Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

The first thing I have learned as a homeschooling mom is that I may need to redefine progress. If progress means movin' through stuff at a moderate clip, we have not budged. If, instead, it means understanding whatever stuff one gets through, we may be in business.

While I am pleased at the overall quantity of work we have managed, which to some might seem like not much, I have found that each lesson seems to open a door to five other lessons that need to be mastered before the current one can make sense. I shouldn't be surprised because I suspected SJ missed many foundational lessons in learning, but it can be a tad overwhelming.

For instance, a simple vocabulary list turned into lessons on how to interpret a dictionary's meanings, choosing the best one for the application, deciphering abbreviations, and deconstructing definitions.  Sending him to do some internet research first required an understanding of search engines, how they work, how to get meaningful results, and how to evaluate whether a website is credible. The thing is, these are activities he has been doing for years in class...with nary an understanding as to why.

It's rewarding to unlock the puzzles of learning with my son but it is slow-going. The requirements of the California Standards are ever looming, but as long as I keep my eye on the fact that knowing how to learn eventually reaps real learning, I think we will be o.k. and SJ will make real and measurable progress.

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