Thursday, April 14, 2011

Homeschooling lecture by Susan Wise Bauer

Last night and this afternoon I listened to a lecture by Susan Wise Bauer (of The History of the World fame). She was speaking on "Homeschooling the Real (Distractable, Impatient, Argumentative, Unenthusiastic, Non-Book-Loving, Inattentive, Poky, Vague) Child".

Don't you just want to hear that? :)

I have a tendency to imagine that homeschooling is just going perfectly in every home but my own. Especially in the homes of people like Susan Wise Bauer! It is kind of nice to have that little fantasy smooshed. In fact I do not have the only argumentative unenthusiastic non-book-loving child in the homeschooling world!

Her main suggestion was this (paraphrased, of course):
Look beyond the symptoms (argumentative, restless, etc.) to the character trait (which could actually be good!) that is manifesting in these symptoms. Then tailor your education to the character trait, instead of just pushing against the problem.
Then she gives lots and lots of specific strategies, including one which she calls “nibbled to death by ducks”. You'll have to listen or you'll forever wonder what that means. :)

And toward the end, the reminder (paraphrased):
Don’t forget that you are free. You don’t have to do school for 12 years, or for a certain number of months, or in a certain order. As long as you’re moving toward a definable goal, you can do anything you want.
(Coming from the woman who wrote The Well Trained Mind, that was especially freeing to hear!)

All that to say that I highly, highly recommend this lecture for anyone currently homeschooling. It is a well-spent $3.25.


Matthew Green said...

That just makes me think of educational theory in general, which assumes that all children are wonderful and just need the right kind of environment to spontaneously become model students. I always wanted to smack these people. Nice to hear that some people actually recognize reality.

Ma Torg said...

I obviously haven't listened to the lecture, but did she talk about experimenting with curriuculum too? I found with our girls that if one thing isn't working then there is usually another approach out there that does. I discovered this with reading and math after totally striking out with Susan and Jessie's Ordinary Parents Guide to Reading and then, later, with Singapore Math. I switched curriculum styles and the problems were solved!

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Yes, Ma Torg, that is one of the strategies she mentions. Also for older kids, letting THEM pick the curriculum.