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View Full Version : Fill the holes or let them be?



theWeedyRoad
01-12-2012, 07:40 PM
I think my question here (if I can state it correctly) is at what point do you just... leave a hole in education because you think it will be ok?

I've mentioned before that we remediated ds's phonics. That was a necessary. We are still remediating his math- also a necessity.

But right now dd, in 2nd, is learning continents and oceans. Nothing too indepth, just what they are, where the oceans are, and looking at some pics/discussing what it's like to live there. I am requiring her to name the continents and oceans though (with a map, so she knows where they are).

Ds (pulled from ps last year, in 3rd) commented that dd was learning high school stuff? huh? I asked him if he knew the continents and oceans, since it is listed as a second grade skill (even on our state reqs). No, he said, he really doesn't.

It doesn't seem.. vital I guess, and doesn't seem like he can't pick that up along the way.. except that I'm not sure *I* really learned all the continents and oceans specifically and I definitely feel that lack. I think my own geography edu was lacking.

It really is a bigger question than just this though- I'm sure I'll keep bumping up against things I assume he knows but that he doesn't at all.

Where do other folks who pulled their kids from ps draw the line between acceptable gaps and definite holes?

Adding: to be honest, he really doesn't seem to have learned much of anything in ps. Reading: remediated. Math: remediating. Writing: remediating. Sci: we are sciency anyway, but if not I'm sure I would have to remediate. Even music, art, health, history, geography.. nothing was really at 3rd grade level when he came home (or even 2nd) and he was an A student in ps! He's frustrated, and so am I.. he feels stupid, I feel like he was really gypped and his time was wasted.

dbmamaz
01-12-2012, 07:48 PM
To me, there are few things other than reading/writing and math, where gaps and holes really matter. A lot of this will get covered again and again. In world history, or if you choose to use a geography program later. The state standards arent the only right way to educate a person. In today's information era, we can find any fact we need with good speed - well, of course, research skills are definitely something you want to teach your kids!! I keep a map with us (or use google earth) when we are reading history together. I've seen some families break out the map during the evening news to reinforce geography. You can get a talking globe and let them play with it, or get a puzzle.

There are so many things you can learn . . one of the advantages of homeschooling is that if your kids like to follow an idea and learn more about it, they might get interested in knights, and then want to know more about the middle ages, and then learn about the different places in europe that knights lived, and then they might want to learn about samurai, and learn some about japan . . . for that kind of learner, context makes it more meaningful.

Other kids like to learn things in order . . . but some of these things will still show up. But for example, you can do a year or two of world history, then a year or two of US history, and then do geography,government, world relgions . . . and still have time to re-do world and US history again.

baker
01-12-2012, 07:54 PM
Just as an FYI - I have read that if we did not teach our kids ANY math until about age 12 (6th grade), they could learn everything in about 30 hours of instruction. That being said, certainly your son (or any child) has the ability to catch up when the time comes. I see with my own kids that when I try to force knowledge, they rebel. Do what you feel is best for your child, try not to worry too much about the state "standard".

I know a lady in my co-op who was having issues with her older son. She said she basically started him over with her younger son - repeating just about everything - and it is going very well. I think her boys are 1st grade and 4th.

theWeedyRoad
01-12-2012, 07:54 PM
To me, there are few things other than reading/writing and math, where gaps and holes really matter. A lot of this will get covered again and again. In world history, or if you choose to use a geography program later. The state standards arent the only right way to educate a person. In today's information era, we can find any fact we need with good speed - well, of course, research skills are definitely something you want to teach your kids!! I keep a map with us (or use google earth) when we are reading history together. I've seen some families break out the map during the evening news to reinforce geography. You can get a talking globe and let them play with it, or get a puzzle.

There are so many things you can learn . . one of the advantages of homeschooling is that if your kids like to follow an idea and learn more about it, they might get interested in knights, and then want to know more about the middle ages, and then learn about the different places in europe that knights lived, and then they might want to learn about samurai, and learn some about japan . . . for that kind of learner, context makes it more meaningful.

