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Direct instruction and creativity/problem-solving

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I don't know how to bold part of a quote, but the line about the fact that the degree of a kid's VSL mode might vary from subject to subject struck a chord. Dd also has the equivalent of a photographic memory in terms of auditory input, particularly if it's in the form of narrative. She learns really well from lectures in certain topics, but not in others. She learns really well from fiction; she can pick up all kinds of information that I totally miss when I'm reading. But she can't learn from most non-fiction -- a couple of posts earlier discussed this issue and I found it fascinating. In some areas dd takes conventional notes (physics), while in others she either doesn't need them or they don't work for her.

 

I'm rushing because I have got to go -- but I'd love to return to this variation later, and I hope others post about it as well.

 

Yes, I was thinking this too and came back to post on exactly this. Every person is going to have a strong spot, even being VSL, the same way every person has a talent.

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Dd also has the equivalent of a photographic memory in terms of auditory input, particularly if it's in the form of narrative. She learns really well from lectures in certain topics, but not in others. She learns really well from fiction; she can pick up all kinds of information that I totally miss when I'm reading.

 

Yes!

 

This is so true here as well. Same story. My son has an almost perfect auditory memory for anything in the form of the story.

 

It's amazing the similarity to VSL kids. My son though is not a visual learner. He is auditiory and verbal in nature.

 

BTW to highlight in bold, you just select the text you want to bold and then hit the bold key in the edit bar.

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Well then this will totally blow your mind... I was just talking to DH about how hard it is for me to imagine thinking in 3D moving images, and he said that actually he thinks in more than three dimensions and the images are often extremely abstract. :blink:

 

He says that since he tends to be working on multiple problems over long periods of time (he's a computer scientist specializing in stereo/3D imaging and does a lot of research on the neurology of vision as well), he can "nest" multiple, multi-dimensional "conceptual maps" inside each other and "pop" into and out of them as needed, including working on different levels or dimensions simultaneously. Each level contains connections to all other levels, so it's not just a conceptual version of those little nesting dolls. Of course he said it's not really possible to explain it in words, so he tried to explain it by analogy to some concept in quantum physics, while drawing diagrams all over the chalkboard in the kitchen, all of which was completely over my head.

 

I learn something new every day... :001_huh:

 

Jackie

 

I wonder if asking someone on the extreme end of the VSL spectrum to work with things in a very linear-sequential way would be the same as asking anyone not working in that space to think in the way Jackie's husband has described. Because I really can't imagine that I would be able to effectively do what is described above, no matter how hard I tried, or how much I really, really wanted to make it happen. And I'm somewhere in the middle as far as learning styles go, so I can only imagine how much harder it would be to even fathom this if I were an extreme ASL.

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Yes...however once the child realizes that part of the purpose of childhood is to grow as a person , the child may realize that the true self is not being damaged; instead the true self is growing.

 

We'll have to disagree here. It's perfectly possible for a child to require to grow in her own way, not in the way that someone else determines is the appropriate course for her. I don't think what dd is doing can in any way, shape, or form be called stagnating or refusing to grow.

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Yes!

 

This is so true here as well. Same story. My son has an almost perfect auditory memory for anything in the form of the story.

 

It's amazing the similarity to VSL kids. My son though is not a visual learner. He is auditiory and verbal in nature.

 

 

When dd had neuropsych testing over a couple of days a few years ago, one of the tests was in the form of a story that was read aloud to her, with 82 discrete items on which she was later tested for recall. She remembered 81. The therapist wrote a whole paragraph in italics about it in her final report.

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I wonder if asking someone on the extreme end of the VSL spectrum to work with things in a very linear-sequential way would be the same as asking anyone not working in that space to think in the way Jackie's husband has described. Because I really can't imagine that I would be able to effectively do what is described above, no matter how hard I tried, or how much I really, really wanted to make it happen. And I'm somewhere in the middle as far as learning styles go, so I can only imagine how much harder it would be to even fathom this if I were an extreme ASL.

The closest I can come to even visualizing it is to imagine looking at a computer screen while wearing 3D glasses and seeing all these different webs and blobs pop in and out, but it's completely beyond my ability to imagine what it would be like to think that way. I think in words, and the way DH thinks is not just another language to me, it's like something from another planet.

 

Someone posted a thread on the K8 board asking whether she should try to make her left-handed child use his right hand instead, to avoid the problems caused by being a lefty in a right-handed world. The response was almost unanimous outrage that anyone would do that in this day and age; everyone agreed that handedness is a function of wiring and trying to change that would only mess the kid up. Many people also noted that "handedness" is a continuum, with some people being naturally ambidextrous and others being so strongly left- or right-handed that they really can't do much with the other hand.

 

I think being left-brained or right-brained (obviously it's a lot more complicated than that, but that's an easy way to summarize it) is the same thing, and yet there is often an attitude that right-brained people should be forced to learn in a left-brained way, because that's the "normal" way or the "right" way. No one considers it "coddling" or an unwarranted "accommodation" to allow a left-handed kid to write left-handed, but letting a right-brained kid learn in a right-brained way somehow does carry that connotation. Like they're somehow "getting away with something" by being "allowed" the learn the way they learn. I don't get it.

 

Jackie

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Yes...however once the child realizes that part of the purpose of childhood is to grow as a person , the child may realize that the true self is not being damaged; instead the true self is growing.

I don't understand this. I don't think that compromising your "true self" is a necessary component of growth, or even particularly helpful. Overcoming difficulties certainly helps a person grow, but I think one could make an argument that dumbing yourself down or pretending to be something you're not, in order to fit someone else's idea of who you should be or how you should think, is more likely to stunt someone's growth than accelerate it. Maybe I misunderstood what you meant.

 

Jackie

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We'll have to disagree here. It's perfectly possible for a child to require to grow in her own way, not in the way that someone else determines is the appropriate course for her. I don't think what dd is doing can in any way, shape, or form be called stagnating or refusing to grow.

 

Indeed we will as that is not what I said at all in any way,shape or form.

 

I am saying that growing as a person is a choice, and one can choose to grow. One can expand one's thinking skills and one's mental capabilities. One is not locked in to the package one has at birth.

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Insisting that a VSL follow someone else's linear-sequential explanation can be really annoying for any number of reasons (or all of them combined): it could interfere with their attempts to put the information together themselves; they might consider it a waste of time because they know they're going to have to "redo" it their way anyway; they might be annoyed that the "answer" was given away instead of allowing them the pleasure of discovering it themselves; it could feel like they were being pressured to absorb, process, and respond to information immediately when they needed time to let it percolate; they may have instantly understood the concept and are impatient about having to sit there listening to someone explain it slowly step by step; etc.

 

I think the issue is even more complicated when dealing with VSLs who are also highly gifted. Some of the traits that tend to be associated with both of those groups end up being raised to the 10th power in people who are near the edge of both the gifted spectrum and the VSL spectrum. So in addition to what is a genuine inability to process information in certain ways, or in certain states of mind, there can also be a certain unwillingness to compromise their "true selves" just to fit someone else's idea of who they should be or how they should think — which seems perfectly reasonable to me. I think that's probably part of what's going on with Karen's DD, and to me it's not a "character flaw" but rather a strength, which will probably serve her well in the long run. Even if it does make her mother's life rather more difficult in the short run. ;)

 

Jackie

 

 

 

I don't understand this. I don't think that compromising your "true self" is a necessary component of growth, or even particularly helpful. Overcoming difficulties certainly helps a person grow, but I think one could make an argument that dumbing yourself down or pretending to be something you're not, in order to fit someone else's idea of who you should be or how you should think, is more likely to stunt someone's growth than accelerate it. Maybe I misunderstood what you meant.

 

Jackie

 

 

Am I interpreting these posts correctly? Expecting gifted VSLs to demonstrate sequential/linear answers as required by formal educational institutions is having to dumb themselves down?

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Am I interpreting these posts correctly? Expecting gifted VSLs to demonstrate sequential/linear answers as required by formal educational institutions is having to dumb themselves down?

 

I am reading it this way.

 

There is a point in one's education where expecting divergent thinkers to follow traditional curriculum would be detrimental to their growth.

 

Also the posts seem to be referring to the thought process not the product or demonstration of the thought process. I think in these threads there are two different issues coming up. How people think and how we express our thoughts.

 

It's very similar to second language learners, a language learner might be taught in a second language but process in the native language and then translate the output back into the second language. This takes some time to learn. Along the way a teacher may allow students to do some work in their native language as they are developing second language skills. You wouldn't want to force an English learner to think in English though, that could seriously impact the quality of the content that you are teaching.

