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i don’t want to do math today

Every once in awhile I get this panic feeling when it comes to homeschooling. Even though we have thoughtfully and consciously made the decision regarding our approach I have these waves of uncertainty wondering are we doing this the “right” way. Typically these waves come after talks, or rather questions from others as to what exactly did Aidan learn today or how is math going?? This happened just the other day and I panicked. I started questioning everything. Am I giving him enough? Am I pushing him in the right direction? Am I making sure he has met all the kindergarten standards? Oh, the list of questions goes on.

I woke up the following morning after this “talk” determined that Aidan was going to “do” math that day. After a cup (or two) of coffee and watching a little PBS (he loves Curious George), I told him he was going to do some of his math workbooks! Man, that did not go over well at all. Now, we have workbooks in the house because Aidan does like them on occasion. But, we don’t force or require him to do them. We do remind him of them or suggest them when he uses that awful “b” word (in case anyone is wondering the word is bored) and sometimes he just gets them out because he likes certain ones. But this day I wanted him to do them (as I said I was determined). Long story short he didn’t do any math workbooks that day despite my requiring it and pleading with him. He wasn’t in the mood and since we’ve never required it before why would this start now. Needless to say I felt discouraged, disenchanted, and deflated with even more questions popping into my head about this homeschooling thing!

But, this story has an eye-opening ending (at least for me it did). A little later that same day Aidan asked about an online reading program that he had started awhile back. This was a program that he liked at first and had been doing pretty consistently for awhile and then just lost interest. Aidan and I read all the time together–I read chapter books to him and he reads short “I Can Read” books to me, but this is an online program to help reinforce certain sounds, sight words, and concepts. And it had been months since he wanted to work on this online program, but on this day he, himself, decided he wanted to start back up with it. And so he did. He ended up doing three lessons on this program that day and has done several more since then.

His actions that day helped reinforce and solidify certain ideas for me. I know that he is, and will continue, learning the skills he needs and that he will continue to learn about all the things that interest him. But I also know that he learns best when he chooses what interests him and when he is ready for it. We provide him access to a variety of tools and materials and are there to answer or help him find his own answers to the million and one questions that he easily asks a day. He is a natural learner, and I want to embrace and encourage this natural learner that he is.

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