A friend sent me this post, about a mom who let her kid just quit doing math for a few months, to look at and asked me what I think. I don't know what she thinks yet, so I don't know whether we agree or not, but it was certainly thought-provoking. Here's my immediate response, though I imagine yours will be different because what you think will probably depend on your experience of trying things that are too hard for you to do, and also on your kids' experiences when they try to do things that are beyond them. Anyway, here's my not-very-reflective reflection on the post:
That it sounds like summer vacation. :)
My other thoughts are:
-yes, you take un-intentioned breaks sometimes (hmm, let me talk about my last year . . .)
-yes, sometimes there's growth that has to happen before mastery can be achieved, but . . .
-as Picasso said, "There is such a thing as inspiration, but it must find you working." I think that's so, so true. And I think not making the kid work is a disservice to the kid. Now, adjusting the work to fit the child's level . . . i.e., maybe switching to a different program, or playing math games instead of worksheets, or some such, till the necessary maturation occurs and the child gets it? Yeah, absolutely. But I think just letting the child stop working is a bad idea. (Unless, of course, it is summer vacation.)
Mostly because I think letting myself stop working is a bad idea. And I'd hate to be less fair to my child than I am to myself.
So, yeah, I think the back-burner idea is true. At least, I find it true in myself. But I also find it true that I: 1) get the concept faster if I'm still working in the area and 2) learn other good things in the meantime if I keep working in the area. Back-burner break-throughs seem to happen best when you ignore the exact problem area itself "(I can't seeeeeeee you" <-- is the dialogue in my head at those times) but still stick really close to the area around it. Otherwise you can waste days and days and days because you're not aware and alert and present when the readiness kicks in.
Also, we can be very, very wrong about whether or not we're able to do things. I'm always amazed at how much more I can do when I make myself work versus when I think about working. Again, I think the same is true of kids. (Minus the fact that they have a much lower tolerance of frustration. That's where we need to be careful, I think. Hitting frustration is something you don't want to do very often or very long with children. I'm finding. Hence the switching it up, but keeping close to the subject.)
There. I've blathered. What do you think?
Peace of Christ to you,