A Tale of Two Boys

As Mushroom and BalletBoy get older, I’m seeing their learning styles differentiate more and more.  They’ve always been in different places on many things.  I’ve posted in the past about how BalletBoy surged ahead of Mushroom in reading pretty early on, for example.  However, as they get older, their individuality comes into play more and more.

Right now, at least, Mushroom is thriving with read alouds.  He has been more articulate and has improved so much at narrations.  As he has relaxed with schoolwork in the last few weeks, he has shown his ability to make connections and really think about things.  His handwriting is nice, if slow.  In fact, he does everything pretty slowly and deliberately, but when he does something creative, it’s wonderful.  He is finally enjoying math again, but only when it’s playful and loose.  He has been doing a lot more with Miquon lately.  His reading is improving, but it’s still slow.  He doesn’t read for pleasure yet because his confidence isn’t good enough.

BalletBoy enjoys stories read aloud, but he increasingly gets less from our history and science read alouds.  I’ve just started giving him his own reading material on those subjects, which he doesn’t love, but can do quickly enough and seems to retain much better.  His writing is fast and he generally does all his work quickly.  With math, he has been doing well with Math Mammoth’s ample practice.  He likes doing logic problems.  He is picky with books, but he reads well on his own when he finds something he’s into.

Both wonderful kids.  But different kids.

In a perfect world, I would give BalletBoy more school reading, keep him doing Math Mammoth and the Singapore Challenging Word Problems, and push him to do a little more free reading.  I would cuddle Mushroom on the sofa and read aloud to him all the time, let him just do Miquon Math, play games and read living math books, and give him extra narrations to do.

The problem is, there’s not quite enough school time for me to facilitate both those approaches.  Plus, there’s the comparisons issue.  I work with them on it, and I think they’re really not that bad about it, but it’s still there.  The more I change what curricula they each use, the harder it can be for them.

I’m not sure how much I’m going to differentiate for them.  Hopefully I’ll find the tightrope line between tailoring so much it takes too much out of me and tailoring enough that they get to realize their strengths.  The sweet spot where they both stay challenged and don’t fall behind yet aren’t pushed to do things they can’t or compare themselves to each other in ways that don’t seem to help.

3 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Boys

  1. A tricky but interesting challenge. I love the way you are so aware of how each of your boys learns and progresses, and what their learning preferences are. Awesome, mama!

  2. Yes! My kids are SO different and even though Nyima is only 2 I can see how her learning style, patience and affinity for repetition is so very different than Willow not wanting to hear anything twice, etc etc…. I most definitely see myself having to use two completely different styles for them.

  3. I have two very different girls, and with an eighteen month age difference between them, I face some of the same challenges as you. My eldest would read all day long every day if I would let her, and my younger daughter (who isn’t an independent reader yet) would draw and build and just be generally creative all day long. My eldest would do great in traditional school, but I think my youngest would suffer. It is a challenge, isn’t it?

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