Friday, April 2, 2010

Time limits

Mi'ita gets distracted, especially when she is doing what she doesn't want to be doing. Since she is such a contrarian, anything I ask her to do is what she doesn't want to do (a good argument for unschooling if I have ever heard one.)

I could leave Mi'ita with three things to do (always math, Latin, and writing) which would take me less than an hour. Sometimes we sit together and do them and sometimes it indeed takes less than an hour. Sometimes I leave her to it and do my own thing, either by her request or because I have my own thing to do. And once again sometimes she gets it all done no problem. If she is feeling contrary though, which is often, she can diddle around and get nothing done forever. Read a book, work on some art, play with her legos, read Snopes (a very cool website that debunks urban legends), write in Greek, watch her new tadpole or old lizard, sneak onto her computer games...or just plain argue with me if I sit with her trying to get her to do it.

I try very hard not to get trapped into arguing with her. She can be downright rude, though, and I need to address that...which traps me into a discussion I didn't want to have. Argh!

I've taken to setting the timer. We agree on a time limit (less than what she wants, more than I think it should really take) and I set the timer. If she is not done with the assignment I double it. Sometimes. If she is working hard and is almost done, I give her five more minutes. If she is doodling on the edges of her math, I double it. She doesn't like it at all--I get more arguments out of her, but I don't need to talk at this point other than tell her that her time is ticking.

It works. She gets her three required subjects done in a day.

If I didn't have a husband with his own opinions, though, I'd be very tempted at this point to unschool. Yesterday I set her with her math, Latin, and writing to do while I did my yoga. When I came back she had spent two hours reading about Lewis and Clark from multiple sources on the web and typing up a report on them, including pictures and a bibliography. She didn't get her math or Latin done, but was I going to punish her for this? No, I simply let her finish working on her report and then started her on her math and Latin. Also, she has been working on a model kit of the Parthenon and learning Greek on the side. She hasn't had time to work on this because she diddles around when she is supposed to be doing math, Latin, and writing.

Is Latin more important than Greek? Of course not, but if she skips around and dabbles in language after language, she will never learn one well, right? So I said that she had to stick with one for two years, and she picked Latin herself! I question myself constantly on the logic of all this. I like to dabble around in languages myself, which is the study of linguistics rather than the study of a language.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Ineka,

    Oh, dear. And to think that parents complain about a teacher when they have some 30 little squirrels all on their own page with their own
    personalities. Sympathy, but Mia is learning lots!

    Love you,