Working on a deadline is something that my girls have a bit different experience with than other kids their grade level. They don’t have midterms, like most other kids have right now. There are no tests to cram for and worry about. Recently Grace asked me about testing and noticed how much anxiety it creates in her friends who attend school. Part of me wondered if the process was somehow valuable? Is the stress and anxiety, the worry and ultimately the outcome, whether it be positive or negative, a true life lesson? Is she missing a developmental milestone by opting out of this experience? These are the things I sometimes think about.
|"Cramming" to finish her first half of the story by writing group on Friday.|
No. They are not missing out by cramming and regurgitating. They are not missing out on late nights worrying, stomach aches, and the anticipation of awaiting a grade. They are not missing out on the elation of an A or the stomach dropping despair of a D or F. That is not what their deadlines are about.
My girls still have the opportunity to experience deadlines, only they are intrinsic to our life. Book club meets once a month. If they don’t finish the book, they do not participate in book club. This is not a problem for Lilah, she always finishes but there have been a few late, well, late-er nights for Grace, getting the reading done the night before or sometimes even in the hours before the club meeting.
They both study piano seriously. They have performances frequently. Pieces must be mastered. The “grade” is the quality of their playing. They never settle for anything less than an A.
Writing group has also provided natural deadlines with our restructured class. If they want to keep up with the pace of the class, they have to work hard during the week to polish and edit their pieces. There is no grade but they share and they naturally see areas that can be strengthened by what their peers are writing and sharing. A grade is not really necessary. They motivate each other to do better.
|Our hybrid class - 2 girls are joining online. Working on writing fairy tales.|
A case may be made that these are not the same as a midterm or a final. I counter that these deadlines are more in line with what they will experience in life. My deadlines are not test driven. I need to have my lessons prepared every Sunday for my religious education class. I need to prepare for writing group, art journaling and the layout of our weeks in terms of meal planning and travel outside of the home. Greg’s job is extremely deadline driven with reports due on certain days, presentations that must be prepared, meetings that must be attended. It is very rare that he crams for his meetings or is up late preparing reports. He manages his time and knows what is due when.
This is the experience my girls will have with deadlines either for a class, for me, for their employer, or for those they set themselves. The older the girls get, the more likely people are to compare their homeschooling experience to a traditional high school or middle school experience. They are almost incomparable at this point.