Other kids like to learn things in order . . . but some of these things will still show up. But for example, you can do a year or two of world history, then a year or two of US history, and then do geography,government, world relgions . . . and still have time to re-do world and US history again.

So would you just let it be, with the intention that it will all get covered again later?

Sorry if I'm misunderstanding.

theWeedyRoad
01-12-2012, 07:58 PM
Just as an FYI - I have read that if we did not teach our kids ANY math until about age 12 (6th grade), they could learn everything in about 30 hours of instruction. That being said, certainly your son (or any child) has the ability to catch up when the time comes. I see with my own kids that when I try to force knowledge, they rebel. Do what you feel is best for your child, try not to worry too much about the state "standard".

I know a lady in my co-op who was having issues with her older son. She said she basically started him over with her younger son - repeating just about everything - and it is going very well. I think her boys are 1st grade and 4th.

Thank you. Yes, I'm definitely not remediating with the point of speeding through- we are just taking it one skill at a time as though it was the first time through (which it is). Thankfully, the rebelling seems to be more about my pace (too slow) rather than about learning more information- I'm adjusting ;).

Interesting about the co-op lady. Sounds extremely similar to my experience.

Batgirl
01-12-2012, 08:13 PM
Wow, how frustrating. I think it's a personal choice-- I guess it depends on what you want to do for History and Geography. Those things are easy enough to learn; you can always just throw it in when you are covering something related down the line. I think remediation is most important with skills that need to be developed sequentially, like Reading, Math & Writing vs. knowledge to be learned. :)

farrarwilliams
01-12-2012, 08:44 PM
I'm not big on the idea that there's a "canon" of knowledge you have to have. To me, reading, writing and math are mostly skill sets, which is something that people obviously need, at least at some point. But I think if there's a book, a period in history, a famous figure... eh. It can be skipped if you have to. I think the more kids know, the better, but there's always more and there's always choices. And eventually they'll learn enough to have context for other things (a different person in the same time frame, a different science concept that's related, etc.) and they'll learn research skills and how to evaluate information - again, the skills in being able to understand new things.

BUT... if there's anything at all that's on my basic knowledge list, it's basic geography. So... yeah, I'd personally plug those particular holes.

dbmamaz
01-12-2012, 08:45 PM
Hahah i rambled and made no sense, huh? I havent done any geography with my kids EXCEPT what comes up during history. I did try to follow the state standards the first year, but I dont any more. I dont worry about gaps at all esp in history. I want them to get an idea of the big picture, enjoy learning, and learn to learn. I would let it come up as part of history, and consider doing a half year of geography later . . . or more if your kids end up really liking geography.

Stella M
01-12-2012, 09:06 PM
My rule of thumb is you try your best not to leave holes in skills.

Holes in content happen however you are educated; as long as a child doesn't have enormous gaping caverns in their content, like, idk, not knowing who Shakespeare was or something. If they just hadn't read Macbeth, for example, no biggie. That's what life long learning is for.

But skills, well, you've pretty much got to do something to fix those. I guess geography skills are harder to define than reading skills. Idk. I think the basic geography skill is knowing where your country is situated in the world and recognising that your country is not at the centre of the world, and all over the world there are people living in other places, on other continents, in other climates and with other languages and customs that are no more and no less important as yours. So, geographic brainwashing, essentially. Oh, and being able to read maps. And make maps.

mamaraby
01-12-2012, 09:27 PM
BUT... if there's anything at all that's on my basic knowledge list, it's basic geography. So... yeah, I'd personally plug those particular holes.

I'd agree with most of what others said, but most especially this. The world we live in has become a much larger place than I think it was in previous generations so that not having this sort of understanding would be a detriment.

Greenmother
01-12-2012, 09:36 PM
We do flash cards for the 50 states and their capitals, and flash cards for famous global sites like Victoria Falls, Sydney Opera House, etc., And we start with simple geography as soon as the kids can read independently.

But I had a professor, a mentor who bemoaned the fact that American Students pretty much stunk at geography. And unfortunately I lived down to those expectations. You can get coloring books with reproducible sheets for coloring and map making as well. That always helps. And there are some online games like Penguin Hop that teach American geography through Academic Skill builders.

