Tuesday, February 14, 2006

EPGY Post Script

Jove's comment below prompted me to begin a reply and then I decided to bring it out of comments and post if further up. For all of my joking around below, Max will be ten next year and while he doesn't have the final say (because he doesn't have a vote in the budget yet), I take very seriously his curriculum requests. He is a fairly easy-going child with regard to school (although I wouldn't go so far as to call him passive, no), mostly taking whatever I toss at him in stride. It's not common for him to make curriculum requests. Since the rest of his materials are very reasonably priced, and since work looks steady for the next year, and since EPGY *does* have a generous scholarship program in place, I have not said "no" at this point. I've said, "We'll see."

EPGY really is an extraordinary program. With the scholarship we had last time, it was worth its cost. Yet done consistently and with at least some small attention to detail, Saxon and the like are enough. There is no real *reason* to go beyond Saxon and its contemporaries (Singapore, Math-U-See--yes, each different in its own way, but each effective for most of the kids who would use it as it is written).

In the same way there is simply no real reason to go beyond knitting a nice stockinette pair of socks. Stockinette is wonderful! It's warm, it's fast, it's sturdy. But where Saxon is a sturdy stockinette and Singapore is seed stitch and Math-U-See is ribbing--EPGY is lace. Oh, yes. It is.

But I've done very little lace in 15+ years of knitting and don't feel I've suffered for it.

I adore math and like the voracious reader who secretly fears her children won't take passionately to reading, I have a huge emotional attachment to having my sons discover what is wonderful about math. EPGY weaves certain mathematical strands and more abstract concepts into the program years earlier than standard programs do. You don't need to get these early to fall in love with them later. I was a mediocre elementary math student. Again, there's nothing wrong with holding off and doing these things later. Except that there's nothing wrong with introducing them NOW if the child is fluent in math and open to learning them.

With a scholarship, the cost would be comparable to adding a second musical instrument. Max had talked of adding drums to his repetoire next year. IF I decide we can do one of those options, (there are so many other budget items that *must* come before a 2nd instrument/EPGY--like his speech therapy, the existing piano lessons, and his mother's commitment to getting us out of debt for good) THEN I may ask him to choose with the understanding that whichever option he chooses he must see out the year.

I could live with either. I'm not opposed to a second instrument if he loves it. And yet I don't really want more practice sessions to supervise. EPGY satisfies my desire to provide Max with math he could potentially fall passionately in love with. And, I'm still really okay with Saxon.


JoVE said...

I've completely forgotten what comment I made that prompted that but it is good to see your further thoughts on it. Juggling the various requests for stuff that costs (music lessons, etc) is not easy. And getting out of debt is a really good goal that will make a firm foundation for so much more stuff.

I was just glad to see some of what is out there, being new to this and not being really sure how much 'curriculum' I want to buy and so on. But your knitting analogy is scaring me a bit. I do knit lace. And I think my life has been enriched by it. :-)

Nice to have ideas in reserve if we get similar requests for more challenging, organized math curricula though. The 2nd instrument request is likely to come sooner. I've said she can have it when she is in the habit of practicing the 1st one almost every day.

Eliza said...

Hey, I hope I didn't say anything poorly to make you feel like you needed to explain yourself. To me, you're a Math Goddess.

The Queen said...

No, no, we're good ;)