Is It Enough, part 2

I’ve been cringing reading one mom’s posts on my facebook news feed. Last week the mom and her son spent two hours together completing a grammar worksheet that he then got a 79 on. Her son is in second grade. This week she didn’t even know the meaning of several of the words she was supposed to read to him to practice for his spelling test. Why would one need to know how to spell argosy if one is never, ever going to write that word?

I’m sure her son is getting a rigorous education.  I hear about rigorous education all the time. I think it must be a buzzword of the moment because everyone is claiming their school, their curriculum, their standards are rigorous. I’d rather have peace and joy in my home than rigor.

I get a lot of questions from people coming out of the school system about where the spelling test are. EP has none. The kids learn the phonics behind spelling, practice some spelling, but mostly they write. That is, of course, the context where spelling is used. But spelling brings me to another point. If your child is really interested in spelling, then by all means give your child a dictionary and quiz her on the spelling of argosy. But if not, why drill and practice things that will be forgotten tomorrow and were never needed in the first place?

That’s all part of the philosophy behind EP. Give them a strong foundation where it matters. Expose them to a variety of subjects. Let them do more where their interests lie.

My one son reads history books for fun. I don’t have to push it on him. I don’t make him memorize. He learns the names and places and dates because it’s interesting to him. That kind of learning sticks. In the subjects he doesn’t care about, I let it be “enough.”

Now a word of caution here. When your kid is excited about chemistry (and who doesn’t like explosions and slime), don’t go crazy and run out and buy a science kit. If your child really cares, they will make it happen on their own, including bugging you until you do get that kit. You don’t have to chase after a child’s whims trying to flame a passion. When they find what they really like to do, they will just do it. Give your child the gift of time, space, and boredom.

I wrote a companion piece to this on the high school site, called “The Key.” I talk about trading “rigor” for passion and how that has played out for my children so far. And the key? It’s not Easy Peasy. It’s the grace of God. Let Him form your kids into who they were created to be.

Black History Month

Game: Match the faces to the historic events. There are several levels to play.

Scientists: Learn about African Americans in science.

Books: List of books to look for in the library. Interviews with authors that you can watch online. There are links to poetry as well.

News: Articles and videos from Scholastic for Kids looking back at the Civil Rights movement and other influencers in the African American community.

News: Time for Kids – There are “looks back” but there are also current news articles.

Explore: Scroll down and click to see the collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Brain Pop: There are six free topics which include videos and quizzes.

28 Unknown Facts: a video by kids

Two escape from slavery games: You might have played these in the curriculum. PBS  Mission US

Christmas Activities

Take a look down the list and think about some things your kids might like to do. There are stories, songs, recipes, crafts and activity books. If you are studying geography and cultures, there are two “around the world” links below you should check out.

The Christmas Story

A Russian Christmas story  video

More Christmas stories

Christmas karaoke

Decorate an online Christmas tree

Christmas around the world

Christmas recipes from around the world

Christmas crafts

LOTS of Christmas lapbooks

Christmas activity book  grid pictures, counting, tracing, other worksheet activities

Christmas alphabet  letters, words, tracing

Christmas counting  numbers, tracing numbers, counting

Thanksgiving Ideas

One thing I couldn’t do with the curriculum is build in holiday activities. I had to make it so that it could be used at any time, so here are some Thanksgiving activities for those who want them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Interactive lesson

What really happened at the first Thanksgiving? Interactive lesson

Stories from the Mayflower

Mayflower Math

Cranberry science

Thanksgiving crafts

Draw a turkey

Draw the Mayflower

Build a Mayflower crafts