Saturday, April 26, 2008

Who Is This Kid?

Okay, who stole my son and replaced him with a weird doppelganger? I have told everyone who will stand still long enough to listen that my son isn't interested in workbooks at all. He barely draws or colors, doesn't want to write (except occasionally) and balks at the idea of reading.

Lately, I have bribed him to do some dot to dots and a lesson of Singapore math, just to attempt to slowly build up his motor skills.

Anyway, one day this week, totally out of the blue, he did lessons 2-11 in Singapore Math 1a. Yes, 2-11. He did a little over half the book, which is supposed to last half a year. In fact, he cried when I said we should probably stop after he "did" a page by not following the directions at all. I didn't want him to keep going and ruin the pages without learning, or get used to not doing what was expected on the page. It seemed reasonable to me! But he cried. Apparently he was intending to finish the book!

Now, granted, some exercises he chose to do his own way. The directions might say circle, and he made an X. Or he was supposed to fill a while block and he just make a scribble. In fact, quite a few of the drawings are now scribbled purple and have been involved in stories involving zombies. On another page, he did the first exercise right. Then the second right. Then on the third he did it right, until his answer started looking sort of like a bow, so he filled in two extra boxes ("Mom, that doesn't count, it's just a line!") so he could have a bow and arrow there. Unless you were there watching him do the exercises, and obviously understood what he was doing, you'd think some toddler had just decided to scribble purple all over the book.

Now, first of all, this all shocks me. Sort of. I mean, I sort of put him in the "doesn't do workbooks" box in my mind. But he obviously doesn't hate them. Or at least, he doesn't hate them every day. In other ways, I'm not shocked. I loved little books like that. I know why he's driven to finish the whole book in one sitting. Heck, dh and I would do that on things we don't even like! It's a compulsion.

And I learned three important things:

The first is that I should never label my son and expect to predict his behavior. He's not going to be the same every day. No one is! But he's less predictable than average. So I should always be prepared (mentally, and with books and activities!) for him to want to do things I don't expect.

The second is that I really need to keep an eye on his perfectionist, completionist tendencies, and make sure whatever I pick isn't going to frustrate him. I can imagine what would have happened if the Singapore folks decided to make a book covering a whole year. Or even two years! He'd still probably try to complete it. I mean, I even told him he could skip some specific pages that I thought he didn't need to do, because it was so redundant (under my authority as the teacher), but he rebelled, and did them all, no skipping. So I'd better make sure to get thin books, I suppose!

The last is that I know this would be a problem in school. How many stories have I heard about boys who hated school because their teacher didn't understand that they knew the concept, and after demonstrating it twice, decided to draw a picture instead? Or wants to discuss how all his people (and fruit) turned into zombies? I don't think that would go over so well at school. So it's just another way I'm glad I decided to homeschool.

All in all, the whole thing made me slightly humbled, but very proud of my son, and very satisfied with my choices. It's been a golden week, even with the bronchitis and sinus problems.

1 comment:

Sebastian said...

I've got a doodler too. I occasionally make the restriction that they can't have laser space battles on their hymn printouts or Civil War history pages. That has gotten me very vivid representations of battles between angels and demons or Picket's Charge.