Wow this has been a bit of an internal struggle. I have this picture in my head of how things should work out, and then I realise I'm looking at the picture in my head and not at the real people I live with.
Jenna has been asking for "school work" - meaning worksheets. She has been around schools a fair bit for a homeschooled child, because my mum is a teacher and very open about her work. We visit her at school, meet her outside, sometimes the children have been to meet Grandma's class, and Jenna sees mum's prep around the house all the time. Somewhere along the way she has picked up an idea about teaching and learning and what she needs to learn. I'd thought she was happy with life pretty much as it was now, just living our lives, but recently she started asking for "work" again.
I thought about it long and hard, and I think I know what it is that she wants. Her handwriting is bothering her, I knew that, she doesn't want to write like a child she wants to write like me. She has seen handwriting practice sheets, and that's what she was after. Deflecting again just seemed so dishonest.
Hence the tussle with myself. I think worksheets to teach writing and reading are at best a time killing activity, and at worst an interference. I don't think they are wrong, or even unhelpful for all children, but they are not the way I wanted to do things. Simply, I wanted the girls to have a chance to pick things up from living it rather than doing learning exercises as a task separate from normal everyday stuff. How harmful did I think they'd be if I just let her get on with how she wanted to do things? It seems a bit disproportionate perhaps, but maybe I'd rather over think things than just go along never asking why...
So worksheets she has.
I would love to be able to laminate them but for now she either has photocopies or copies in poly-wallets (but the wallets aren't very good quality so will have to be thrown away after a few uses - better to use paper, I suspect, which at least biodegrades). My mum has been such a star seeking out really child-friendly things that don't feel pushy and that are open to Jenna's interpretation. I have to work hard at handing them over and then keeping out of it, otherwise inner-control-freak-mum starts trying to tell her to finish one before she does another, or dictate how to fill them in "right" (I didn't even want her to have the flaming things in the first place and then I start handing them out like they are important?!).
I really don't fancy this kind of homeschooling in the long term - not at all. It doesn't suit me, or perhaps suits me so well I would become something I don't want to be all too quickly. But I can't call myself child-led if I keep fighting her on what and how she wants to learn.