Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sarah wants a challenge

Sarah asked me a few days ago if I had any good ideas for an intellectual challenge. She's already finished Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra and is eagerly awaiting Algebra 1. She's read Galileo's Dialogue, is on her first draft of a 521 page novel, is a talented musician and dancer. She can spell about 50% of words from "Spellbound", has been reading adult books since she was not quite 9, loves brain teasers, speaks Italian, German, French and some Latin. She seems to be good at everything. For many kids that would be plenty, but not Sarah.

When she asked me for a challenge we decided to put an article in the community newspaper. The suggestions we've gotten have been very disappointing:

"Take some high school courses."

This doesn't work because:
a. The high school is about three hours away
b. Sarah is only 11 y, she would feel very uncomfortable being there.

"Read, read, read."

She does read. But that doesn't challenge her.

"Get a curriculum, obviously unschooling isn't challenging her."

Where do they think she's learned what she has. She's only been to school for one day, many years ago. Sarah is becoming more structured with her learning, but she has told me she never wants to use a curriculum.
I'm sure we'll find something to do, but, right now, any ideas??


Miranda said...

How about adolescence, LOL?! My own startlingly precocious eldest entered the thick of adolescence about a year ago and her focus since then has been on figuring out who she's becoming and what her place in the world should be. Her interest in intellectual challenge went totally underground at that point. She's spent the year turned tightly inward and I haven't had to worry about finding things to challenge her. Not that I wish the same fate on Sarah, but it may happen.

Things that have piqued Erin's interest over the past year -- mastery of music theory and basic formal (chorale-style) harmony, Latin study, oral and written Japanese and memorizing the periodic table (???). Are you familiar with The Teaching Company? They have some good courses. Erin particularly liked "The Joy of Science" combined with Bill Bryson's "The Short History of Nearly Everything" and Joy Hakim's "Story of Science" books.

Allison said...

Thank you Miranda.
Sarah has always been very introverted but I can see her becoming more so *groan*. She spends a lot of time in the barn and we now have a tin can telephone to communicate!

Sarah very much enjoys "The Story of Science" as well as Latin and music.
I've heard of The Teaching Company but we haven't done much of their stuff.
She told me today that she wants to memorize the constellations (good thing she's a night owl).