Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The one about flying free...

A.k.a. the almost there post.

I will no longer be the one completely in charge...and it scares me...and yet, is also exciting in a way.

Usually, every year, just around his birthday, the kiddo will start doing something a little different. This past month, I've been sensing an obvious increase in unusual behavior.

He is growing up. That prepubescent edginess is beginning to rear its head frequently these days. It's not only Mom who is beginning to get on his nerves. It's everything from computation errors that keep bogging him down in math to having to clean his plate as much as possible before leaving the table. It finally culminated in a tiff yesterday, complete with not speaking to each other and then breaking down in tears. When you treat your child as your best friend as well as son, silence in the house is defeaning. But it also led to a major epiphany for me.

I realize that it is time for him to test his wings. For me to give him more responsibility for his learning journey. He is 8...and I am convinced it's not too young an age to try this. I must trust him to make mistakes and learn from them...even if it means nothing that fits the definition of "academic learning" (in my book at least) takes place for a whole day, week or month. Actually, I don't even know why I worry so much when his interests are already quite academic in nature. I should be worrying that we don't get out of the house more often!

I'm not ready (and may never be) to make a huge change...neither is he ready to be fully in control. He still needs guidance and will get terribly antsy when left completely to his own devices. And I get equally antsy and disagreeable when I have insufficient certainty to anchor my day. As a compromise, we have agreed on a 1-hour Lesson Hour with the rest of the day being flexible.

In return for more independence, he will briefly narrate/ dictate the highlights of his day in the evening and I will help him type it. As with any experiment, recording observations and results is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. To make it fun, I suggested resurrecting his old blog (I helped him start one in 2008) and tweaking the design and typing the report in there and he was happy to have this done for him (happy he didn't have to do the typing LOL). Some days, for my own sanity, I'll let it go (wink).

One of the activities he chose was the Life of Fred Trigo text. He doesn't normally pick it up when we have our usual 2+ to sometimes 3-hour lesson-filled days. He's now discussing a concept from the first chapter with his Dad. He finished reading one of his Gerry Durrell books had been left unread for a while due to so many other things taking up his time.

So, from 2-3 hours, we're scaling back to one hour. And surprisingly, it was okay. I didn't burst or crumble like I am wont to do. I am a worrier doubt about that so I wonder for how long I will let it be. How committed will I be towards eventually scaling back some more and allowing him to fly without constantly watching his back? 

Baby steps...deep breaths...and I guess I'll dangle some ice cream in front of me as the carrot (pix shows my favorite flavor LOL). Wish me luck.


  1. Good luck! And I'm sure it will be great. My son is a little younger than yours (he'll be 8 in February) but I totally understand what you're talking about. Be sure to let us know where his blog is! (if it's public, of course)

  2. Wow, Suji, this is great. I wish I could let go a little, although I don't think Isa's ready just yet. I'd love to know what areas you are scheduling and what things he's doing on his own.

  3. I know how hard this is for you, so good luck! I think you will be surprised by how well it goes..

    I think the 1hr / day is a good compromise. Atm I've started 'enforcing' a bit more of a structure with some 'no screen' time in the morning where he has to amuse himself other than staring at the computer or TV and then setting time aside in the afternoon for us to do stuff together - we take it in turns to choose what to do. It's only been a week, but so far its working well. We've played monopoly together, finished off some rock experiments and have been filming a movie.

  4. Wow, sounds like what happened around here last week! I'm still digesting it, and have made very similar arrangements to yours. Good luck and all the best!

  5. Thank you for all the comments! It's probably not going to be as bad as I just won't be planned or sequential I guess.

    We haven't been all that chronological with history to begin with but now it will be even more haphazard...I guess it should be long I don't stress too much :)

  6. Hi Stephanie! Kiddo seems ok with a public blog. I have some reservations...should decide soon. It'll probably be added to my blogroll :)

  7. Michelle, I'm currently scheduling English and Math because I know these are areas I would be very uncomfortable with if he didn't do them every day! He's doing everything else on his own, especially science-y stuff that interest him and math or word puzzles.


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