 

I think that with certain kids it is valuable to honor how they think. I wouldn't want to change the way my son thinks just to get him to fit in. On the other hand, I do very much want him to be able communicate with other humans, so I go out of my way to try to help him understand how other people think. Not to change him or interfere with his thinking in any way but to help him express his ideas in ways that other people will understand.

 

I think this is an important distinction.

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So, in that case, continuing to follow a standard algorithm:

--did not produce one iota of learning;

--made her feel stupid;

--reinforced rather than fixed errors.

 

In other cases, such as with private school but also with a few other mistakes I made, following direct instruction and/or incremental, sequential, linear modes of teaching produced:

--no retention;

--more feelings of inadequacy (on both our parts);

--dread of a topic or subject;

--in extreme cases, a determination not to have anything to do with the matter again, even if it were a matter such as writing which she truly loved if given leeway to use her own methods and explorations. I explained this a bit in a previous post.

--in one extreme case, a breakdown.

 

Aside from the extreme breakdown, this looks to me like pretty common results of trying to teach academic skills to her via methods that she didn't learn well by. Something that struck me was that you spent four years on a spelling method that didn't seem to be helping her. Why four years? I know you said you didn't want to discuss her personally anymore, so it's not a question I really expect you to answer. I just ask, because I wonder if you had a different environment around you than, for example, I did. My mother is an elementary school teacher, and she's pretty innovative. She was considered a rebel in her school district, because she fought to help each kid in her classroom to learn to read, learn to spell, and learn math - she didn't conform to whatever standards of teaching were asked of her - she instead taught each kid. So when I had zillions of questions about these basic skills when my kids were younger, she had lots and lots and LOTS of helpful hints to give me, to help me experiment to see how my kids would learn the thing I wanted them to learn. I guess the key there was that I decided I would start the "learning to read" process when they were younger, rather than waiting til they were older (like around 12 like I know about some kids) and waiting til they asked or found their own way. But my Mom fed me constant info. about ways to do this.

 

Anyway, I don't think the list above is unique - many reasons you listed are reasons why so many parents are pulling their kids out of school.

 

...that she knows best how she needs to learn -- these remain at the very top of my values list for this child.

 

And if they do bring themselves to compromise, there is tragic damage to that true self.

 

I do think, as I wondered previously in this thread, that this helps illustrate to me not really a very rare way of thinking/learning/wiring on the part of your dd, but rather a more fundamental difference in your worldview that translates into differences in parenting philosophies. If you feel I'm interpreting incorrectly, feel free to explain further, but I've read a lot of your posts quite carefully over the months, and I keep coming to this same conclusion (though I've tried to remain open to having my mind changed, even by asking specific questions, even in this thread) - differing worldview/differing philosophy. Nothing wrong with that - THAT I can accept.

 

An unexpected treat for me in this thread, was to see stories of other visual/pattern learners like me! :D

 

No one considers it "coddling" or an unwarranted "accommodation" to allow a left-handed kid to write left-handed, but letting a right-brained kid learn in a right-brained way somehow does carry that connotation. Like they're somehow "getting away with something" by being "allowed" the learn the way they learn. I don't get it.

 

I don't think it's the learning part that carries the connotation - I think the issue is the clear-communication-via-output, esp. as kids get older.

 

Also the posts seem to be referring to the thought process not the product or demonstration of the thought process. I think in these threads there are two different issues coming up. How people think and how we express our thoughts.

 

I think this is an important distinction.

 

YES!

 

It's important to understand various thinking processes (and it's been fascinating to see others' stories that are so similar to how I think). But I think it's also important to teach our kids to reach out to the rest of humanity in how they communicate. Or at least to the rest of their own life circles of friends and family who surely won't all communicate/think/be wired in the same way.

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Am I interpreting these posts correctly? Expecting gifted VSLs to demonstrate sequential/linear answers as required by formal educational institutions is having to dumb themselves down?

No, you're mixing up two different things. Ester Maria used the phrase "dumbing down for the sake of performance" to describe the way many gifted kids just go through the motions to do what is required in a traditional setting, even if that subject is boring or tedious or "beneath" them. She was asking why Karen's DD didn't just do that in her writing class, instead of resisting the teacher's attempts to make her write in a different way — is she truly incapable of just going through the motions and doing it the teacher's way ("dumbing down for the sale of performance"), even though her own approach to writing was more wholistic and more advanced, or is there some other factor involved?

 

I was trying to explain that for some kids, just "going through the motions" to please someone else or fit their idea of how one should learn, is a kind of compromise that they strongly resist, because it feels like a violation of their sense of self. Whether someone believes that a child has the "right" to feel that way is a different issue; if that's how they feel, then that's how they feel. IMHO, this is really a separate issue from being VSL, though, and has more to do with a certain combination of giftedness plus other personality traits. However, I can certainly understand why a child with strong learning differences would be even more inclined to perceive the pressure to perform in a way that is totally alien to them as a threat to their basic sense of who they are and who they have a right to be.

 

I'm not at all VSL, but I was one of those kids who resisted just going through the motions in order to meet requirements that I considered ridiculous. When I was in HS, if I thought an assignment was stupid or pointless, I didn't do it. I never did the math homework, for example, because it was pointless busy work to me and I didn't need it; I still aced the tests. I would have gotten As instead of Bs if I'd gone through the motions, but the difference wasn't worth it to me. My 9th grade English teacher was really a baseball coach, who assigned nothing but books about war and sports. I read Kafka under my desk instead.

 

Now, I realize that many people here will see my behavior as a serious character flaw, and believe that students should be made to conform to the expectations the institution sets out for them, whether they like it or not. But I don't see anything inherently "right" or "moral" or "just" about the way public education is designed and implemented in this country. As far as I was concerned, their failure to provide me with the education I required was their problem not mine; I wasn't going to waste my time reading a bunch of books about baseball when I was getting far more from reading Kafka and Dostoevsky on my own. I did the minimum required, graduated at 16, and went off to college and grad school, where I was very successful. That was not teenage angst or youthful rebellion or something I eventually "grew out of" — I still don't do things I consider stupid or pointless, unless it's a legal requirement or someone can give me a darn good reason why I should. That certainly hasn't "handicapped" me in any way; my life is just as I want it, I have everything I want, few things I don't want, and I have no regrets.

 

I think that's actually probably at the heart of all these "rigorous" vs "flexible" discussions, because as many people have noted, that's not a dichotomy at all. Karen's DD, my DS, Jenn's and Nan's sons, etc., are all getting, or have gotten, deep, "rigorous" educations. Some of us just aren't tied to the idea that how they get there has to look like someone else's idea of "normal."

 

Jackie

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I don't think it's the learning part that carries the connotation - I think the issue is the clear-communication-via-output, esp. as kids get older.

 

It's important to understand various thinking processes (and it's been fascinating to see others' stories that are so similar to how I think). But I think it's also important to teach our kids to reach out to the rest of humanity in how they communicate. Or at least to the rest of their own life circles of friends and family who surely won't all communicate/think/be wired in the same way.

Is there someone here who doesn't plan to teach their child to write or communicate? :confused: :confused: :confused:

 

Jackie

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Is there someone here who doesn't plan to teach their child to write or communicate? :confused: :confused: :confused:

 

Jackie

 

I have no idea. It has been difficult for me to figure that out.

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But I don't see anything inherently "right" or "moral" or "just" about the way public education is designed and implemented in this country.

 

Is there someone here who thinks that there is something inherently right/moral/just about the way public education is designed/implemented in the United States? ;) I know I don't. Furthermore, are we even talking about public education? I thought we were just talking about education in general. Maybe I've been assuming that incorrectly, too. :D

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Is there someone here who thinks that there is something inherently right/moral/just about the way public education is designed/implemented in the United States? ;) I know I don't. Furthermore, are we even talking about public education? I thought we were just talking about education in general. Maybe I've been assuming that incorrectly, too. :D

A lot of people use terms like "normal" or "standard" or "typical requirements," etc., and in many cases I do think those "standards" are at least related to public school "standards," even if only as a minimum. When someone says they expect a "normal level of output" from a child, where does that "normal" come from? "Normal" in this culture is public school. If what they really mean is "The level of output I expect from my children is what is typically expected in a small private classical Christian school," or "I require a level of output equivalent to what's expected in the alternative charter school down the street that focuses on project-based learning," then those may be very different things. What if the local PS HS only expects students to write one 5-page essay/yr? Which of those is "normal"?

 

Everyone approaches their children's education with a set of values and expectations; I think many people believe that their own standards and values are the "normal" ones, and that unless someone has a very good reason (like a documented "disability") for deviating from "normal" standards, then they should be required to conform.

 

I have two problems with this:

(1) Who decides what "normal" or "standard" means? Normal and standard compared to what?

(2) Why should "normal" even be the goal?