My kids do not have all the presidents memorized though they do know the planets. Etc., Dbmamaz is right though, you go over and over and over this stuff, that you will eventually cover everything.

dbmamaz
01-12-2012, 10:22 PM
But honestly, how important is it to know the names of the 7 continents? I learned them and thought I got it, and then realized that I had no idea where the middle east or southeast asia were. I think the political areas, the understanding of the history that shaped the regions, of the differences between them, of what is happening there now - this is more important than rattling off the names of 7 continents or the fact that australia is the only continent thats an island or that south pole is and north pole isnt. I guess for me, for the way my kids learn, memorizing isolated facts when they are 7 doesnt seem to help much with learning the big picture later.

farrarwilliams
01-12-2012, 10:33 PM
Well, the whole idea of seven continents is a bit silly. "Continent" is a bit like "planet" in that experts in the field have gotten together and agreed what is and isn't, but the reality is that it isn't a static definition.

I gave a test to some of my middle schoolers one year. Blank outline map of somewhere random. Enough to identify, but not a clear single continent map. All you had to do was color the water. If you're familiar with the world map (even if you don't remember the name of anything) you'd pass. If you weren't, you'd fail. And it's bizarre where some kids thought the water was.

Stella M
01-12-2012, 10:56 PM
But honestly, how important is it to know the names of the 7 continents? I learned them and thought I got it, and then realized that I had no idea where the middle east or southeast asia were. I think the political areas, the understanding of the history that shaped the regions, of the differences between them, of what is happening there now - this is more important than rattling off the names of 7 continents or the fact that australia is the only continent thats an island or that south pole is and north pole isnt. I guess for me, for the way my kids learn, memorizing isolated facts when they are 7 doesnt seem to help much with learning the big picture later.

Yep. Mine seem to learn this stuff through context and really, if you are living in a home with books and radio and newspapers and access to other people - you are going to accumulate a lot of these things through the context of other things. that makes no sense. Oh well. what Cara said.

lakshmi
01-12-2012, 11:38 PM
Weedy:

First of all I would get rid of the word remediation. Because meeting a child where a child is can't be going backwards it can only be going forward. I realize you meant to cover what he supposedly already did in school.

If it were my child, I would go to the state, hell any state, and get the standards. And quickly go through and look and ask and review what my child did not know. I did this recently with Kindergarten standards and found a couple of things we didnt cover so a day or an hour we spent touching on the subject.

I love geography and both my children are learning it. But they have very rarely done much science because I don't like science. as in experiements. They like experiments because they get to mess around with stuff.

So, I could go through the standards and see where I have slacked off on science and choose some specific stuff to cover those topics.
But I won't,

so holes, to me is fine! But you're talking to someone who at 18 had no idea who Martin Luther King Jr was! so I'd say that I'd missed something along the way, if it was taught at all.

theWeedyRoad
01-13-2012, 12:36 AM
Weedy:

First of all I would get rid of the word remediation. Because meeting a child where a child is can't be going backwards it can only be going forward. I realize you meant to cover what he supposedly already did in school.

If it were my child, I would go to the state, hell any state, and get the standards. And quickly go through and look and ask and review what my child did not know. I did this recently with Kindergarten standards and found a couple of things we didnt cover so a day or an hour we spent touching on the subject.

I love geography and both my children are learning it. But they have very rarely done much science because I don't like science. as in experiements. They like experiments because they get to mess around with stuff.

So, I could go through the standards and see where I have slacked off on science and choose some specific stuff to cover those topics.
But I won't,

so holes, to me is fine! But you're talking to someone who at 18 had no idea who Martin Luther King Jr was! so I'd say that I'd missed something along the way, if it was taught at all.

Apologies for the word, it was really used incorrectly. I don't even believe in 'catching up' for homeschoolers... why? Catching up to what?

I think I should have said.. covering the things I felt he should already know. To me, it is like remediation. I have never said that to my ds, though (and I try not to be.. shocked if something is missing, as well, although I could do better I'm sure).



