Thursday, February 10, 2011

Overlearning

I'm skimming through a book called The Core: Teaching Your Children the Foundations of Classical Education. (Yes, you read that correctly; I am skimming it, lol). Perhaps I'd get even MORE out of it if I did more than skim it, eh? Anyhow, the word that keeps popping up is OVERLEARNING. It's an interesting word that means staying on something even past the point of knowing it. In the book, Leigh A. Bortins describes how she taught her sons math. They used the Saxon math series, spend as long as they needed on a lesson until it was mastered, kept going through the book, hit the end and sometimes started the same level math book right from the beginning again. I believe she even mentioned going through more than 1 grade level in a year, even while backing up and re-doing chapters. The idea is that her students don't just know how to do the math, but can do it really well. It becomes easy for them. I believe she mentions overlearning in other sections of the book, too. (Yeah, maybe if I actually read the book, word for word, I could tell you for sure...).

I think that is at the heart of why Kumon has such a strong pull for me. I can't talk dh into spending $100+ per month per child on Kumon math lessons (LOL, wonder why?...) But I can delve into why this is so appealing to me. I've realized lately that filling in the blanks and crossing off the items from our To-Do list doesn't actually prepare us academically for the real world, or give us the skills we need. Sigh. Workbooks are sooo much easier, and I really LIKE seeing all my items crossed off the list. Ah, well. I hope to find someday that my kids have life skills and I can look back and say "it was worth it". Until then, it all seems a great big experiment, and I have that dreadful feeling that I'm failing my first two children miserably. Even so, I won't send them to school. Everything I try, I try because it seemed like a good idea at the time, because I thought it was what we needed, or thought it was best for the kiddos. I look back and see such a disjointed, inconsistent schooling past. It's easy to feel disheartened from it all. But until I see the end results, I cannot tell you if it was all a big mistake. When I hear from moms that graduate their kids from homeschool, they always look back and say "I made mistakes, but in the longrun, they turned out just fine, and are doing great in college". That's always encouraging. And so, we'll continue to meander, make mistakes, regret past decisions, and keep truckin' on. I'll letcha know how it all turns out at the end;)

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