 

Jackie

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Now, I realize that many people here will see my behavior as a serious character flaw, and believe that students should be made to conform to the expectations the institution sets out for them, whether they like it or not. But I don't see anything inherently "right" or "moral" or "just" about the way public education is designed and implemented in this country.

Jackie

 

This is where you lose me in these discussions. We're on a homeschooling board. I don't think *anyone* here doesn't understand why you did what you did. We pulled our kids out of school for a reason. Most of us are not *doing school* at home.

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Thank you for the response. :001_smile:

 

I believe, however, that the inability to memorize something which is deprived of meaning is something that most everyone deals with. What I do not understand is where is the understanding inherently absent (at least for some minds) in the "standard" way of doing things.

For example, you mention the carrying algorithm - but that is not something which is presented to kids as a dogma. If it does not intuitively make sense to them, do you go back to explaining place values, or do you not even switch the base from base 10 to, say, base 5, to underline the principle and have them conceptually understand what they are doing?

Times tables, likewise, are not inherently deprived of meaning either - in the "standard" way of doing things, it is not that you hand them to the kid and tell them to memorize... you actually have them understand well what they are doing and if they have any experience with skip counting it is really quite intuitive.

 

Any algorithm, any formula... are deducted first from the observation of how things behave, in any (good) math / science class. That IS the "standard" way of doing things, from what I know - definitely not giving the kid a formula or a scheme for a process they cannot understand.

So the only thing which can go wrong is for the child to be unresponsive to that standard way of doing things... and my question is, what happens THEN? Can they articulate WHY it does not make sense to them? Even if you change the base? Even if you use manipulatives to show what is happening? What could be added to the standard process I know to make it more suitable for those kids? How do you adapt the process for your child?

 

Thank you for the reply, Jenn - I would love to hear details about how you kept applying standard approaches and how he responded to that.

 

She is enormously frustrated because of a mismatch which exists between what she hears (she has an excellent attention to detail) and what she can physically perform herself, but she is quite patient so I suppose she is progressing nicely. It has opened a Pandora's box, though - now they both want also a - mandolin, go figure.

 

Wait, I am confused here.

 

How is this approach not linear? It is not a straight line in the way assumed by the text, but more like a wavy one, but fundamentally, it is still linear, is it not? It is not that they jump in the middle of the chapter about an eye (regardless of what they studied before) and deduct the beginning of the chapter? One of my kids used to do that and it drove me crazy, but simply reorganizing the textbook content in a different but still fundamentally linear fashion has never been an issue, even in schools they do it all the time. Does anyone "perfectly" follow a textbook in the first place? It is more like a compendium of what to go through, a checklist, organized by some landmarks, but it is possible to rearrange it, in many cases (I think biology is a good example, since things are not interdependent there for the linear approach to be a must).

 

My middle kid did that. :001_smile:

Then she continued to do that in math... Sort of: "What is the sum of angles in a triangle?" Answer: "Depending on which geometry you are in..." :lol:

 

Karen, can you break down what exactly was so agonizing for her? From what I understand, her writing instruction consisisted of many little "chunks" and she was expected to master one little chunk after another one. Did she have problems with the individual chunks because she could not see the whole picture? Or she already knew how to do it so it was boring? If so, was she not able to "dumb it down" for school, so to speak - the way that pretty much all advanced kids find themselves dumbing things down for the "official" versions of what they are doing? I guess I am trying to understand whether she was just bored because she already knew things, or she did not know things in advance, but could somehow not process what she was taught.

 

This is the post where "dumb it down" originally came from.

 

I think that it would be easier for the less VSL to understand what it's like for the VSLs if they just flipped things around and imagined what it would be like for them, or their children, if they had to compete in academics which were totally geared towards VS learning. Could you imagine being given advanced algebra problems and not being allowed to write down any of the steps? You'd be outraged at having to just look at it and come up with the answer. It's no different for them looking at things the way they are. Just a thought.

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This is where you loose me in these discussions. We're on a homeschooling board. I don't thing *anyone* here doesn't understand why you did what you did. We pulled our kids out of school for a reason. Most of us are not *doing school* at home.

While I think most people here would understand why I didn't want to spend 9th grade reading books about sports, or why I would resent having to do pages and pages of math homework when I got the concept in 5 minutes in class, I believe that many people would think it was wrong for me to simply refuse to do it. Many have expressed the opinion that students should not be allowed to refuse an assignment just because they don't like it or find it tedious or boring, and that this is in fact a "character issue."

 

It's not really about whether someone approves of the public school system or does "school at home" or whatever; I was just trying to make the point that Karen's DD's refusal to do what was "expected" of her in a writing class may reflect not just her learning style, but also a refusal in principle to compromise. For some people, myself included, just going through the motions to give the teacher/school what they want (what Ester called "dumbing down for the sake of performance") is not something we're very willing to do, even if we're capable of it.

 

Jackie

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It's not really about whether someone approves of the public school system or does "school at home" or whatever; I was just trying to make the point that Karen's DD's refusal to do what was "expected" of her in a writing class may reflect not just her learning style, but also a refusal in principle to compromise. For some people, myself included, just going through the motions to give the teacher/school what they want (what Ester called "dumbing down for the sake of performance") is not something we're very willing to do, even if we're capable of it.

 

Jackie

 

A "refusal in principle to compromise" can be difficult later in life. My husband, the corporate guy, works on a team. My son, the college student, had group assignments. I was in recent years the chair of a non-profit board of directors. That role was all about consensus building--which means compromise.

 

And compromise does not come naturally to many teens. It is a good skill to learn--both how to compromise and how to build group consensus.

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A "refusal in principle to compromise" can be difficult later in life. My husband, the corporate guy, works on a team. My son, the college student, had group assignments. I was in recent years the chair of a non-profit board of directors. That role was all about consensus building--which means compromise.

 

And compromise does not come naturally to many teens. It is a good skill to learn--both how to compromise and how to build group consensus.

 

I am very solidly in agreement with Jackie's posts above, and completely understand and support where she's coming from. I was the teen who refused to do things 'just because' and even had occasion to go to the principal's office to argue about the absurdity of certain rules and state my case for why I shouldn't have to follow them. I was happy to compromise on points that were explained to me in a way that actually made sense and I could support, for what that's worth.

 

I have also worked on, and lead, many corporate teams, served on boards of directors, and am generally seen as a strong leader and valuable team player. I have been able to play a role in bringing about positive changes in an organization on more than one occasion. I believe this largely comes from my ability to refuse to compromise on my ideals just because some authority says it should be a certain way, rather than through some experience of learning to follow along and do what I've been told regardless of whether or not it made sense to me.

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I am very solidly in agreement with Jackie's posts above, and completely understand and support where she's coming from. I was the teen who refused to do things 'just because' and even had occasion to go to the principal's office to argue about the absurdity of certain rules and state my case for why I shouldn't have to follow them. I was happy to compromise on points that were explained to me in a way that actually made sense and I could support, for what that's worth.

 

I have also worked on, and lead, many corporate teams, served on boards of directors, and am generally seen as a strong leader and valuable team player. I have been able to play a role in bringing about positive changes in an organization on more than one occasion. I believe this largely comes from my ability to refuse to compromise on my ideals just because some authority says it should be a certain way, rather than through some experience of learning to follow along and do what I've been told regardless of whether or not it made sense to me.

 

I was the girl waiting to see the principal after she was finished with you! And I am also one who greatly appreciates innovation and new perspectives. But I thnk you have hit upon something with rational explanations. We all want to know why.

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A "refusal in principle to compromise" can be difficult later in life. My husband, the corporate guy, works on a team. My son, the college student, had group assignments. I was in recent years the chair of a non-profit board of directors. That role was all about consensus building--which means compromise.

 

And compromise does not come naturally to many teens. It is a good skill to learn--both how to compromise and how to build group consensus.

I'm not talking about never compromising or being unable to work with others. I've worked in both academic and corporate settings where there was a lot of compromise and teamwork, and I frequently ended up in the role of mediator or peacemaker, trying to bring opposing sides together.

 

What I was talking about in the previous post was refusing to do something I thought was stupid or pointless, or to compromise my principles for no reason other than "that's the way it's usually done around here." It's about expecting to be given a sensible, meaningful reason why something should be done the way it's done. It has nothing to do with "getting my own way" or "always being right" or refusing to work with others.

 

Jackie

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I am very solidly in agreement with Jackie's posts above, and completely understand and support where she's coming from. I was the teen who refused to do things 'just because' and even had occasion to go to the principal's office to argue about the absurdity of certain rules and state my case for why I shouldn't have to follow them. I was happy to compromise on points that were explained to me in a way that actually made sense and I could support, for what that's worth.

