Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Deep thoughts on a children's story

It is early, for me, after way too many late nights in a row as I sit up and ponder the ultimate demise of civilization as I know it. (Must stop watching the news)

I have to muse upon the story of "The Little Red Hen" as it is found in this storybook

It starts off well enough in that little red hen gets no help from her housemates (the cat, rat and mouse) in making the cake and therefore she will eat it all herself. Why does the fox even have to come into the story? We all know that the hen will outwit the fox as it is a staple of our literary history. Then she returns home only to share that cake with her housemates because they are so happy.

Come on, where is the justice. 1. the poor hen gets up every morning to fix everyone's breakfast and then wash all the dishes. 2. She asks who would like to bake a cake, everyone agrees and then she is the only one doing the work. 3. When the fox comes in, the other three run off to their hidey-holes, leaving her to fight it out with the fox. 4. When she escapes and returns everyone is so happy, they share the cake. But, I am sure that she is the one washing the dishes afterwards.

Don't get me wrong it is a good story, for 1950, mother-the-martyr, America. I just wished it had stopped about half-way through. That would have been a much better for proving a point to my children in 2007 America.

This has been a daily read among the children for the last week, among several other short stories and poems printed in this book. We all curl up on the sofa and I hear "I want the Little Red Hen. I want the Little Red Hen", "Yes! Yes!"

We've got the reading portion of our day down. Mary is still doing well in attitude and actual performance on her schoolwork. Although, yesterday was one of those days I did have to remind her to stay focused several times and she did have to do her copywork over after making a very messy half-hearted attempt.

Katie, on the other hand - I just don't know. Some days it would just be better if I read to her, and did her reading and math - and after that just let her go about her day with more focus on life skills and development activities (play). It seems like though, a couple days each week she wants schoolwork, ie worksheets to do along with Mary. But I never know when that will be and then I am not prepared. Writing is where Katie gives me so much grief. If she does it on her own, she is happy about that, but don't let me expect her to practice writing. Mary was the same way up until this year -- and I just need to leave it alone. I know that. But...but, all those other people who are sitting in the stands and watching me homeschool, I feel like I have to make my kids and I nervous wrecks for them????

The answer, in our case, is an easy one. I just need the guts to let go. Mary shows me everyday that it is okay to wait and not push.

Today is the first day of piano, along with it really being the middle of the week. Which also means I have an appointment this afternoon, followed by Mary's soccer practice. Must remember to go take my vitamins!




Melora said...

I never heard of a version with a fox. We've read some where the friends apologize and some where they are out of luck (and presumably learn their lesson), but never one with a fox. My favorite is the Margot Zemach version (no bread for the lazy friends in that one!).

My Katie is the same way. Some days she wants to do school, some days not. I took a pretty (very) casual approach to Kindergarten with Travis, and I don't think it put him behind academically either. They are little.

Amy in Apex said...


I'm with you on the relaxed approach to Kinder, and that is exactly what I want to do. I just don't understand why I let myself get caught up every so often. It just seems like if I don't plan on something for Katie she wants a full load to do and then I'm caught with my pants down. If I don't make Katie do something if I've planned it, Mary wants to battle over why I don't force it like I do with her now.

And, honestly it comes down to the internal battle I have constantly over how I want to homeschool. I would like to be super-relaxed and not really require much of anything until 9 or 10, but the threat of school hanging over our heads at each year makes me feel the need to keep them on some public school target.

It is something I have been trying to resolve for the last couple of years and I am just not there.


Melora said...

Actually, I do agree with you that it is wise to keep them up with public schooled children, just in case. Much as I love hs'ing, I know that circumstances Could arise that would make public school unavoidable, and it would be awful to be told that my kids were "behind." Also, Ed made a comment this morning about how Katie should be doing school (she was being rowdy), so I know exactly what you mean about the pressure to have them doing school-y stuff, even when you Know that they are doing fine! I make a point of mentioning how well she does at her lessons when she does them, and I think (hope) that she will become more willing to do lessons on a regular schedule as she matures this year. I can see how it would look unfair to Mary when Katie's lessons are "optional." I think we don't have that problem here because Travis is older and still thinks of our Katie as a "baby." I think it is wonderful that Mary has become a willing writer! We are still struggling with that one.

A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.