Tuesday, May 24, 2005

More on Ready or Not, Here Life Comes

I was able to renew the book, which is only a 14 day - yippee.

I am reading now about Enhancing Working Capacity at Home. He has a list that are interesting. Here are a few:

Establish consistent times for mind work whether or not your child has homework (call it "mental workout time").
Assist with time allocation, prioritization, and scheduling.
Teach your child how to break big tasks into stages, manageable chunks of work.Try not to let your child quit a job when the going gets rough or dull.
Be a role model; do mind work yourself while the child is engaged in mind work.

There are some other guidelines, but the above I found most intriguing. As a homeschooler, I was particularly interested in the breaking of big projects into manageable chunks, as my daughters have never had any big projects with a deadline.

Recently, Lauren has been preparing for a piano exam. A week ago, with two weeks before the exam, she began to panic. There are many reasons why she was behind in her preparation, and the panic was well founded. Some of the materials arrived late, and the teacher hadn't yet covered some of the subject matter. All of us are new to this exam, and didn't realize the amount of work involved, so she didn't work hard enough earlier. She took a week off to go to Germany.

We didn't let her just throw in the towel though, having committed herself to trying, though she very much wanted to quit. We learned important lessons doing this, such as how to lay out what needs to be done, and how to accomplish it in small chunks. We learned about "perfectionism". She's always learned piano Suzuki style, perfecting one or two pieces from a perfectionist teacher before moving to another song. This exam requires competency, not perfectionism, in seven songs, plus reading and technique (scales). We have had the chance to examine the cause of the stress: not so much the exam, but the difficulty in not being able to play each song perfectly.

We have asked her to work hard to prepare for the exam, which is Friday. Whether she takes the exam will ultimately be up to Lauren and her teacher. As parent, my goal was to see that she learned a little about life from the experience, which was much more valuable than the exam itself.

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