 

I have also worked on, and lead, many corporate teams, served on boards of directors, and am generally seen as a strong leader and valuable team player. I have been able to play a role in bringing about positive changes in an organization on more than one occasion. I believe this largely comes from my ability to refuse to compromise on my ideals just because some authority says it should be a certain way, rather than through some experience of learning to follow along and do what I've been told regardless of whether or not it made sense to me.

I should have checked the next page before I replied, because then I could have just clicked :iagree:

 

And I was the girl in the principal's office armed with a copy of state regulations pointing out that there was NO requirement that students attend HS for 4 years, that English and PE were the only subjects that required 4 credits and that I could pick those up over the summer, that "no one has done that before" is not a valid a reason, and that they had no legal grounds for refusing to let me graduate in 3 years. :D

 

Jackie

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I should have checked the next page before I replied, because then I could have just clicked :iagree:

 

And I was the girl in the principal's office armed with a copy of state regulations pointing out that there was NO requirement that students attend HS for 4 years, that English and PE were the only subjects that required 4 credits and that I could pick those up over the summer, that "no one has done that before" is not a valid a reason, and that they had no legal grounds for refusing to let me graduate in 3 years. :D

 

Jackie

 

:confused: This discussion is leaving me completely perplexed.

 

I suspect that definitely all of us older homeschoolers were the ones that looked at the school system and the government and said, "They are my kids and I'll educate them how I want to." Even today's homeschoolers do that to a certain degree......they simply have more support behind them instead of being on your own.

 

I am now lost as to what the "issue" is in this discussion.

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I'm not talking about never compromising or being unable to work with others. I've worked in both academic and corporate settings where there was a lot of compromise and teamwork, and I frequently ended up in the role of mediator or peacemaker, trying to bring opposing sides together.

 

What I was talking about in the previous post was refusing to do something I thought was stupid or pointless, or to compromise my principles for no reason other than "that's the way it's usually done around here." It's about expecting to be given a sensible, meaningful reason why something should be done the way it's done. It has nothing to do with "getting my own way" or "always being right" or refusing to work with others.

 

Jackie

 

:iagree:

Yes, I think it is not only possible, but necessary, to distinguish between the kind of refusal to compromise we are discussing and being able to work with others.

 

Ironically, in both co-op and the private school dd was actually one of the people most able to work agreeably with others on group assignments, to be nonjudgmental and helpful in soliciting everyone's ideas; and in fact she often took the lead in helping forge agreements about divisions of work. She's the youngest child who was asked by her riding teacher to do a work/study internship, which requires not only bonding with and working with the horses but with people of many different ages and abilities.

 

I've said more than once in this thread, as well as in others, that dd is in every other way almost troublingly accommodating to others and eager to please. So it's not a particularly apt or useful thing to lump together such hugely varying kinds of refusal to compromise as some people are trying to do, when the discussion has clearly been revolving around one very specific, very narrow set of circumstances.

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:confused: This discussion is leaving me completely perplexed.

 

I suspect that definitely all of us older homeschoolers were the ones that looked at the school system and the government and said, "They are my kids and I'll educate them how I want to." Even today's homeschoolers do that to a certain degree......they simply have more support behind them instead of being on your own.

 

I am now lost as to what the "issue" is in this discussion.

 

:confused::confused:

 

I am baffled as well......maybe we are just getting old. Sigh....

Faithe

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:confused::confused:

 

I am baffled as well......maybe we are just getting old. Sigh....

Faithe

 

:lol:

If you go back to page 17, it actually is flowing organically from there. Or at least it is for me!

Enjoying the ride :auto:

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A "refusal in principle to compromise" can be difficult later in life. My husband, the corporate guy, works on a team. My son, the college student, had group assignments. I was in recent years the chair of a non-profit board of directors. That role was all about consensus building--which means compromise.

 

And compromise does not come naturally to many teens. It is a good skill to learn--both how to compromise and how to build group consensus.

 

I can't tell you how much I agree with this!

 

I had a college professor at a Christian school mention this to me within the last few years. She said that one common weakness among her college math students that were homeschooled was that many of them just don't seem to comprehend that they have to jump through the same hoops as every one else in the math classes. They don't get exemptions from doing work just because they feel they should. I need to go back and ask her about it sometime--how she arrived at that conclusion--but I found it telling.

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Yoo-hoo, Lisa: your PM box is full. When you get a moment, make some space for me!

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I am very solidly in agreement with Jackie's posts above, and completely understand and support where she's coming from. I was the teen who refused to do things 'just because' and even had occasion to go to the principal's office to argue about the absurdity of certain rules and state my case for why I shouldn't have to follow them. I was happy to compromise on points that were explained to me in a way that actually made sense and I could support, for what that's worth.

 

I have also worked on, and lead, many corporate teams, served on boards of directors, and am generally seen as a strong leader and valuable team player. I have been able to play a role in bringing about positive changes in an organization on more than one occasion. I believe this largely comes from my ability to refuse to compromise on my ideals just because some authority says it should be a certain way, rather than through some experience of learning to follow along and do what I've been told regardless of whether or not it made sense to me.

 

Yes, and? So am I. That is my life. Learning to take steps and write stuff down didn't hinder me. It actually aided me. It helped me show other people that there was more value int he way I was doing it. And, being able to write it out gave them a more concrete way to enact change.

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While I think most people here would understand why I didn't want to spend 9th grade reading books about sports, or why I would resent having to do pages and pages of math homework when I got the concept in 5 minutes in class, I believe that many people would think it was wrong for me to simply refuse to do it. Many have expressed the opinion that students should not be allowed to refuse an assignment just because they don't like it or find it tedious or boring, and that this is in fact a "character issue."

 

It's not really about whether someone approves of the public school system or does "school at home" or whatever; I was just trying to make the point that Karen's DD's refusal to do what was "expected" of her in a writing class may reflect not just her learning style, but also a refusal in principle to compromise. For some people, myself included, just going through the motions to give the teacher/school what they want (what Ester called "dumbing down for the sake of performance") is not something we're very willing to do, even if we're capable of it.

 

Jackie

 

But them why would we as homeschoolers, who are the very teachers of our children, make our kids write pages and pages of 'math facts' (it's always math that's the bad guy, innit? So sorry) when we saw that they understood the process and correctly computated it?

 

I didn't refuse to do it, I just DIDN'T do it. But that was PS, and I'm not a PS teacher and my children aren't going there. I would hope that if MY kid refused to do work, that I would either be quick to understand why, or ahead of him to not let it get to that point.

 

Maturity enables you to jump through the hoops. Maturity enables you to understand WHY the hoops are there. Some are stupid, yes, but they document work and leave a trail for others to follow by.

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What I was talking about in the previous post was refusing to do something I thought was stupid or pointless, or to compromise my principles for no reason other than "that's the way it's usually done around here." It's about expecting to be given a sensible, meaningful reason why something should be done the way it's done. Jackie

 

But Jackie, sometimes what seems stupid or pointless just appears to me to be that way because I can only see part of the picture. Would you allow that sometimes it's not the student's place to judge but to accept the properly exercised authority of the teacher who is leading them? The majority of times, a teacher should be able to explain and give the student a reasonable answer, but sometimes it isn't the time or the right situation. In those cases, the student needs to be willing to follow trusted leadership, unless what is being asked violates a moral principle.

 

I will also say that I am homeschooling because I knew that the way my child would be taught and socialized would not fit if he had the LDs that run in the family. Therefore I chose something different for him. But I expect him, in general, to follow my lead and to question appropriately (with an attitude of respect). If we can't take time for a discussion, he knows to go with the flow until things slow down. He also know that he has the freedom to call a halt if there is a show-stopper that I haven't noticed.

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Learning to take steps and write stuff down didn't hinder me. It actually aided me. It helped me show other people that there was more value int he way I was doing it. And, being able to write it out gave them a more concrete way to enact change.

 

I'm trying to understand your logic here. Help me see where I'm not following: If -- you don't say so specifically but I'm assuming, and perhaps here's where I'm wrong -- you think in a VSL way and arrive at a solution in the instantaneous and non-incremental mode that has been described and discussed in this thread, then how could writing down incremental steps show people the value of something that did NOT occur in a sequence of steps and CANNOT accurately be described as happening that way?

 

If you show them, "Here are the steps you could take to arrive at the same solution I arrived at very differently, WITHOUT steps," how does that help them appreciate that there's "more value in the way [you were] doing it"?

 

If you did process and arrive at your answer in a sequential, linear, step-by-step manner, but just DIFFERENT STEPS than the textbook or standard explanation would usually use, then that's not the kind of difference that has been the subject of the thread.

