Thursday, October 2, 2008

Complimentary Education

I've been trying to teach Sierra without teaching her. This is not as easy as it sounds. I consider it an advanced form of stealth teaching. It involves making her want to learn by acting completely nonchalant about the entire learning process. For example, today I wanted her to write, but I knew she would buck if I said, "Sierra, let's do some writing." Instead, I pulled out the cursive writing placemat and offered to show her how to do fancy writing. She traced all the lower case letters with me offering some pointers about where to start and how to loop.

She's been doing pretty well at teaching herself to read. Between using Starfall and practicing with easy readers, I really think she's getting it. It's gotten me thinking about my own experiences with reading. I have a memory of reading to my mother and getting stuck on a word. After sounding it out a few times, I deciphered the word and continued. My mother interrupted saying, "That was very good." I remember feeling so proud of myself for figuring it out, especially because my mom noticed. I'm trying to use these memories to nurture my homeschoolers. I'm trying to hold my breath instead of quickly supplying a word Sierra is stuck on. I praise her when she figures out a passage without help. We don't often realize how important these words of encouragement are. An unexpected compliment means a lot when we deciphering new skills.

I hope there comes a time when Sierra will allow me to blatantly teach her. Until then, I will settle for teaching her through praise.


Alison said...

Good for you. If you've never read Ability Development from Age Zero by Shinichi Suzuki, you might be interested in what he has to say about the power of positive reinforcement coupled with ignoring negative behavior.

Amanda, the Head Nut said...

I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog. I stumbled upon it about a month ago and have looked forward to each installment. Your life in homeschooling is very similar to mine, even if I am terrible at juggling!

Keep up the good work.

Inner Elder said...

Words of praise and encouragement - they really work! Thank you for the lovely memory. I remember how anxious you were to write, composing poems that I wrote down for you. It's no mystery that you are such a gifted writer now. And Sierra - she is sharp as a tack - she may be a challenge but I predict great outcomes. PS Thanks for offering to help post the CCC pix (when I find them). That would help me learn how to get pix on my blog.
Love, Mom

Jessica said...

My daughter loves to learn this way. If I nonchalantly have her learn, it goes SO well. She really did well with starfall too as is the little one. Praise is so important and kids need it so much. I got so little of it in public school and hate to say that is really not my parents strong points, but something that is very important to me, it still kind of hurts. I am also trying to make a point to really praise my kids when they do well.

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