Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Pause that Refreshes

Kieron liked this US state placement game and got quite good at it yesterday.

One thing I am liking about the K12 schedule is that every few days there is an "optional" or "choose your own" day in a subject. They don't come all at once. So one day there may be an option on Algebra, another day in history. Sometimes there are two in one day and Kieron feels like he hit the jackpot.

I usually don't let him have that time off altogether --- mean mom! Instead I have him do a related reading or a game or quiz like the geography one linked above. But it's usually something short that he sort of likes. I only intended him to do the map game once, but instead he played it for over 30 minutes.

I was going to say that if I ever went back to DIY I might use the same system. However, I'm not sure if I would. There's something psychologically different about having a computer assignment sheet that I would have to work to replace if we went back to indie mode. We used to have days off every once in a while when life got in the way of academics. However, the California charter expects you to stick to the California school schedule, so you can't call days off even if, like last week, you have a houseful of very ill children and are running to various doctors for various health reasons. You have to keep logging attendance (though you don't HAVE to plug through the lessons under those circumstances-- you can have a reading day and hands-on math review or something more suited to ill kids, much like we used to do on sick days in the past).

That is a potential downside and one of the reasons I don't think I could have done this when Aidan was sicker. But it does simplify things, too. I find that we can tuck lessons into pockets of the day. I actually rather like this better than a mad rush to get everything done in the morning. Yesterday the day stretched from 9 am, when we started reading The Two Towers, to 6 pm, when Kieron finished his algebra. But we were by no means on task all that time. We took a walk, we ran a couple of errands in the village, we made store pizza for lunch, an uncommon treat; I talked to Liam about the philosophy of physics for quite a while, as the boys played Bionicles. Paddy and I did the molecule experiment and I had Kieron watch so he could help us discuss it. Kieron went looking for a book to read, found The Prince and the Pauper, and hid himself for about an hour to read it. So we have our normal life around the corners of the charter life.

But Kieron does get a thrill out of those "Optionals".

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I would love to hear your thoughts on this!