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I'm trying to understand your logic here. Help me see where I'm not following: If -- you don't say so specifically but I'm assuming, and perhaps here's where I'm wrong -- you think in a VSL way and arrive at a solution in the instantaneous and non-incremental mode that has been described and discussed in this thread, then how could writing down incremental steps show people the value of something that did NOT occur in a sequence of steps and CANNOT accurately be described as happening that way?

 

If you show them, "Here are the steps you could take to arrive at the same solution I arrived at very differently, WITHOUT steps," how does that help them appreciate that there's "more value in the way [you were] doing it"?

 

If you did process and arrive at your answer in a sequential, linear, step-by-step manner, but just DIFFERENT STEPS than the textbook or standard explanation would usually use, then that's not the kind of difference that has been the subject of the thread.

 

You work it backwards. Have someone check it to make sure the process came out the same, tweak where necessary.

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Wow, the thread has grown.

 

First of all, I would like to thank Karen for answering my questions, as well as everyone else who shared their insights and experiences. I appreciate it greatly, it has given me some food for thought meanwhile. :001_smile:

It's not really about whether someone approves of the public school system or does "school at home" or whatever; I was just trying to make the point that Karen's DD's refusal to do what was "expected" of her in a writing class may reflect not just her learning style, but also a refusal in principle to compromise. For some people, myself included, just going through the motions to give the teacher/school what they want (what Ester called "dumbing down for the sake of performance") is not something we're very willing to do, even if we're capable of it.

 

Jackie

Would you not agree that it is, in a way, a form of "street-smartness"?

I view it that way: I want to teach my children the ability to step aside, calculate what is in their best overall interest to do, and to understand that there are sitautions in life when one has to compromise, or one has a choice between two evils and has to choose the lesser one.

 

Non-compromising is in my view reserved for truly tough life situations, for BIG things: yes, there are things in life one ought (not) to do even at great personal costs (including, in the most dire scenario, one's life), things on which one should not be willing to compromise, though may our children never be in a situation of having to make that choice. But to extend the same uncompromising principle to sweating the small stuff? It has to be a good, calculated decision which takes into account all aspects of the problem. Sometimes it is worth it to rebel, sometimes the situation is "baked" enough already and it only takes a small push to change it for the better - other times, though, I find that the sign of a mature person can also be a sort of "peace" with the establishment, even if it is not fully to their liking or preference. I believe, I really do, that people should have personal principles - but at the same time I do not believe they should be "slaves" of their own principles or unable to judge when it is in their interest to stick to them or not.

 

That is why, in a way, I do view the "pure" unwillingness to conform to some standards, the willingness to sacrifice one's prospects (in terms of GPA, neatly finished grades for not fullfilling formal obligations and so worth) for the sake of short term pleasure of doing things your way, as a lack of that "street-smartness". The whole thing reminds me a bit of the principle of deterred gratification, only in a bit changed form: in this form it is not asked that you give up on your way of doing things, that you reshape your mental structures, that you stop being your own self, but only that (presumably, being able to) you neatly fulfill obligations the way it is asked, for the sake of examinations or formalities, or other things which are long term in your interest (grades, clear communication with others, good work atmosphere, whatnot), but also show a kind of respect (towards the institution, people who you work with, etc.).

 

Believe me, I have a thread of rebellion woven into my nature :D, so I know how frustrating those compromises can be and how deep can be a certain feeling of humiliation in front of yourself for having given up on your way. When I was younger I could be so inflexible about little things in life, formalities, my little - and, from this perspective, quite silly - routines, but I was still gently pushed, and with time I learned, into the realization that being stiff-necked is reserved for big things in life. Now, education is a big thing in my view (and I am totally stiff-necked about many things about it), but here we are not talking so much about education per se as much as about some formalities regarding testing, giving the kind of expected output, etc., which in my view is really a kind of adaptation that is often needed, but should maybe not be such a big deal (again, I presume the ability to do so). It can be very difficult for kids, or for particular personalities, so it does take a certain combination of being gentle and firm with them, but I find that quite often by teaching kids that there is a time and a place to conform too (or, if applicable, to successfully negotiate a kind of middle road with the other side - not always possible in the academic context though) we are essentially only teaching them being "street-smart", knowing how to manipulate life circumstances into their advantage and so forth - all of which, in my view, are life skills, even if we leave aside the whole "character" issue.

 

And after all, even if it is difficult... and I know it is because I have/had that type of "difficult" personality too, to an extent... still it is possible to do difficult things in life too, or things we are not inclined to do, in the "street-smart" way which is maybe not gratifying for you personally, or in that moment, but has its value: in "peace" with the "establishment" within which you learn, in your personal inner peace of lesser struggles, in the long run in your prospects, etc. After all, these kids will be in high ed institutions one day, work in all kinds of settings, it is a skill that is reasonable to learn IMO. Many of them probably can learn how to be "street-smart" in this aspect too, right?

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But them why would we as homeschoolers, who are the very teachers of our children, make our kids write pages and pages of 'math facts' (it's always math that's the bad guy, innit? So sorry) when we saw that they understood the process and correctly computated it?

 

 

Perhaps because our processing styles differ so dramatically from our children's that it isn't immediately obvious for every logical/sequential/linear parent that a child who just writes down a single number to answer a complicated problem can truly understand what he or she is doing.

 

I know it took me a while to understand what was probably going on in dd's mind because it was so drastically different from my own way of understanding and working.

 

Perhaps also because we think the kids need to do certain things in order to "learn to communicate," a reason that's been given in this thread. Perhaps because we are confounded at the gap between the level of their intelligence, which is very clear, and the level of their performance in a mode that asks them to basically do all their work in a kind of mental translation.

 

If you don't do or haven't ever done anything like this with your kids, they're extraordinarily lucky.

 

But I think a great many of us, including myself, have fumbled around and asked for things from our VSL or otherwise very different thinking kids with the best of intentions, because we didn't understand what was going on in their minds. That's why I think the thread has been so valuable for a number of people; it's given them a window to understand the differences and to see the why behind areas in which they couldn't previously see: why their kid just couldn't do it, just couldn't jump through the hoops, just couldn't suck it up, couldn't understand the book, couldn't do it the way the textbook said.

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Non-compromising is in my view reserved for truly tough life situations, for BIG things: yes, there are things in life one ought (not) to do even at great personal costs (including, in the most dire scenario, one's life), things on which one should not be willing to compromise, though may our children never be in a situation of having to make that choice. But to extend the same uncompromising principle to sweating the small stuff? It has to be a good, calculated decision which takes into account all aspects of the problem. Sometimes it is worth it to rebel, sometimes the situation is "baked" enough already and it only takes a small push to change it for the better - other times, though, I find that the sign of a mature person can also be a sort of "peace" with the establishment, even if it is not fully to their liking or preference. I believe, I really do, that people should have personal principles - but at the same time I do not believe they should be "slaves" of their own principles or unable to judge when it is in their interest to stick to them or not.

 

 

I fully believe these are truly small issues for you and yours, Ester Maria, and you are very fortunate that they are, because it enables your family to go through academic life without the kinds of dilemmas Jackie, Jenn, myself, and a number of others face.

 

But what you're just not getting is that these are NOT "small stuff" for people like my dd. It is NOT a matter of "liking or preference." You keep using those words when Jackie and I keep trying to demonstrate the ways in which at some deep level the kinds of things we are talking about are fundamental, unavoidable, unchangeable, issues of wiring for our kids. I understand that you see hoops that it does your kids no harm to jump through. It's all "small stuff" to YOU. I get it.

 

But you still don't see the obverse: that for dd, the writing situation, for instance, was indeed the biggest kind of issue -- "truly tough" FOR HER, stuff of the biggest kind, agonizing, impacting her health and her sense of self even as she desperately WANTED to be able to jump through those hoops, do things the way her school laid out.

 

Do the consequences of following required conventions that go against dd's very intellectual nature, which I listed in a couple of posts, seem overly dramatic to you, exaggerated? If they do -- which I can understand -- you are still immersed in your own world view, operating on the assumptions that come with your own wiring, and not able to see or understand the view from the position of one who, to put it in literary theoretical terms, is "the Other."

 

Again, this is not a criticism of you personally. It took me YEARS, and the help of a neuropsych, psychologists, cognitive research and MRI studies, and most of all, watching and working with dd daily, to understand dd to the degree that I now do -- which is even now incomplete. I don't think a few hours' meditation about something with which you have no true experience is going to do it. That's why I keep mentioning that leap of faith. No amount of logical thinking is going to give you the insight needed to really grasp that how things look to you is not how they look to someone like my daughter.

 

Neither of you is "wrong" in any way. For you and your daughters, some of the things people describe in these threads are truly and honestly "small stuff." For mine, and for other kids like her, that is not true, at all. Wiring is different than preferences and likings.

