Aug 19, 2009

Child Led Learning

Even though it's summer here, we never really stopped homeschooling. I think with my son it would be difficult to just stop, since he is the one who initiates most lessons anyway. What has changed is that he seems to want to stick with one subject or project at a time.When I suggest we go on to something else, he gets upset.
I know other homeschoolers will work all subjects around one theme that continues for a period of days or weeks.

Right now my son gets so focused on one subject, I can't break him away. For example, he has been making up his own addition problems on the white board and then solving them. He has been working with double digits and zero's for three days now!
Last week all he wanted to do was play the story telling game. The story telling game is when we each take turns adding a paragraph to a story until one of us thinks we have come to the end and proclaims "and they all lived happily ever after". Then I have him tell the whole story back to me as I write it down to re-read later. It's great for memory and for creative thinking. Eventually I will have him write it down instead of me.
If we decide to learn about geography, we can't just focus on one country. He wants to learn about one and then another, an another. I just let him keep going because he is so excited about it.

While I'm thrilled that he has such focus and attention span, I'm beginning to wonder if this is a real learning technique for him or if he is just being obsessive. Perhaps it is both. He has always been driven and intense with anything he is interested in and I know children learn by repetition. It's the inability to switch gears or environment that bothers me. Not to mention, any attempts at lesson planning by me goes completely out the door.

I know he is ahead for his age (he's four) and that may be all it is. He seems to need to completely absorb and exhaust all sources of a subject before he wants to move on. Thank goodness for the Internet, without it I fear I would run out of material for him to review in no time flat!

Have any other homeschooling families out there done this?
Only one subject a day?
Math on Mondays, reading on Tuesdays, etc. Maybe each subject would be covered more thoroughly like this. Perhaps we are on the road to being unschoolers? I do know that he loves learning and he takes the initiative. I don't want to do anything that interferes with that!


A Lil Enchanted said...

Wait a minute... he's 4... and he's doing addition of double digit numbers??? OMG... that's amazing!!! And he can write down a whole story?? I thought Steffie was ahead for her age... but wow!... that is one smart kid you've got there.

My boys (now 19) were really good in math but I don't think they were quite that far ahead. They were doing simple addition in their heads when they were 4... I don't remember when they started doing double digits.

As far as your son getting focused on one thing... I would say just let him stick with it until he's ready to move on. It sounds like he's really intelligent and it sounds like what you're doing is working great for him.

A Lil Enchanted,

DJ said...

@ALilEnchanted: Yeah, his math skills are way ahead, he scares me sometimes. But no, right now I'm writing the story down as he tells it back to me. He does write short sentences, but doesn't like to write much at the moment. He is reading though as well. This is why we homeschool, there will be no place for him in the school system by the time he is ready to start. Thanks for your input, other moms are a great source of information for me!

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

Woah. I am just impressed at all that your son is doing. That at four he actually *wants* to learn about other countries. I don't think I even knew what a country was at four. And forget about doing any kind of math at that age! You've got a good learner on your hands. Not that I know anything about homeschooling.

DJ said...

@Holly: Thanks, My mother gave him a globe for Christmas last year and he was thrilled he could see how far Florida was from the North Pole. Now he wants to know who lives where and what they do. It's like an adventure game for him. He can be exhausting sometimes!

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