(If you're here for fiber content and don't give a fig about education philosophies, SCROLL DOWN!)
I've been thinking a lot about what folks have shared, over schooling and kids and related topics. I didn't expect to hit the nerve I did - I was worried about people thinking I was criticizing their children or their jobs. Apparently that wasn't much of a worry. Interesting.
I guess, what it comes down to, is that children are individual and have different needs. (Ohmigosh. REALLY?) We all seem to have figured that out, except for the government wonks who decide policies for this stuff. Some children CAN be pushed hard, and some even enjoy it. By all means fast track those kids. Some kids need more repetition and should be able to get it without slowing down the entire classroom or being criticized. And most children are fine in that zone between the other two. The old system of placing kids by skill rather than age had a lot of things going for it (so long as we didn't send eight year olds to college, I still think that's a tricky situation).
The Goober in particular is thriving with the current system we've got going. I may think some (more than some) things she's learning are ridiculous, but she's learning them. There's a lot of the curricula I think is screwy, but again, I can customize a great deal so it's no big deal. (Though... Venn Diagrams? In Kindergarten? Seriously?)
The 'creative spelling' topic came up in the comments. The school advocates it, but I don't. (Yay for customizing.) There's whole lot of "it is okay for your child to write however they want" in the parental handbook. I disagree. I'm with my blog readers, in that it's best to start the kid off doing things as closely as possible to correct. I've stressed that it's important to write like everyone else (both in spelling and penmanship) so that we can all understand each other. I've even told her that her ideas on grammar are more logical (because they are), but we still have to do it like everyone else. Obviously she's not getting things right on the first try, but we're working to get there. I don't know about neural pathways, but it just seems dumb to let a kid do things wrong without even attempting to correct. It'll make things harder later, one way or another.
Anyway, thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts. Those of you who went anonymous to disagree with me, you're certainly free to, but you don't have to. I enjoy disagreement, especially when it's laid out coherently like it has been in the comments. It gives me things to think about. There's a HUGE difference between "I disagree, and here is why" and "YOU SUCK!" While I will always sneer at the second type of comment, I enjoy the first.
Remember the knit-along coming up May 1? We're still doing it. For now, all you need to be doing is buying yarn. Any type, any weight, though I suggest worsted-ish so you can keep up with the rest of us. I'm still planning to use Cascade 220 for an adult size XL sweater, to give you an idea. For amounts, find a pattern for a stockinette sweater using the yarn you want, and buy enough to knit that. If it seems a little on the low side, get a skein for luck.
Do we need a knit-along button? Or a group on Ravelry? I fully intend to put all directions, commentary, and digressions up here on the blog for posterity, but a Ravelry group might make it easier to communicate questions... I don't know. Everyone's always free to comment or e-mail or bug me on Ravelry or Twitter, so it's not like I'm hard to find.