 

I do appreciate your efforts to understand. I don't know whether divulging some pretty personal stories about dd has been the right thing to do or not, given some of the recent comments (not yours). But if my stories have been useful for anybody, I'm happy about that. And the thread has been very useful for me too.

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But Jackie, sometimes what seems stupid or pointless just appears to me to be that way because I can only see part of the picture.

I honestly can't think of anything that I thought was stupid or pointless at the time, that in hindsight appears any less stupid or pointless. If anything, looking back on my HS experince, it seems even more stupid and pointless to me than it did then.

 

Would you allow that sometimes it's not the student's place to judge but to accept the properly exercised authority of the teacher who is leading them?

I don't think any teacher has any authority over me other than what I choose to give them. I have always seen my relationship to teachers as a sort of contract: you tell me what you expect me to do for X grade, and I'll decide if I want to do it for that grade.

 

The majority of times, a teacher should be able to explain and give the student a reasonable answer, but sometimes it isn't the time or the right situation. In those cases, the student needs to be willing to follow trusted leadership, unless what is being asked violates a moral principle.

In my entire HS career I had *one* teacher who I felt earned a position of "trusted leadership," and she never gave me a single assignment I considered pointless or stupid. She was actually really flexible and responsive to her students. She wrote me a glowing letter of recommendation for college and I corresponded with her for several years afterward.

 

The only person I would ever be "willing to follow" without a darn good reason would be a police officer, and he'd have to show me his badge first.

 

Jackie

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I have always seen my relationship to teachers as a sort of contract: you tell me what you expect me to do for X grade, and I'll decide if I want to do it for that grade.

That is how I function, too. From both sides of the cathedra: as a student and as a professor. I like clear expectations first, the rest being the student's choice - but with full acceptance of the consequences. No "crying" for a grade later because their parents vetoed skiing if they do not pull an A or whatever, so now, at the end of semester, they are begging for extra opportunities to pad up the grade (these things actually happen at schools LOL). I like responsibility from both sides. :001_smile:

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I fully believe these are truly small issues for you and yours, Ester Maria, and you are very fortunate that they are, because it enables your family to go through academic life without the kinds of dilemmas Jackie, Jenn, myself, and a number of others face.

 

But what you're just not getting is that these are NOT "small stuff" for people like my dd. It is NOT a matter of "liking or preference." You keep using those words when Jackie and I keep trying to demonstrate the ways in which at some deep level the kinds of things we are talking about are fundamental, unavoidable, unchangeable, issues of wiring for our kids. I understand that you see hoops that it does your kids no harm to jump through. It's all "small stuff" to YOU. I get it.

 

But you still don't see the obverse: that for dd, the writing situation, for instance, was indeed the biggest kind of issue -- "truly tough" FOR HER, stuff of the biggest kind, agonizing, impacting her health and her sense of self even as she desperately WANTED to be able to jump through those hoops, do things the way her school laid out.

 

Do the consequences of following required conventions that go against dd's very intellectual nature, which I listed in a couple of posts, seem overly dramatic to you, exaggerated? If they do -- which I can understand -- you are still immersed in your own world view, operating on the assumptions that come with your own wiring, and not able to see or understand the view from the position of one who, to put it in literary theoretical terms, is "the Other."

 

Again, this is not a criticism of you personally. It took me YEARS, and the help of a neuropsych, psychologists, cognitive research and MRI studies, and most of all, watching and working with dd daily, to understand dd to the degree that I now do -- which is even now incomplete. I don't think a few hours' meditation about something with which you have no true experience is going to do it. That's why I keep mentioning that leap of faith. No amount of logical thinking is going to give you the insight needed to really grasp that how things look to you is not how they look to someone like my daughter.

 

Neither of you is "wrong" in any way. For you and your daughters, some of the things people describe in these threads are truly and honestly "small stuff." For mine, and for other kids like her, that is not true, at all. Wiring is different than preferences and likings.

 

I do appreciate your efforts to understand. I don't know whether divulging some pretty personal stories about dd has been the right thing to do or not, given some of the recent comments (not yours). But if my stories have been useful for anybody, I'm happy about that. And the thread has been very useful for me too.

 

:iagree: and your stories have been extremely helpful. Thank you so much for sharing.

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That is why, in a way, I do view the "pure" unwillingness to conform to some standards, the willingness to sacrifice one's prospects (in terms of GPA, neatly finished grades for not fullfilling formal obligations and so worth) for the sake of short term pleasure of doing things your way, as a lack of that "street-smartness".

I consider myself pretty "street-smart" :D and I think I did calculate the risks and benefits. I didn't really care about getting a 4.0, and many of my classes were honors classes, which were weighted a full point, so even a C in those classes was worth 3.0. I ended up with a GPA around 3.4, I think. I also knew that I tested well and I scored in the top 1% on the PSAT and SAT, and was a National Merit Scholar. I had a glowing recommendation from my creative writing teacher and wrote a killer application essay. I had no trouble getting into an excellent small LAC with a full-ride NM Scholarship, so I got to make my little protests about mindless busy work and stupid assignments without really sacrificing anything in terms of my "prospects."

 

Non-compromising is in my view reserved for truly tough life situations, for BIG things... But to extend the same uncompromising principle to sweating the small stuff? It has to be a good, calculated decision which takes into account all aspects of the problem. ... I believe, I really do, that people should have personal principles - but at the same time I do not believe they should be "slaves" of their own principles or unable to judge when it is in their interest to stick to them or not.

I'm not sure how I would break things down into categories of "big things" and "little things." Let me give you an example and you can tell me if you would consider that "little" or "big" and how you would have responded to it: My 12th grade English teacher (ex-military) believed there was only one correct interpretation of any literary work. I knew that in order to get an A on any literary analysis paper, I would have to parrot what the teacher considered the "correct" interpretation, even if I completely disagreed with it and thought it missed the whole point of the piece. So I had a choice between giving the teacher what she wanted for an easy A, or writing what I believed to be true and taking a B or C. I invariably went for the second choice (and no, this was not a teacher who felt that as long as you could defend your position and the paper was well-written, it was OK to disagree with her, lol). What would you have done?

 

Jackie

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You work it backwards. Have someone check it to make sure the process came out the same, tweak where necessary.

 

Sorry, still don't get it. Do you work it backwards after the fact, after the answer "appears" or "emerges out of chaos" as some VSL people here have described, and as happens with my dd?

 

If that's so, then I don't get why representing steps that don't occur in your original thinking proves the better value of your way (i.e. the non-step way) to other people.

 

Or are there actually incremental steps in your arriving at a particular answer, but you do those steps out of conventional order, so to speak?

 

If that's so, would you characterize that as non-linear, VSL, or ???? What's different to you about the way other people do things/solve problems, and how large does that difference appear to you?

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OFF-TOPIC, not related to different learners, but to rebellion (of any learners)

:rant:

I'm not sure how I would break things down into categories of "big things" and "little things." Let me give you an example and you can tell me if you would consider that "little" or "big" and how you would have responded to it: My 12th grade English teacher (ex-military) believed there was only one correct interpretation of any literary work. I knew that in order to get an A on any literary analysis paper, I would have to parrot what the teacher considered the "correct" interpretation, even if I completely disagreed with it and thought it missed the whole point of the piece. So I had a choice between giving the teacher what she wanted for an easy A, or writing what I believed to be true and taking a B or C. I invariably went for the second choice (and no, this was not a teacher who felt that as long as you could defend your position and the paper was well-written, it was OK to disagree with her, lol). What would you have done?

 

Jackie

I would have written my analysis, she would have given me a C, if it had affected my final grade for the class I would have filed a complaint on the grade to whichever authority was there for such cases and I would have request a comprehensive exam with commission oversight. :tongue_smilie:

 

That is how problems of that type were being solved by us, LOL. If the work was academically acceptable and the only grounds on which it was refused or given an unusually low grade were personal dislike, and you had enough chutzpah to actually go through the above procedure (to request commission is practically an academic and maybe even a social suicide if you are not really, truly 100% sure of your position, because each member of the commission will pretty much attempt to back up your professor as much as possible rather than you - so you better be sure that what you claim is true because then they start nitpicking things and it may actually turn into your disadvantage... I know people to whom that happened, so not only their B did not become an A, it actually became a C after a thorough examination lege artis), you could alter your grade. However, I doubt a single paper could have had such a weight in the first place - there would have been probably been exams, quizzes, whatnot?

