In four short weeks, our school year will be over. We have been wrapping up subjects for the last couple of weeks and I am starting to think about plans for next year. It will be my first year since 2003 where I am only teaching one student. Riley will be taking all of her course work at the local college as a Dual Enrollment student. So that leaves me with Reece who will be a freshman in high school!
For the last few weeks, Riley has been working on a research paper for her English 1102 class about the importance of arts education in a society obsessed with STEM. She keeps sending me the sources she is using in her paper and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading/watching them. The entire process has served to refocus my plans for Reece's high school curriculum!
Reece wants to pursue video game design and she is strong in math and weaker in reading comprehension. In fact, she pretty much despises reading, especially fiction. I've been pulling away from Ambleside and Charlotte Mason-inspire education for her due to this. I have been searching high and low for more accessible literature for her to read just to "get it done".
With the help of Riley's research, I have been able to remember why exactly we came to Charlotte Mason classical education in the first place. It was all about autism! Yes, autistic children tend to favor non-fiction. Yes, autistic children tend to struggle more with reading comprehension (as an offshoot of their struggle with LIFE comprehension).
But if I narrow her curriculum down to the things that she is comfortable with and the things that are easy for her, then I am doing a great disservice to her. My job as her teacher is to push her in traditional academic areas, of course, but it is also to expose her to those things that will touch her soul. She is a naturally curious individual who loves learning (she has been teaching herself Japanese for a year!) but like all of us, she prefers to focus on the things that she is comfortable with. I need to, for as long as I am able, slowly expose her to things that are just a little bit outside the comfort zone.
And maybe, just maybe, one day those things won't be so uncomfortable for her anymore. But even if they are and even if she never reads fiction on her own again, she will have been exposed to it for four more years!
(But how exactly did she get to be high school age already?!?!)