21 September 2012

Of Striking the Educational Balance

Two weeks into this Pre-K at home thing and I keep waiting for her excitement to wane. And, yet, every morning she wakes up and I announce, in response to her daily question, "Where are we going?" - as if we would only get dressed were we going somewhere (okay, maybe that was true for awhile, but I've been working on that) - "We're not going anywhere; we're doing school," her immediate response is, "Yay!"

In fact, this very morning, after breakfast, she rushed to her top basket to grab the first work for the day. Unfortunately, I had to tell her to wait because I like to be with her as she works (and, yes, she definitely prefers this, as well) and her youngest brother was just beginning to stir and be in need of nourishment. "Why don't you play for a little while until I'm done feeding Joseph?"

Her whining, frustrated response was quick, "I don't want to play! I want to start my work!" Oh, goodness gracious, we have raised ourselves a nerd in our very own vein. Because when I was her age (and older), my version of play was to pretend to be teacher using discarded workbooks from the local elementary school. I have always loved workbooks. I still love workbooks.

And this girl's workbook (thank you, Dollar Tree) involves Disney Princesses. So you can imagine her dismay at the delay. It is definitely an encouragement as her mother and teacher. But, again, I'm still waiting for the other shoe to fall.

This fear drives me every week, as I plan, seeking the next thing that will continue to hold her interest, as I learn what she loves, what she hurries through in favor of the next activity, and what makes her cry in frustration.

 Of course, I'm not ditching the latter just yet. It's the challenge that will grow her even as it hurts at times. We just need to remember there's a difference between a challenge and an unrealistic expectation. Just as there is a difference between challenging her and keeping goals within existing parameters.

 Striking the balance - the ongoing struggle.  

1,000 Gifts: 
906. Spilled paint, a beautiful mess sparkling in the sun 
907. Mashed goo, the remains of a reward well-earned 
908. Wonder Box 
909. A self-dressed girl, yellow legwarmers and a matching arm sleeve 
910. A baby boy's pudgy legs peeking from around the corner 
911. The same baby boy's little foot, joining his hands in back-seat play 
912. Unexpected sparkles in the twilit sky 
913. Good car conversation 
914. Learning a new game, his heart's language 
915. An empty dishwasher when I awake 
916. Packing his lunch, fruit snacks, lunchbox and all 
917. Fixing what was broken 
918. Much-needed time away

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