Okay, so maybe homeschool curriculum might not be exactly the right term since Aristotle goes to school. Perhaps what I should be calling it is our supplementary homeschool curriculum. And because it is supposed to be supplementary, the intention is not to adopt a full-scale homeschool curriculum but to implement elements of one.
Although I have been “homeschooling” Aristotle since he was a toddler, I have never really adopted a proper curriculum. One month we might be strictly right brain focussed, another we might be reading everything under the sun, and yet another, we might be busy with workbooks and puzzle games. I have never had a hard and fast rule about what we did so long as we were doing something, unless the boys or I were sick, then we would take a break.
Now that Aristotle is older and I’ve been writing about figuring out how best to handle his education so that we have a system that works for him, I thought it was high time we looked deeper into this. At school, he is well ahead in reading, Math and his ability to articulate himself. His teacher has also remarked that his memory is very good. In Heguru, his sensei mentioned that his mind is sharp – he is able to see the solutions to the puzzles very quickly. Yet, while he is doing well in these areas, I do not like the idea of advancing him a year because I am concerned that he is not emotionally ready for it.
After reading the following comment from The Well-Trained Minds on “guiding potential vs pushing too hard“, I know we need to do something to ensure that he is sufficiently challenged so that he continues to develop even in the areas that he is already ahead.
Based on my own experiences, if she were my kid, I would push her. Not hard, but enough to keep her challenged.
My IQ puts me into the HG category (and yes, I am rolling my eyes as I type that- I really don’t think much of IQ tests or the categories). When I was your dd’s age, my parents didn’t push me. My school didn’t push me. I did the basic level of work in about a tenth of the time as everyone else, and then I sat there, bored out of my mind. (I would try to read after I finished, but my teachers would yell at me that it wasn’t time to read and I just had to sit quietly. Don’t you love public schools?)
I grew used to doing that, and to not thinking much about what I was learning. And really, I wasn’t learning much of anything, because I started school knowing pretty much everything I’d need up until around fourth grade. Then, when the work did become more challenging (I’m definitely not a math person, lol) I hadn’t learned HOW to learn, so I had a lot of trouble. And having trouble basically crushed how I’d come to view myself. That affected me until college, where I finally relearned how to enjoy learning.
Don’t know if that’s helpful or not for you, but I thought I’d throw it out there. If it were my dd, I’d push her enough so that she has to continue learning all the time, and not just sailing by on what she knows already.
I don’t want him to fall into this trap where he gets so comfortable about not having to work for anything that when the time comes, he doesn’t know how to work for it. As it is, I feel uncomfortable whenever he proclaims arrogantly, “I already know that!” And then proceeds to ignore whatever is being taught. The problem is, sometimes we only know some of what is taught but because we think we know it all, we don’t bother to listen at all.
Somewhat like Glenn Doman’s Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential, the Sidney Ledson Institute for intellectual advancement shares a similar philosophy. What caught my attention was his book “Give Your Child Genius IQ: A Program for Busy Parents” which features “Saving Your Schoolchild”. Unfortunately, it appears to be out of stock everywhere. The only information I could get about their program is what they have available on their website.
The Sidney Ledson curriculum is designed to create neural enrichment that produces physical and chemical changes in the brain cells. The program focusses on:
- Developing early literacy
- Vocabulary growth
What drew me to this curriculum was the fact that it addressed a number of weaknesses that Aristotle currently has. For instance, humour and the ability to laugh at himself is something that Aristotle currently lacks. Mathematics is another area he dislikes which I thought would be good to focus on. And after the recent incident where he got suckered into wanting “dinosaur eggs oatmeal“, I felt some early exposure to psychology wouldn’t go astray either. Finally, I like that determination is encouraged because I feel it is an important trait to develop.
Although I don’t have the book to see how the Sidney Ledson curriculum is implemented, it isn’t too hard to figure out some lesson plans of our own. A lot of right brain home practice activities can double up as memory activities, such as linking memory, mandala, and space memory. Many brain training programs also contain a memory development element. Then, of course, we have Memory Magic.
For developing determination, they recommend doing puzzles like Sudoku, spot the difference, and mazes. They also recommend exercising the brain with lots of simple mathematical problems (which has also been recommended by Kawashima as a means of training the brain). Other activities that are recommended are piano lessons, and thought-provoking games like checkers and chess.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information for how they teach the other subjects, like psychology, humour, vocabulary, grammar, Math and algebra, so we’ll have to investigate and develop our own plans for those. A good place to start are the resources from “Schoolproofing Your Child“, which I stumbled upon while I was trying to find out more information on the Sidney Ledson curriculum. If you have other ideas, please share them in the comments – thank you!