 

You sound a lot like me, by the way. :tongue_smilie: I also never particularly cared about GPAs and things of the kind, caffeinizing myself with friends was often a greater priority than writing math homework and so forth. But like you, I was 100% mentally calm about the consequences - I knew I was playing with fire and might get burned and there might be long term consequences (yes, I got into college, but what if I wanted to study abroad or take scholarships for that which required more perfect GPAs? what if at that time I did not, but gave up college in my country and thought about that option after some time, having seen a totally cool scholarship, and then found myself beating my head against the wall for the carelessness of youth which closed doors for me? what if... you get the picture - it is generally preferable to have "clear documents", academically, just in case).

 

So both you and I were not really "rebels" in the typical sense of the word, we had calculated our situations very well, but - I hate saying this because it will sound arrogant - quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi. Not everyone can "afford" to behave that way and to play with that fire. Our situations are not something to "romanticize" as - look, we were smart, we hated being mentally tortured by the idiots, we drew our line and said, this is how far we are willing to go, if you tell me which church must be my favorite one for an A in Art History, nope, not doing it, and if you substract my absences from my grade, well substract away, because I intend not to present myself too often in your class. For many people such a choice may be a hindrance on the long run. Sure, there are most always "holes" in the system, all sorts of ways to bridge things (though in the US a LOT more than by us), but one still can mess things up and force themselves on either a lot longer way to the same goal or to even give it up, and it could have been so simple. Then there are also people who are so freaking good that they will be wanted and can basically allow themselves to ditch the system, not perform well and still count with being sought after as that a bit crazy, but wonderfully lucid expert for whom the system just did not work. Really, there are such people, on all levels of education. But would you really be willing to put your money on it and to bet that you are that one case amongst God knows how many who did not manage it, and whose "arrogance", for the lack of better expression, did come to bite them afterward?

 

What I advocate is a sort of security - security which for most people also extends to a sort of mental peace in knowing that they did their best shot, they did what they were required, maybe it was unpleasant and a torture to do it, but they did it, they did all they possibly could do, and if they get screwed up along the way and things still do not work themselves out, the part of the "blame" which is on them is minimal, they can look at themselves in the mirror honestly and say "it maybe did not work out, but I did my part". I cannot tell you, Jackie, how many people I know who struggle because they cannot do so. It is so sad and miserable and their adult lives are filled with resentment, "would have been"s, the feeling that somebody - their parents - was responsible for slapping some sense into them and forcing them to finish those degrees / finish them well to be able to apply for those jobs / whatnot and did not do their job when needed. A lot of really intelligent, wonderful people, but who just lacked that click of maturity, who just could not estimate the situation for themselves to know not to take that risk. It was awful for them to watch good scholarship and good jobs being given to less intelligent or even less interested people, but who were simply more hard-working and more capable of sucking it up and just doing it. I suppose part of the reason why I parent the way I do in this respect, why I have such a no-nonsense approach regarding formalities and "clean official papers" (as "clean" as the child is capable) is because I know these people, and I know myself, and I know what a problematic personality I have and have had to grow out of - in fact am still working on growing out of, it is a constant struggle, I often wish I was more docile and dear, with less controversial views, more "with the flow" of the mainstream, etc. - and I know very well what was the luck factor in my life too around those choices, and how easy it is to stop being "grounded" in your capacities if you have no concrete accomplishments in the official context to back them up with.

 

And again, there are people for whom it will ultimately not be relevant, and even for those for whom it will be, a random C never really ruined anyone, but I do not think it is good to take as a *general approach* towards things that that is acceptable, because it is easy to fall into that stream then, take things too easy, and have it not end up well when it could have, and life circumstances change too, so the option of redoing things later may not always be an option later, and life takes its flow with time, and people attend to more immediate matters and in the course of all of that, grand dreams fly right out there through the window... There are a lot of bitter disappointments very intelligent people have had because of these things. I think gifted people are especially susceptible to that, because many of them incidentally happen to have that problematic, non-comformist personality which is almost like a nature's way to work against them and secure a more "fair" territory for the "life race" LOL. So while others struggle with academics, they struggle with mastering themselves.

 

And yes, I know that ultimately, even with good records and really working on your personality maximally, there are no guarantees, it is always a risk, but I like to do what is in my ability to do to "clear" the official path rather than to "obfuscate" it unless I am really, truly, beyond reasonable doubt, sure that I will make it otherwise. Like I said, I do not deny that there are such cases, but as a general advice, I do not recommend it because overestimating oneself is very easy, and many people, especially at that age, seem to be stuck in that illusion that the world needs them and will seek them, not the other way round. The reality is, 99% of people will have to adapt, rather than be adapted to because they are brilliant. And even if they are brilliant, to get to the point of being adapted to, there are many hoops to jump through and for most of those, who shoot really high, it will involve not only having to function, but really having to function exceptionally well withing often rigidly formalized structures of higher education to be recognized and clear themselves further paths.

:rant:

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Karen, maybe it was not clear - my previous reply before yours to Jackie was based on the refusal in principle to conform (maybe I should have bolded it, though), so I took that moment in isolation from the specific circumstances / wirings / most of the context of this thread.

 

However, you hit a magic word with that "the Other". I get it. Yes. I mean no, I do not get the neurological basis or the different wiring, obviously, but I do get what amount of mental torture things can be. Literaure... I was a hopeless classicist and then they forcefed me with me with women, class, modernisms and postmodernisms. I totally got it intellectually, I never had conceptual problems with it, but the visceral reaction to that, that refusal of the mind to read that, let alone to write on complimentary notes about it or adopt approaches which were so "wrong" in my view, was just too much for me sometimes. Anything would have been preferable to enduring it. In my worst moments of crisis I considered throwing the baby with the babywater, giving up on whole university thing and I almost started intoxicating myself to finish things because I felt I could not possibly endure that in a sober mode. Once I snapped because I. just. could. not. A total collapse. (On a side note, I do believe that one solid collapse of the kind is something most people need to mature, and not only intellectually, but it is an awful experience at the time.)

 

I always viewed it as a personality issue *for me*, though. I did manage to appease the system, though even having got out of it I still retained many of my views. And much of my "extremism", I am afraid, LOL. :blush: But that is already way off topic... I just wanted to say that, maybe, in some twisted way, I can relate to an experience of mental torture and not wanting to do something certain way even if one theoretically could do it, but at the expense which is a combination of sheer torture and a particular cruel feeling of intellectual dishonesty on their part, doing what they do not honestly believe to be the best way around something.

 

Regarding that leap of faith: I do give you the full parental benefit of the doubt. I do believe you that you are doing what you find the best and that your judgment in these matters is the best judgment anyone can have in your situation. I do not presume to claim what I "would" do if I were you, as far as I know, I might be doing exactly the same thing - we can never know - even if much of what I write may be clumsy and bending itself to infer a kind of presumption behind it (not that you said anything along those lines, this is just my personal disclaimer I wanted to add in case it was maybe not clear in a few of my posts). Your insights and experiences have been very helpful to me to at least try to fathom a different way of functioning than my own and I am thankful that you shared them with us, especially in light of the fact that is hard to talk about our children, probably even harder when "bombarded" with so many questions from all sides. In any case all of this was very, very interesting for me - barring my previous post which is an unrelated rant (as these types of threads tend to end up in all sorts of rabbit trails), I did my best to try to get a glimpse into what you describe.

 

Off my soapbox now, this has got too personal anyway (for me at least).

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So both you and I were not really "rebels" in the typical sense of the word, we had calculated our situations very well, but - I hate saying this because it will sound arrogant - quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi. Not everyone can "afford" to behave that way and to play with that fire. Our situations are not something to "romanticize" as - look, we were smart, we hated being mentally tortured by the idiots, we drew our line and said, this is how far we are willing to go, if you tell me which church must be my favorite one for an A in Art History, nope, not doing it, and if you substract my absences from my grade, well substract away, because I intend not to present myself too often in your class. For many people such a choice may be a hindrance on the long run...

 

... I cannot tell you, Jackie, how many people I know who struggle because they cannot do so. It is so sad and miserable and their adult lives are filled with resentment, "would have been"s, the feeling that somebody - their parents - was responsible for slapping some sense into them and forcing them to finish those degrees / finish them well to be able to apply for those jobs / whatnot and did not do their job when needed. A lot of really intelligent, wonderful people, but who just lacked that click of maturity, who just could not estimate the situation for themselves to know not to take that risk.

