Sam loves geography. We do puzzle maps (love these Geopuzzles ) and we use various tools to look up places we read about. I require that she do two geography lessons per week, but often she does more.
Since that is all I have to say about geography, I’ll also talk about school logistics now.
We are doing school in the mornings. It takes close to two hours for me to get myself and Sam ready for school, so sometimes we don’t start until after 9am. I dropped having a set school time because the pressure was killing me and Sam is so freaking slow about everything. Instead, I require that she do a certain amount of work each day and each week.
We started with a daily “work chart.” She had to do at least one “piece of work” for each subject every day. But as soon as she got the hang of that, I changed it so that she has to do a certain amount per week. This is the goal each week as of now:
Doing more than one math exercise per day is turning out to be very important. She’s had some breakthroughs just because she did two things in a row, like addition and multiplication. She has a better chance of integrating the operations when she does that.
Most of the subjects offer her a choice of what to do: what book to read, what puzzle map to work on, etc. And she is free to work on things in whatever order she chooses. We haven’t been doing the weekly goals long enough for me to know if she is planning ahead. So far, I’ve managed to steer her along so that she can finish up on Fridays. And she still thinks that we’re not done with school for the day until I say so, because that’s the way it was with the daily goals. But after the holidays, I’m going to let go a bit more and see how she does. She is allowed to watch TV between the time she finishes school and lunch, which is usually around 12:30, so she has some motivation to stay focused on her work, but it’s rare that she has the discipline to do that. She always seems to stretch things out until we are both starving and I have to leave for an appointment. If that happens, we stop, and she has to make up the difference on Fridays. We’ll see how this goes. I’m still not sure if it will work for us. But I hate following the clock.
The other logistical note I’ll make now is that I’m finding that it’s very difficult to get Sam to work on her own. She always wants me to sit with her, even when she knows how to do something. It’s not good, because she never really gets in that highly focused zone unless she is working alone. The best way for me to get her to do that is to leave the room. Sometimes I’ll go put a load of laundry in and when I come back, she is in the zone and doesn’t notice me and keeps working. But overall, she is way too aware of me and wants my attention much more than I think is good for her, so I have to find more ways to engineer the environment so that I’m not so available. It might be as simple as moving my desk to a different spot in the room.