Thursday, October 04, 2007

Homeschooling and more

We only have about 5 more days for our homeschooling before the baby is born. The kids are almost done with all of their work and I'll be giving M. and S. grade level standardized tests next week to see if we move up a grade after H. is born or put in more time on what they've been working on. They both seem to be doing fairly well but the state requires "proof of progress" so this gives us something to present. M. was tickled yesterday when he saw one of the kids in his swim class (who is older) working on math problems that M. declared were "So Easy!"

This year, I bought the MacGuffey reader set for them to work with. This set was first published in 1879 and let me tell you, they expected so much more out of their kids than we do today! In the Fourth Grade Reader, M. is coming across vocabulary that most high school students would likely struggle with today. I'm not talking about words that are no longer used either, but words that kids just aren't being exposed to because of "dumbed down" vocabulary in the "literature" they are exposed to at school. It's also give us the opportunity to talk about how the standard meanings of words have changed over time as well as falling in and out of common usuage. On top of that, most of the stories are meant to be morally instructive and encourage improving your character.

This last bit leads me to a compliment my kids receive from a manager at the grocery store last week. The manager was working as a cashier that day and the kids each were helping put the bagged groceries back into the cart. When everything was finished, the manager thanked the kids for helping to which they all responded (without prompting) "you're welcome" and "Thank you". The manager then complimented me on raising them well and remarked that he couldn't remember how long it had been since he had heard kids say "Thank you" and "You're welcome." Now, this manager isn't some grouchy old man that remembers how things were "back in the day" but a late 20's/early 30's gen-Xer who was genuinely pleased to hear kids extending what I consider a common courtesy. Now, I don't think my kids noticed the compliment and I didn't relate it back to them. Why? Because I want them to continue believing that such courtesies are the expected norm rather than exceptional behavior. So many kids movies now show kids behaving in ways that would be completely unacceptable even a generation ago yet is now considered perfectly normal. It's amazing how our standards and expectations have changed. How is it that teen rebellion was virtually unknown prior to say the 1920's but is not just acceptable but expected today?

Ok, I've said my peace and will get off my soapbox for now.


Patty said...

We used mcguffey readers too. Loved them. But I have to admitt I was shocked at how hard they were when I first got them.
Its so nice to hear about polite children, keep up the good work

JudyL said...

Being an older parent, I sometimes shake my head at what younger parents allow and tolerate. Thank you for raising polite children!