Oh I wouldn't recommend the route I took to someone else; it was the right route for me, but I understand that it could totally backfire for someone else. I think there's a big difference, though, between someone who doesn't want to do the assigned work because they'd rather be texting their friends or hanging out at the mall, and someone who resists doing the work because it's just pointless busy work and what they crave is actually more challenging, meaningful work. It's not that I didn't understand or value the security that might have been provided by a 4.0, it's that I valued the other things more. I grew up in a suburban neighborhood where everyone was all about "keeping up with the Joneses," and girls were obsessed with the right brands of clothes and who had the cutest boyfriend, and it all seemed so incredibly shallow and artificial and pointless that I became kind of obsessed with finding things that felt real and deep and true to me — and for me that was mostly literature. Being stuck with a baseball coach for an English teacher, who didn't even try to teach anything or assign any real books, felt like such an injustice! I was craving someone to talk to about Kafka and Dostoevsky and Hesse, and this guy was handing me pulp novels about sports and WWII. So for me, to go along with that charade of an English class, would have felt like selling my soul and agreeing to live in this world where everything was fake and shallow — and that was just not worth a 4.0 GPA to me. So I think I did have the maturity to make that decision, because I already knew what I wanted out of life on a much deeper level than just "a college degree and a nice career." I wanted a life that was true to my beliefs, and as devoid of bullsh#t as I could possibly make it. And I was very willing to make sacrifices for that; I was not naive about the consequences, and if it had not worked out I would never have dreamed of blaming my parents or my teachers or anyone else. I had a very firm sense that I was responsible for my own choices, and was more than willing to live with the consequences of them.

 

My kids are much less rebellious than I was, but even if they were in PS and they were like me, I wouldn't worry about them, because they are also insatiably curious and driven, and even if they took the same route I did, I know they'd get wherever they want to go in the end. They're smart kids, each with a pretty strong sense of self, and I really don't worry whether doing this subject or that subject a bit differently, or teaching essay writing in 6th grade or 9th grade, or whatever, will prevent them from getting into college or having a career. In addition to my own experience (and DH's), I know lots of people who've taken nontraditional routes and been very successful. Maybe if I knew more people like the ones you mention, who regret their choices and blame their parents (although I have to say I have no sympathy for that sort of whining!), then maybe I would feel differently. Are those people that you mentioned in Europe? Perhaps there are more varied routes to success in the US, more chances to change course or start over or try a totally different career (I went from anthropologist to writer/editor to graphic designer). I think there are really very few "mistakes" (other than committing a crime) that can't be "undone" or overcome if someone wants it badly enough. So I guess that's why I tend to be more flexible and less angsty about whether I'm doing "the right thing" with my kids' education. Or maybe I should say that any angst I have is more about not screwing them up than it is about not screwing their transcripts up.

 

Jackie

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Yes, and? So am I. That is my life. Learning to take steps and write stuff down didn't hinder me. It actually aided me. It helped me show other people that there was more value int he way I was doing it. And, being able to write it out gave them a more concrete way to enact change.

 

Of course. The point I was trying to illustrate was that not wanting/feeling able to compromise on one particular issue (I believe the original example was writing in a prescribed way as outlined by a particular instructor) does not lead to an inability to work with others, lead teams, be a team player, or understand the value of compromise in various aspects of life. And in fact, sometimes standing up and saying that something really, really doesn't work for you can actually help develop those skills. This was a counter to the suggestion that failing to compromise (again, in that one area) might somehow mean a child never learns this skill and is therefore unable to function when working with others.

 

I really love these discussions, but I'm always surprised at how quickly people take examples and go to extremes with them. Not requiring a child to jump through every hoop presented to them, regardless of whether or not that particular hoop makes sense, does not equal the child never having an opportunity to learn to jump through hoops. Not requiring a child to show their math work every single time does not mean they never learn to show their math work or communicate it to others. KarenAnne has clearly explained her process with her daughter (well, clearly enough that I understand it!), and it seems that the spin-off "but then they'll never learn the skill" rabbit trails pointed at her examples (or the discussions around them) are completely irrelevant. I really haven't seen anyone suggesting that kids never need to learn to write or communicate or show math work in a standard way, etc.

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Unwillingness to compromise their "true selves" -- yes, that is exactly, exactly it.

 

And if they do bring themselves to compromise, there is tragic damage to that true self.

 

I've experienced this first hand and most folks do/did not understand it. DS was bored to death in school. He did the work easy enough in school but homework was a different story. It would take him HOURS to do a worksheet (1st, 2nd grade) which should have taken him 15min. He. just. couldn't. do. it. I was give up and say "Fine don't do it. NOthing bad will happen if you don't do this." Then the tears would start b/c the teacher told him he had to do it and he didn't want to do the wrong thing, he wanted to make the teacher happy. So he was having this eternal struggle. Soon he developed stomach aches at night. He wasn't eating as well. He was having trouble sleeping. He'd cry every night about going to school. One day, as the bus rumbled down the street, my poor 7yr old, stood in the door, burst into tears and screamed, "I just can't take it anymore." Friends just thought he needed everything he valued taken away, spanked, punished, electronics taken away......I know it wasn't obstinate behaviour...there was something about the way his brain is wired. He did their stupid work during the day and felt like home time was his time. It took me a small bit of time to realize it wasn't that DS was "broken" and needed to be fixed, he was just different and needed something different.

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Sorry, still don't get it. Do you work it backwards after the fact, after the answer "appears" or "emerges out of chaos" as some VSL people here have described, and as happens with my dd?

 

If that's so, then I don't get why representing steps that don't occur in your original thinking proves the better value of your way (i.e. the non-step way) to other people.

 

Or are there actually incremental steps in your arriving at a particular answer, but you do those steps out of conventional order, so to speak?

 

If that's so, would you characterize that as non-linear, VSL, or ???? What's different to you about the way other people do things/solve problems, and how large does that difference appear to you?

 

This is the "issue" that I see in all of these threads. It is not that people do not understand that VSL students learn and see the big picture differently. It is not that anyone believes that teaching them how they learn is not appropriate.

 

The crux of the issue is whether or not there is value in teaching them the necessity and value of presenting what they know in a linear and sequential manner to demonstrate and prove their understanding.

 

For writing, with the exception of documenting quotes, etc, whether or not the writing is done holistically or incrementally is not important. Some students need notecards, outlines, etc. Some will shrivel under that type of process b/c that is not how they think. That is not an issue. Other than in pre-collegiate level, I can't imagine any time outlining, etc is necessary. The final product is all that matters.

 

However, in STEM related fields, documenting sequential steps is necessary. You do have to prove to others how you arrived at your answer; the answer is not the only key to the picture. Step by step procedures that can be replicated by anyone any where to reproduce the same answer---those steps matter. (Actually the steps are the answer most of the time IRL circumstances.)

 

So, while it can be argued that VSLs get the answers w/o the steps and that expecting them to produce the steps is not how they function, it does not negate the fact that steps are valuable and necessary skills. (that sentence is my 1 sentence summation of my view of what the debate behind these threads is.........should they or should they not be expected to present information linearly even though they don't arrive where they end up by linear/sequential thought processes. Some say no. I am definitely in the yes camp.)

 

Helping my kids deal with learning issues that they struggle with even when they are gifted and way smarter than I am.......that is why I homeschool and create assignments that may drive them batty.

 

But, I don't believe anyone is saying that instruction/teaching/etc must be done sequentially and that only sequential learning/answers are valuable.......that would be like suggesting every student needs to learn math via Saxon methodology. I don't believe anyone is suggesting anything remotely like that.

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I honestly can't think of anything that I thought was stupid or pointless at the time, that in hindsight appears any less stupid or pointless. If anything, looking back on my HS experince, it seems even more stupid and pointless to me than it did then.

 

 

I don't think any teacher has any authority over me other than what I choose to give them. I have always seen my relationship to teachers as a sort of contract: you tell me what you expect me to do for X grade, and I'll decide if I want to do it for that grade.

 

 

In my entire HS career I had *one* teacher who I felt earned a position of "trusted leadership," and she never gave me a single assignment I considered pointless or stupid. She was actually really flexible and responsive to her students. She wrote me a glowing letter of recommendation for college and I corresponded with her for several years afterward.

 

The only person I would ever be "willing to follow" without a darn good reason would be a police officer, and he'd have to show me his badge first.

 

Jackie

 

Jackie, I had all kinds of classes in the sciences and medicine, especially, and some in physical activities, in which you could hurt the equipment, yourself or others if you didn't do things the way your were told to. Many times the procedures/rules were for obvious reasons, but sometimes they were not. My experience with classrooms is also that I expect that when I am in the classroom (or lab) I expect the prof to be in charge, the authority, whatever you want to call it, and since I am in his/her domain, I will follow/abide by his/her rules. S/he doesn't have to earn that acknowledgement from me, it is understood as a part of my "contract" when I signed up to take the class. All other things being equal, the larger the class, the less leeway I had to negotiate exceptions with the professor.

 

Class or lab conduct is a bit different from class work, in which, I agree with what you said, I have the right to choose how well I perform or align myself with the professors expectations, and therefore, the grade I get.

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