Thank you everyone for your thoughts! I have a lot to mull over, and I'll combine that with what I know about my ds. It definitely helps to have this board to sound stuff off of, and I appreciate your wisdom :)

lakshmi
01-13-2012, 01:42 AM
no apologies.. we become used to words and their usage in traditional schooling contexts...

zcat
01-15-2012, 04:00 PM
I feel that it depends on what is important to you personally and your dc's goals in life if something is a hole or not. If your ds had continued through ps none of this may have ever looked like a gap to you but you can cover things differently at home. I would think about your experiences and what things you feel are important for your dc to know as they go out into the world to college or work.

My dd has always been hs and we could not just drop her in ps as a 6th grader because we have not been following the same curriculum as the school would. She would look behind or ahead depending on the subject. Although my child may not have formally studied something it isn't always a gap in knowledge.

We completely skip spelling instruction because dd is a natural speller. It is a waste of time and resources to drill her on words that she learns on her own. Another student may really need to work with words a lot to learn to spell them. I do not think it is valueless to teach correct spelling or grammar but maybe it doesn't need to take up so much time for every child.

Ultimately I want my dd able to pick up a book and read it with some understanding, be able to write an essay or paper, know how to use a computer, do basic math, know something about the world around her and how her body works, and use a map.

It is important to me that my dd has a basic idea of where places are in the world- but it goes along with history too. I think history is important to understanding events in the world today.
I wouldn't find it acceptable for dd to be 18 years old and not know where Brazil, Asia or the Pacific Ocean is located so if she wasn't picking it up we would do specific lessons.

Dd learned states, countries and oceans from doing puzzles and just looking at maps or a globe. You might like Geography Songs for your family.

relientKitten
01-15-2012, 09:36 PM
This topic got my husband and I comparing my mostly-PS education with his HS education and what we thought of our geography 'holes'. As a child he apparently had all of the states and capitols memorized as well as could point out every country on a globe/map and recognize most by their flags. He can't remember most of that now (we had to go look up WA in fact; it's interesting to me that while Seattle is huge, Olympia is the capital--same with Portland/Salem here in OR). Me? I watched countless hours of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? as a kid and even won a Geography Bee but I never memorized state capitals and couldn't tell you a lick about where exactly any given country is located (France is in Europe, China is in Asia, Egypt is in Africa, etc.--that's about all I need to know :x ) I know a good deal about US geography, topography, etc. but that was because we moved and traveled a lot as a child.

Combined, we pretty much agreed that there were more important things for he and I individually to know and be able to recall at the drop of a hat than what the capital of North Dakota is (sorry to anyone from ND; it's not that we don't love you XD ). Everything else can be looked up when needed. The ability to research and find the information we're after when we don't know it or are not sure is a skill that we value a lot more.

Afterthought: I do remember the little continents jingle from Sesame Street quite fondly, however. That's probably how I learned them.

CatInTheSun
01-15-2012, 10:47 PM
I like the point about skills versus content/facts. I would probably focus on any sill sets that are lacking. As to geography -- I think relevance helps, so I mainly talk about geography in terms of history they're learning or looking at pictures of animals and sights and cultures from each continent -- so it means something. I have beach ball type globes all over the kids play with and I do cover continents/oceans.

Countries have changed a lot since my first atlas (had a 1970 print date), so I'm not as big on the countries/etc. :D That said, I once had an interesting talk with an italian about how they are taught history and geography as REAL, since thousands of years of history has occurred right where they lived. I imagine history would seem more relevant if I was talking about my ancestors and a battle on a hill at the edge of my town, or Hannibal crossing the mountains I see out my window every day.

SusanC
01-15-2012, 11:01 PM
I agree about the skills/rest of it. Once everybody has the math, reading and basic writing down, the rest is gravy. Well, not exactly gravy, but I think that we will see things multiple times between now and whenever we are done homeschooling. I would let things go and just fill the holes as you come to them. Obviously your ds will pick up some of the things you teach your dd, and vice versa.

For filling random, unknown holes, you might keep a kid's magazine subscription or two, and we've had fun with some of those Brain Quest cards.

As for the continents and oceans, don't forget to add the (new to me) Southern Ocean (http://geography.about.com/od/learnabouttheearth/a/fifthocean.htm).