Friday, January 26, 2007

Thinking and Sledding

It's been a weird winter. We finally got a good snow last week--the first since November. Klaus had even given up on winter. "It took so long, winter lost it's chance. No do-overs!" Anyway, since we've had about five inches on the ground for more than a week the boys have been doing a lot of sledding and I've been giving them school time to do it, since they hardly get any other exercise during the winter.

Meanwhile, Wolfie had a lot of writing for his EPGY class this week, something he would normally stew about. This week's assignment was three to five paragraphs each, on a character with an internal conflict, one with an external conflict and the relationship between the two conflicts, if any. He stared at the blank page/screen for about 45 minutes before I took pity on him and let him sled with Xavier for a half-hour. Wonder of wonders, when he came back in, he'd figured out what he wanted to write about!

Whether you call it kinesthetic learning or simply the fact that exercise sends more oxygen to your brain, this situation is one that homeschooling is made for. Had he been at school, he would have stared at a blank page for an entire class period, then gone on to a completely different subject with a whole new set of problems to consider. Then, at homework time, he would have had to start the process all over again. What does that teach him? Writing is hard and he hates it.

This week, not so much. He wrote what he could, then took a break. Wrote some more, got stuck, went sledding, had another idea and wrote yet more. Yesterday, he told me that even though he doesn't like the class, he recognized that he was a better, faster writer now than in September when he started. Granted, the EPGY program does an excellent job of teaching writing. But the workload is huge and I think if it were taught the same way in the schools, it would be overwhelming. It's the flexibility of homeschooling that makes it possible for him to produce the quantity and quality work that he is producing.

The class lasts until the middle of March. I hope the snow hasn't melted by then.

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