Saturday, November 24, 2007

The contrary homeschooler

Ah, I bet you thought I meant my kids. Nope, it's me. I can remember one time my great-aunt telling me that my parents would disagree just for the sake of it, and being very offended that she would speak of my parents that way. I remember it often, though, because I frequently find myself saying no just because somebody else said yes. Even if I would have said yes originally.

I was talking to a friend at the park on Tuesday. We were comparing notes on French, since we're using the same program.

"Well, we started at the beginning of the school year, and we're just about up to lesson seven," she said.

"Hmm," I said, "We started last Thursday and we're up to lesson 4. How much do you do at one time?" I thought maybe we were doing something wrong.

"We listen to every lesson two times, maybe three."

"So do we."

"We do French two or three times a week, when we get to it."

Aha! We do French two or three times a day, seven days a week. We also do guitar and piano every day. Every single day, all year, every year. Which is more than most people even do their math. And WAY more than we do our math, because we do the math when we get to it. Every day for a few weeks, and then not at all for a while, then lots and lots and lots and then none.

And I remember reading in The Well Trained Mind something about how music and arts can wait but you must always make sure the math and reading get done. Once again, where other people zig, I zag. And I'm not sorry either. Because to me it seems just the opposite. My kids can figure a lot of stuff out, but music is a skill that you develop over time. There's no substitute for daily practice, and no faking it when you haven't done it. I know for a fact that they would not be as advanced musically if they had not worked as hard as they have. And I know that it's hard to learn a language without soaking up as much of it as you can. Reading though? Spelling? Eventually these skills get learned. Math? We can get up to speed when we need to.

And in the meantime, our lives are filled with music.



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