She was responding to another email I'd forwarded from a friend whose son will be attending Hogwarts in the fall, re: clarity of summer assignments at Hogwarts vs our public schools:
[The Hogwarts summer assignment] list confirms 1000% that this is the school for E. and that public schools don't know what they are doing. When I would look at the work that my kids were given, from K - now, I would have NO IDEA myself what the teachers were asking for. And if I can't understand, I don't know how the kids are supposed to understand. I feel like taking the Summer Assignment list to my meeting with [the school] and just laying it down and showing them what CLEAR is. All of E's "needs break down of directions" and "chunking material" that's on his 504 plan is done on the Hogwarts Summer Assignment list without any "504 accommodation."I had exactly the same experience myself last summer, contemplating C's summer assignment list from Hogwarts.
For instance, one part of the summer assignment for The Odyssey was the following:
Based on your reading of books 1-12 of the Odyssey, answer each of the following questions in essay form. Each answer must be no less than fifty words and no more than seventy-five words. Combine all three essays on one page in New Times Roman, 12 point, single-spaced format. Staple your page of answers to the Odyssey identification page you are submitting in September.I still remember, vividly, the feeling of relief that washed over me as I read this assignment.
1. Show three ways in which the challenges Telemachus meets in establishing his male identity are similar to the challenges certain students entering Hogwarts as freshmen meet in establishing their male identity. [have I mentioned lately that Hogwarts is highly boy-friendly?]
2. What do you consider the three most admirable qualities of Odysseus and why are they still needed today?
3. The Odyssey is filled with interesting female characters. Tell who is the most interesting female character and tell what are her three most admirable qualities.
It was clear.
It was simple.
It was direct.
It was doable by my son.
Here is Vicky S:
This brings up something that's been rattling around in my head. Seems like in so many realms, the schools have completely lost track of developmentally appropriate strategies. They are applying a very simple model. Whatever they are striving for, they try to accelerate. Doesn't work that way.
How to develop expertise:
Schools--put the kids in undefined environments and encourage them to think and act like experts.
In reality--provide kids (people) opportunities for knowledge acquisition, then synthesis and opportunities to apply their knowledge, over lengthy time periods (years), with the happy outcome of creating an expert (at the end).
How to make sure kids learn algebra:
Schools--teach algebra at earlier and earlier ages
In reality--teach basic math better, prior to teaching algebra
How to teach kids to handle long term/multiple projects:
Schools--give them long term/multiple projects at earlier and earlier ages. If this does not seem to work, go even earlier.
In reality--start with small nightly homework, several years of assignment books, parsed out assignments, frequent check-ins, short projects one at a time.
This is true in other areas too--
How to produce confident independent child:
Wrong--force child into independence early, cry it out, tough it out, figure it out
Right--meet child's many needs with constant love, attention, affection; kill boogey men; kiss away tears.
The general principle that I'm trying to articulate is that if you want to achieve a certain goal, you don't do it by prematurely acting as if you've achieved the goal. You don't do Z at an earlier age to achieve Z at a later age. You do X and Y at the earlier ages, which then allow you to move forward and achieve Z. The "X" and the "Y" are what developmentally appropriate education is all about.