Saturday, April 4, 2009

More Styles than a Hair Salon

Well I'll be snookered.

The test results are already back for Marina and Sierra. If you remember, they took the CAT test during the last week of March. I opened the envelopes with some trepidation, since I was concerned about Marina's math scores. Last year Marina took this test for the first time and managed to psyche herself out on the math portion.

I looked at the first page. It was still folded from the envelope, but the scores were visible. The math scores looked pretty good! What a relief. I knew Marina could do it. But wait. Did her vocabulary go down? Usually her standing is the highest in vocabulary, which is a stanine of 9 on the CAT test. Why was it only an 8 now? I unfolded the paper and there was Sierra's name on top! She had received above average marks in both reading and math with math as her high score! Marina's scores were all above average as well, but reading is her strength.

Ever since I started "formally" homeschooling Sierra, I've felt a bit stretched. After all, I was now responsible for the education of all three of my children. Three children with three very distinct personalities and learning styles. And even the learning styles were in a constant flux! While Marina was open to a more formal, classical style when she was younger, I had gradually given her more control of her education. At this point I would say she is self taught, but still following the classical guidelines.

Chase was not as easy to teach classically. Reading did not come as easily to him, and he had very narrow interests. For him, I had to look at these interests and find creative ways to use them to teach him. I also find that he understands better if a concept is demonstrated for him. Reading instructions is not a strong point. I think he gets this from me. I spent years trying to learn to juggle from written instructions in "Juggling for the Complete Klutz." I never really figured it out until I taped an episode of a PBS special called Live from Lincoln Center. The episode featured a production of "The Comedy of Errors" with The Flying Karamazov Brothers, a popular juggling troupe. After watching the program more times than my brother could stand, I figured out how I had to move my hands to juggle. After that, I picked up three balls and by the end of the day I could juggle fairly well.

Sierra is an aggressive unschooler. She thwarts any attempts I make at teaching her. In fact, I think she is unteaching me. When she was born, I immediately recognized her as a woman who knows what she wants, and knows how to get it. Anything I suggest with a hint of education in it is shot down as easily as Donald Trump says, "You're fired." I've taken to tossing workbooks in her direction much like a zookeeper might throw an enrichment toy to a tiger (I learned this from Marina's zoo internship). Sierra might saunter over to it, look it over and then toss it aside. Later that night or the following week or month, I will hear her working on pages, asking Marina to help her with this or that. The key is that everything needs to be on her terms.

And she scored above average on her reading and math tests, so who am I criticize?


Lori @ Camp Creek said...

yay! congrats on the good results! :^)

~*~The Family~*~ said...

Wow! Congrats to your kids on the good scores!

Keeley said...

Oh YES! That's just fabulous. =)

Inner Elder said...

Way to go, Marina and Sierra. I am happy someone got the Math gene.
Love, Grandma

Vicki said...

That last paragragh is hilarious!!!

~~phrases of note~~
aggressive unschooler
unteaching (the teacher) me
tossing workbooks = enrichment toy to a tiger...

Gratz Kids! You guys are awesome!!

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