Documentation and Worksheets

I’ve been working on putting together this year’s portfolios for the kids. Each year, beginning with Pre-K I’ve started a portfolio of a selection of work and experiences the kids have had. Ava’s Pre-K one filled up quickly at the time since she loved to do worksheets and official “school” work on paper. She still likes them on occasion, but now I find that our paper work is usually scribbled out in the moment on whatever is closest. Scraps of paper, used envelopes, the back of a magazine, on the chalk board or white board, etc. And on it’s own, it may not make sense, as in a portfolio. Tally marks here, different words there, little maps, abbreviations, seemingly random letters and numbers … but in the moment, these little scribbles were big learning!
We still are managing to fill up the portfolios though, and we may have to use some more photographs and ticket stubs and receipts this year, but it’s all good. Also, I have the blog for documentation. I like to keep track of everything for reference and memories, plus it’s fun! In addition, documenting is important in case of any misguided accusations that apparently some homeschoolers have had to deal with because of keeping kids home from school.

Noah, surprisingly, has taken to doing worksheets lately. I never really thought he’d be the worksheet type, but he’s loving them. Worksheets are a funny thing. Basically, it’s not so much that kids are learning the ideas as much as learning HOW to SHOW that they are learning them. You know, to make us grown-ups happy. This stuff is already in their little heads. Worksheets can only be done when they sit down and force the ideas onto paper once they can handle a pencil. In daily life, if you listen for it, kids are making all this clear already. They have all these concepts down, probably much much much earlier than we know.
To illustrate a recent example, I’ve illustrated a recent example!
This is Noah (4) and Amora (2) as Noah was doing his workbook:

This is what I overheard between the two of them as he worked through it:

Yup. Toddlers know math. Because everything is math. The whole world is math. We just, somewhere along the line, decided to rip it out of reality and put it down on paper, which has it’s usefulness, obviously. But why must we force it upon young minds already whirling and growing with mathematical concepts and understandings? Why must we limit it so darn early to 1 + 1 = 2? Get over it, grown-ups! Kids KNOW 1 + 1 = 2 and have known it since birth, just without the words and symbols.
Amora happens to be an early talker and communicates really well. By the time she could say the words, she could differentiate and name all the colors, notice the differences between two objects, know big and little, over and under, in front of and behind, numbers and counting…all these things that we make a point to teach in Pre-school. I think kids know this stuff long before we force them to regurgitate it so we can jump up and down and say “good job!” They must think we are so silly.

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