Teaching Brooklyn

Brooklyn is seven years old. She is in first grade.
If she were in public school and had gone to public school her entire elementary life so far I have no doubt that she’d be in first grade there, also. I also have no doubt that she’d be struggling in school even having been held back.

Brooklyn is a great kid. She has lots of energy and a huge love and excitement for life. She has a photographic memory that helps her retain a lot of information she’s learned about history, geography, science, and literature to name a few things.

She mostly struggles with math and writing.

The thing is, why do I have to look at her as struggling with math and writing? Why am I mentally comparing her to other seven year olds? She is not them. She is her. She is learning in math and grammar. Isn’t the progress all that matters?

She does worksheets upon worksheets of geography. She devours geography and history books. I’ve held her back in this natural ability of hers based on what is normally taught in geography in first grade. She could know a lot more. But I was so focused on bringing up her math and grammar knowledge that I only gave her natural gifts in history, geography and science a normal amount of attention.

And that is so sad because part of what I love about homeschooling is the ability to teach children to their strengths. Not at the loss of other subjects at all, but to nurture those areas where kids excel.

So this fall as I was pondering Brooklyn’s homeschool life and future a lot I realized that I was doing everything right except really nurturing her love of those other subjects.
So I bought extra materials in those subjects and guess what. Brooklyn’s favorite time of day is doing those things and I’m sitting here wanting to smack my head because I should have been doing this all along!

Luckily I figured this out during her first grade year and not her fourth or seventh or… never! haha

And saying all this… I am thinking I need to do even more in those areas! Can you believe that? She is breezing through her first grade math and grammar now with plenty of time to spare each day to add more history, geography, science, and even art and music. We’re sorely lacking in music in our house!

So why am I blabbering on about Brookyln and school?

Mostly because it’s been on my mind a lot lately, and also because despite the progress I’ve made mentally as a mother and homeschool teacher, I still have my moments of stupidity and doubt and have this random panic of… “but, but all her friends are in second grade and can write like this and add like that and, and…”

And so I brought out her second grade workbook “just” to see how she did with one of the easier lessons in it.

It was horrible. I went from thinking of Brooklyn in a hopeful, excited way to thinking, she is so behind, she is definitely below average.

Ugh, how terrible! I stopped myself right away. I really hate when my own weakness, having been raised in a public school world, of judging based on averages affects my view of my own child. It’s awful and makes me feel like a horrible person!

There is no reason I should feel anything but excited about Brooklyn’s school year!! No reason! She is progressing rapidly in math, spelling, grammar and writing! Yes at a first grade level. That is her level! She is doing great there. She excels in history, geography, science and literature. I’m going to put a lot more effort, even more than I do now, into those areas!

The second grade workbooks are going back into the back of the closet and I’m going to watch her blossom and grow into the best 7 year old Brooklyn there is.

4 thoughts on “Teaching Brooklyn

  • I wouldn't worry. You are a great teacher. And really the most important thing is that you care enough to worry! So that to me means that she is in good hands. You know some kids take a little while longer to really focus and get better at school. You and Allan are both very intelligent people and she is just bound to follow! She has more to her then her good looks! πŸ˜‰

  • My almost 10 yr. old still stinks at math and is a grade behind. He also can't stand writing and will fight it till the end. BUT…when we walk into the library he heads straight for the adult reference section and checks out books about history. He will read them front to back and memorize every timeline and LOVES it. He's been building on a high school level circuit board for science.

    You're a smart mom, and Brooklyn's a smart girl. Just keep reminding yourself that!

  • I appreciate this real post on homeschooling. I believer your thoughts are normal – I encounter them too. All of Holly's friends are in public school and I am always observing to see if I am missing something. Then a few minutes into it I have to stop myself and come back to Holly. Like Brooklyn she is really into science and then math and art for us. So, I am trying to go with it (sneaking in writing and reading within those subjects of course, lol). But it is hard to not get caught up in 'where should they be'.

    My thoughts are that this is something we eventually grow out of as we are more experienced – at least I hope so. πŸ™‚

    Keep doing the GREAT job that you are, your children are so lucky!!!

  • Thanks. I agree, I feel like I've grown a lot already as a homeschool mom; I can't wait until other people's thoughts and opinions don't even tempt me to start questioning my family's choices and lifestyle πŸ™‚

    I'm getting caught up on your blogs right now and loving it. I need to blog hop more often!

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