Sunday, October 22, 2006

To Textbook or Not to Textbook

The great thing about homeschooling is that you can try and overcome the shortfalls of the mass-produced pseudo-education that is Public School. It's also the difficult thing.
Boy would be doing gaining very little new knowledge in science this year if he was at the local school. I decided that if he was going to stay home, we could attack each of the major sciences one year at a time and give him a meaningful bite of each.
Unfortunately, there is no box you can buy that comes with "biology" ready made for a sixth grade student. There isn't even a decent textbook.
So I tried scoping out some sites for Boy, printing some stuff out, then setting him loose. This worked Poorly. He retained some major concepts, but doesn't feel confident about it. It's as if he doesn't know what he knows. Most minor concepts went past him completely.
So we'll approach it again, but differently. I'll make up a text, thereby gleaning the important facts from the chaff for the Boy. He can read, do the activities and questions at the end and Bob's your Uncle.
I've been working on this for days. There are plenty of pictures, lots of info, meaningful activities.
And yet, there's no helping the fact that it's a little dry. A lot dry, in places. I can't help but think that in doing the extracting for him, I've sucked the life out of the whole process. Where's the discovery and exploration? Where's the following of interesting topics?
It ain't here.
Maybe there's a happy medium. Maybe there isn't. I have the feeling that I'm reinventing the wheel. Somebody must have gotten this right already. Maybe if I read the right education journal I would discover it. I know how to guide kids through things that are more general- beginning math, science, reading. It's what to do when you've got a very specific goal in mind that baffles me. How do you guide and facilitate exploration when you've got one outcome in mind?
I'm done for tonight anyway. I got the computer moved into the main living area, which means Boy can have more free time on the computer, and I can pump without having to confine Peanut or make Boy watch her.
Yay me!

Doing the best I can,


Esereth said...

Just curious. Did you ever consider private school or charter school for your Boy?

Why did you decide to homeschool him in the first place?

You're such a trooper-mom. It's bound to pay off.

ephelba said...

I used to send Boy to a lovely charter school, then we moved here. They have no charter schools here, and are happy about it. We can't afford a private school, but even if we could I don't know that the local catholic school is much better. If I had another option I'd probably take it. I have to say, though, that homeschooling lets you tutor your kid with a level of attention they'd never never never get in the public schools.