Saturday, March 12, 2016

You Can Lead a Student to Learning But You Can't Make Her Think

There is a lot to be said for interest-led learning. If you don't have your child's attention, all of the curriculum you throw at her has the effectiveness of throwing darts at a moving target while blindfolded. You might hit it every once in a while, but not with enough consistency to make either of you happy.

My own issue is that I don't fully understand my daughter's current interest, manga and anime. I try, but because there is so much variety in these Japanese art forms, I tend to miss more than I hit.

There was the time I thought she might like some manga guides that taught different topics like physics and  algebra. My reasoning was that I taught my son everything from math to English grammar using dinosaur-themed ideas and workbooks. I will never forget my daughter's words to me: "Just because I like manga doesn't mean I like all manga!" Her discerning tastes about the genre made it hard to hand her material and think she would look at it because it was manga.

Instead, I've tried to take a more active interest in her obsession. I watch anime series with her occasionally. Not as easy as it sounds. We have to watch them in the original Japanese because English dubbing is not always word to word translation. That means we have to read subtitles. Try reading subtitles in the evening after a long day when you already have the title of slowest reader in the house. But viewing it with her has helped me see what she is learning. If I know that, I can discuss it with her, and I can put the educational spin on it and add it to the quarterly report.

I admit I have not yet read any of the mangas, but I have been able to get her to tell me about some of them. She also discusses them with her big sister, which is great, because I can listen in on some of their discussions or get the synopsis later from my older daughter. I also found a magazine for fans of manga and anime that interested her. She's already complained about some of the reviews in it. I'm encouraging her to write her own reviews or write letters to the editor when she feels her favorite titles suffered an unfair review. At the very least, I can tell she is engaged and interested in what she is reading and is critically thinking about it.


Inner Elder said...

Your ability to adapt is heroic. I hope one day someone will "get" how blessed she is to have a dedicated, committed, and ultra flexible mom. It is not easy to abide the moods of teens, much less adapt. Good for you. Love, Mom

Paula Vince said...

Wow, my daughter's passion is exactly the same, Manga and anime. I've done the same sitting through episodes as you, until the Japanese themes stick in my head. She's cos played several anime characters and is beginning to plan another one. And her present passion is sitting down, drawing them.

Interest inspired learning tends to shoot off like a rocket. I remember when I used to read world history texts (Story of the World) to her and her older brother. While he was quite interested and latched onto all the geography and time periods, she'd sit there with a stubborn expression on her face, rebelling by refusing to take anything in.

What a lot we learn along the homeschooling path.

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