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If you leave your child to learn things as and when they want too...

(12 Posts)
kumquatsareaposhfruit Sat 15-Oct-11 16:02:34

surely they must end up with big gaps?

I am home edding DS1 (aged almost 6). He is bright and very good and reading and science. He is always talking about how he wants to be a physicist one day (or sometimes an electrician). About 3/4 days a week I make him do some maths. He is ok at it but doesn't want to do it (compared to reading and scince which he loves). I make him do it but I feel guilty about it. By forcing him to do it, I'm doing the very thing I criticised his teachers for BUT if I don't get him to keep up with the curriculum then it may disadvantage him in the future as obviously he needs to be good at maths if he wants to pursue science.

He can do: adding two 3-digit numbers, knows his 2/5/10 times tables, do very basic division, slowly work out the time and knows all his shapes and recognises basic fractions. He would be in Yr 1 if he was in school.

I don't want to ruin his chances of doing well in life by not encouraging him to keep up with his peers but I don't like the way I'm probably ruining maths for him by forcing it on him. (We would have a similar struggle regarding writing too but he writes a sentence in his diary every night and I don't ask him to do any more than that).

kumquatsareaposhfruit Sat 15-Oct-11 16:04:01

Arghhh! want TO. Grr! Sorry for all the other typos too.

Rivenwithoutabingle Sat 15-Oct-11 16:07:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ommmward Sat 15-Oct-11 16:11:07

I'm a really firm believer in just-in-time education.

When people learn something because they want and need to, they learn very very efficiently. It is difficult to sustain interest in something that you do not really want to learn, and you are unlikely to retain the knowledge.

There is no magic window for learning particular bits of maths.

[two examples:

I tried in a half-hearted way to introduce the concept of addition to one of my children at an age-appropriate way, but there was disinterest bordering on leaving the room whenever the topic was arranged. 2 years later, said child started doing mental arithmetic, entirely self-motivated (and often when lying in bed going to sleep), often saying "99 plus one equals?" to elicit the answer from someone, so that she could work out the patterns.

We've never done anything about angles at all. But there are all sorts of computer games which are demanding that a knowledge of angles is applied. At some point, I expect that this knowledge will be translated from an implicit knowledge that gets you to level 6 of whatever game it is, into something that can be explicitly discussed and theorised about. But I am not the person who will know when that moment has arrived]

The thing about trying to keep bits of an adult-imposed curriculum going on a daily basis is that it doesn't support a child in following whatever educational craze they have right now. But next month it might be explicitly maths, or writing, or something else that is the craze. I know it's reassuring for us parents when the craze of the moment results in lots of lovely educational product, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea to be trying to squeeze educational product out of our children at all times.

ommmward Sat 15-Oct-11 16:11:44

arranged raised

LastSummer Sat 15-Oct-11 16:13:09

Help him discover www.bbc.co.uk/schools/ks1bitesize/ There are numerous other websites that will allow your son to cover all the basics and more of maths, science and literacy, as and when he chooses to make the journey to GCSEs and beyond.

kumquatsareaposhfruit Sat 15-Oct-11 16:29:43

But has no one ever had a lazy article of a home educated child who ended up knowing very little by the time they were older?

As I said, DS is very bright in his own niche but he is extremely lazy. H e would happily still be spoonfed/dressed every day so that he could read instead. He looked enviously at his two year old brother the other day and said that he wished he too could wear a nappy to save him going to the toilet. That's what makes me worry about leaving it all to him...

Rivenwithoutabingle Sat 15-Oct-11 16:36:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FionaJNicholson Sat 15-Oct-11 20:44:35

Maybe when he's about 10 you could get him to talk to some people who are actually doing the job he's interested in. They can tell him what skills and qualifications they think he will need in the future. I completely sympathise with his view about how boring stuff takes away valuable time which could be spent reading. If I'm not going out I don't bother getting dressed. I wouldn't call it being lazy, it's just about having different priorities!

bebanjo Sat 15-Oct-11 21:26:02

DD is almost 5, we do no formal study at all and dd can only count 15, yet she understands mathematical concepts better than some of her pears that can count to 100 and add up. this has been done unintentionally by doing stuff she wants to do," more or less, heaver or lighter" by backing cakes. 1/2, 1/4, circle square ect by doing craft stuff.
Kids only seem lazy if you look at what they do with your school glasses on, show him the stars and tell him how old the light is, let him wallow in the fantastical and be there when he wants it to make sense.
the very best of luck.

NotJustKangaskhan Sat 15-Oct-11 22:15:53

I would recommend getting some books with a maths theme (like Sir Cumference, What's Your Angle Pythagoras or Maths Quest depending on his reading level - there are tons if you look through amazon, maybe have him find some that appeal to him). There are many thing he can learn, or at least be inspired to learn, through a good book so his eagerness for reading is a bonus for you.

Your son's already "ahead" for his age group in maths (compared to the goal for his age that would be at school), and regardless many experts find that while it takes children ages to learn maths if you start pushing through at a young age for most kids, at an older age group they tend to fly through most of it with far less hassle. There is plenty of time to learn maths - discouraging him by making it a battle would be more disadvantageous than learning at an older age.

In terms of worrying about him being lazy, my eldest was/is very similar at that age and still is at just turned 7 - he has what he likes and everything else is met with a look of 'why are you torturing me'. What I've found helpful is having him create some goals and helping him learn how to make goals manageable and how to meet them. My son likes maths so my example might not be very good, but in that one he original goal was knowing everything about numbers (all of his goals tend to start like this - he wants to know/be able to do everything), I asked him how he would start this, and through back and forth we got it down to a manageable 'being able to do a list of maths skills by this time next year' which in practical terms for me means working on those skills specifically and getting so far in his maths curriculum, Maths Mammoth, by this time next year to have gone through those skills well. Both having goals together and being on the same page made it far more relaxing for the both of us and in his worse moments I can take a step back and see where he is in terms of one year goals rather than worrying about him doing maths qualifications far too far in the future.

tigercametotea Sat 15-Oct-11 23:00:51

Hi kumquat, as an eclectic home edder myself, I find myself alternating between relaxed and structured all the time. I find it works for us, also my husbands and I, especially my husband, do not quite feel as confident about autonomous and intend for the kids to work towards achieving a basic set of paper qualifications as if they would have done if they attended school. I'm not too hung up on the schedules but I do try to get my kids to do a certain amount of academics every week and follow loosely a few curriculums, mainly British and American, also some Singaporean. Some days we just ditch the school and go out for a trip. I'm not sure if you're considering going the autonomous route so please don't take what I say here as an intent to convince you to do it my way, I'm just sharing what works for me...maybe you can consider changing some aspects of your home education, perhaps the timing of the academic sessions, the way you teach, the materials you use,etc. to find the way that works best for your family. I try to keep things varied and finding ways to homeschool that appeal to my children's individual temperaments. I've also used some concepts and ideas that I've read up from Waldorf, unschooling, well trained mind, as well as other home Ed forums, in my home edding style.

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