I am swinging between a more classical approach and a more unschool approach. I’m thinking I need to give Violet more time to think about what really interests her and more time to pursue that, but I am also painfully aware of what she needs to work on!
Clicking around on the subject led to me a Q & A that included this anecdote:
One little boy was doing pre-college math when he was eight (for fun!), but didn’t learn to read until he was almost ten. Within a year he was out of the children’s reading area and into the Young Adult section. Can you imagine using a traditional curriculum with a child like that? Fortunately, his parents encouraged independent learning, read to him every day, and patiently allowed him to work at his own pace.
On one hand this makes total sense to me, on the other hand I might have a nervous breakdown if Violet is 10 and still struggling with mulitplication, especially as we know she’s supposed to be at a 10-yr-old math level right now.
And on one hand Violet is doing great with Chinese and piano, fine with math, and really she’s 7 years above grade level in her English skills so I guess we can take some time off from worrying about that. But on the other hand, she can’t write unless she’s mimicing a character in a story (curse the day we gave her a Junie B. Jones book!) or otherwise deeply involved in a fantasy game of her own devising.
I guess the reason this makes me so anxious is that these are the reasons traditional school wasn’t working — especially the writing thing, and to a much lesser extent the math.
sigh . . .It’s all so daunting, as this article on Gifted Unschooling [link now dead] suggests:
Unschooling parents can find ways to encourage the gifted child to recognize and use his sense of self-determination, to see himself as “inner-directed” rather than “stubborn” or “controlling.” They can also realize that the gifted child will challenge authority, may have little concern for the opinions of adults, and may be unaffected by the use of rewards and punishments. Knowing how to use these characteristics as strengths rather than weaknesses then becomes a large part of the unschooling challenge.
And then she says. . .
Unschooling truly celebrates the creative nature of the gifted child. Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, author of Flow and Creativity, writes that creative individuals seek to move beyond dichotomies such as introvert and extravert, or fantasy and reality. Rather, creative people embody seemingly mutually exclusive traits, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes in alternation, causing much confusion and misunderstanding on the part of parents and teacher. In the unschooling environment, a child has no need to fit a mold or to “live up” to who we think she should be. She can simply be, in all her dimensions of complexity.
I guess that assumes the parent is a lot mellower than I am . . .
So, after venting in this little post, I can see that I am the one who still needs some de-schooling!