articles / Homeschooling

Adjusting for strengths and weaknesses

When I was in school, my best subjects were language and writing. I’m pretty good at Algebra, but Science and History were my major weaknesses. I could whip out a 10-page paper within a day or two, but I couldn’t pass a Science test or tell you who was president in 1922.

I focused on my writing (and my art) while I was in high school and barely managed my way through science and history. The crazy thing is, since getting out of high school I’ve learned a ton about science and history. I enjoy learning about science and history.

Josiah has caught on pretty quickly to each subject we’ve gone through. If February I’d started working on numbers with Josiah and he started trying to add. When I started working on phonics with him he picked it up and he’s reading at an introductory 1st grade level and he’s only 5.20141008_103104_resized

He’s not a prodigy by any means though. He may be reading on a 1st grade level, but he fights reading about 75% of the time. He can read he just either doesn’t like to read or he’s not confident that he can read well. I’m not really sure. All I know is that when he’s motivated he reads very well, but when he doesn’t want to read he will cry and shut down. Once he gets started with this finishing school is next to impossible unless I can get him calmed down. I can tell he’s not being defiant — like I said it’s almost like he’s not confident. He keeps second guessing himself and always looks to me to see if he’s doing OK.

The crazy thing is he can count up to a dollar (with minor assistance) and he understands the correlation between addition and subtraction. He builds all this stuff with his tinker toys and blocks and sees things in detailed patterns. He’s been learning life science and he’s the only 5-year-old I know that can explain the five characteristics of a mammal and the difference between a baleen whale and a toothed whale.

He’s very smart and enthusiastic when it comes to math and science, but he’s just not always interested or enthusiastic about reading and writing. His brain may process math and science more easily, but that doesn’t make the other subjects less important. That also doesn’t mean that I need to focus more on reading and writing and less on math and science.

The great thing about homeschooling is that I can modify his schooling according to his current needs. We need to slow down and focus on Language/reading/writing. I need to cultivate a love for these subjects because he’s going to be working on these subjects for the next 11 years. At the same time though, I need to understand that he’s interested in science and math and create an atmosphere that encourages him to explore his love for math, science, and building things.

I try to find books for him to look at and read that have things to do with science. I’m trying to show him that by learning to read and reading well it will open the door to lots of scientific knowledge and knowledge about other interests he has. When it comes to writing I focus on him writing about things he’s interested in — letters to family members, bible verses he’s memorizing, and various types of informative reports on things he’s learning in science.

Writing and reading doesn’t have to be miserable for Josiah or for any kid. I mentioned this before when I posted about cultivating a love of reading, but in order to get kids interested in the subjects they’re not interested in we have to mix those subjects with something they are interested in. For Josiah, it’s science. So until Josiah learns to enjoy reading more I guess I’ll be reading and listening to a lot of non-fiction scientific books.



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