum based on that one little book with no words, could see the me now she would be shocked and dismayed.

Wow, lately I'm the poster child for stream of consciousness posting ---back to the inspirational reading. I'm going to revisit some of my old favorites, one from the college days (if I can find's out of print! I borrowed it from a friend several years ago) and a few from when I was investigating homeschooling. The one I'm starting with is For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macauley.

I'm not going to pretend this is going to just POOF make everything all better right away, but maybe it is a step in the right direction.


lisaquing said...

What's the OP book? I might have it. Or maybe you could get it on paperbackswap? I think the process you are describing is pretty common. Awesome that you have identified it and want to change it, instead of just being cynical. :-)

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, that is a GOOD idea, back to basics. You are doing GREAT. You are such a blessing to
your kids! Rhonda

Niffercoo said...

Lisa, it's The Hurried Child by David Elkind. You were the one I borrowed it from before! ;) When I read that book in college, it was truly life-changing... at least for those 4 years! LOL

Niffercoo said...

Rhonda, I'm trying to sort of "Stop the Action" in an RDI sort of way. Thank you for all of your encouragement!

The Glasers said...

I love that "cover the textbooks" idea!!!! That one will go over well with Charlotte Mason homeschoolers.

I had the privilege of meeting Ranald MacAulay at the CM conference in 2006. He was genuinely intrigued that parents were using Charlotte Mason techniques with children in the autism spectrum. I definitely see a great many parallels between her work and RDI!