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"Why don't you make me do _____?" - Page 2

post #21 of 82

My girls (young, true) feel that any display of affection toward the other means that they are loved less!  As a parent, we should consider our children, for sure.  I remember thinking "I wish my parents did this... told me this... made me do this....." but as an adult I now realize that while I have a decent memory, I realize that I was also really good at ignoring them and doing what I wanted.  Maybe they did tell me...try to make me ..... and then gave up in total exasperation.  I was, after all, the 3rd daughter, my 2 sisters being bigger, more boisterous and troublesome than I was (until they move out and I hit 17!)

 

So, true, we don't have much beyond this snapshot of the father and son, but opposite others' impressions, I tend to side with the dad.  Maybe the son has never asked for math until right at that point.  Maybe, like I would have, the father tried and the son refused and that was as far as he was willing.  Regardless, without knowing more, I'm sympathizing with the dad.  (Yes, Mom and Dad--I hear you laughing at me now from your graves, trying to tell me "I told you so" through your guffaws.  So... fine!  I'll say it!  You.... were.... right...... at least about some things, but I am not caving about the rest.)


Edited by SweetSilver - 2/12/13 at 7:56am
post #22 of 82

*


Edited by SweetSilver - 2/12/13 at 7:55am
post #23 of 82
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

Maybe the son has never asked for math until right at that point.  

 

Yes, I wondered the same. It's so hard to know. I certainly wouldn't have characterized what I do with my dd as "making her do math," but that's what came out of her mouth at the time. So who's to know, based on a single comment by a child in an unrelated social situation. I still thought the exchange brought to light an interesting issue.

 

Miranda

post #24 of 82
I agree, it *is* an interesting issue. I was never asked by my son to 'make' him do anything, so my practical experience is from the child's side, only.

I hope no one here thinks I'm judging them. I just tend to see the child's view more, in the scenario described. With such a small amount of information, I prefer to err on the side of the child.
post #25 of 82

I agree - it is hard to say, when all you have is that to go by.  It easily could be either of the pictures painted - dad is backing off too much due to underlying ideological or emotional reasons, son hasn't really expressed an interest in that kind of structure and/or burned his dad previously by fighting it.

 

Just to clarify, by "full ownership" I simply mean that the interest in the subject should come from the kid, and the kid should be able to say, "I want to learn abc, so my mom helps me by doing xyz."  Which I think is what Miranda's daughter meant, although she said "my mom makes me." The point I'm trying to make is that the former statement takes responsibility for the learning, and for seeking out the supporting structure, and the second can be used by some kids (again, perhaps not here) to pawn everything off on their parents - the structure, and even the pursuit itself. And that can sour everything.

 

I agree with SweetSilver that there is a line. A helpful reminder is one thing - having to constantly resort to tons of cajoling or threatening them with punishment if they don't sit right down and do whatever this instant is absolutely another.  It affects the entire family dynamic, alters parenting styles, and is entirely too stressful.  If my child really wants to learn something, they will learn it.  I will not drag them kicking and screaming the whole entire way.

 

Finally, I don't see anything wrong with seeking out school for that purpose, or even a strict instructor, if it's something the child genuinely wants to do.  Reminds me of John Holt's discussion about Teachers vs. teachers...

post #26 of 82
I certainly wouldn't drag a child along, even if asked to help at the start. Homeschooling is about flexibility, after all. But the dad didn't respond with a 'I tried, remember?' He responded with a statement of philosophy. That makes me think it is less likely that he was burned previously.
post #27 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

This is all theory, because we do not have enough knowledge about those involved. That said, I think the dad should be doing more.

I'm reminded of my childhood. Having heard stories of my sisters' piano lessons, and how my mother made them practice everyday, I wanted the same. My mother said she was through with that kind of thing, and inspite of playing the piano on my own (with the help of one lesson and a beginner book from one sister), I was given lessons or made to practice. I felt that my mother loved my sisters and not me, as a result. What this father and son are going through may be similar. It might be friends instead of siblings, but *refusing* to get more involved may be perceived as not caring. So, this may be about love as much as math. For those who have read the Five Love Languages (or whatever the actual title), isn't time spent one of the languages?


I just read this, and discovered a missing "not"! My mother did NOT give me lessons or make me practice. Hence I felt she loved my sisters and not me. I will be editing the post itself, too, for the benefit of those who may read it later.
post #28 of 82
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post


I just read this, and discovered a missing "not"! My mother did NOT give me lessons or make me practice. 

Yeah, I figured that was what you meant.

 

Miranda

post #29 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

Yeah, I figured that was what you meant.

Miranda

Leaving out a word. Definate sign of too tired and too rushed. Oh, well.
post #30 of 82
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

I certainly wouldn't drag a child along, even if asked to help at the start. Homeschooling is about flexibility, after all. But the dad didn't respond with a 'I tried, remember?' He responded with a statement of philosophy. That makes me think it is less likely that he was burned previously.

 

There are some complicating factors in this family. Mom used to do all the active unschooling facilitation. Dad was philosophically in complete agreement, but mom dealt mostly with the kids while dad worked away from home a lot, so I don't think he had much of a sense of the nuances of the day-to-day flow. Then dad had a cardiac arrest, retired from work (he's an older dad, now in his 60's) and mom went to work full-time-plus this past fall. Dad is still finding his feet with the on-the-ground, day-to-day aspects of home-based learning. He is trying to carry on with what mom was doing, but I think she may have been offering a fair bit more active support than he was aware of. I know the mom really well; the dad not so much -- and she did do a lot to support and nurture and inspire when she was the stay-at-home parent. So dad is still kind of figuring it out, and my tendency is to cut them some slack on all of this and not really judge or presume. They're still finding their way. Maybe dad wasn't burned previously, but mom was, or dad interpreted something in a way that made him think mom was, or ... well, who knows?

 

I wasn't trying to ask "Who is right in this case?" but just to discuss the issue it raised in a more general way.

 

Miranda

post #31 of 82

I see no issue with holding kids accountable and helping them (with out forcing them) to reach a goal that they have asked for help with. I do the exact same for my husband all the time! He will ask me to remind him to do XYZ or to help him to make a plan and stick with it (currently its eating better). I feel its totally (or even MORE) appropriate to do that for ac child who asks. I loved the example of helping them by setting up their stuff and making tea for them at a specified time. They can always choose to drink the tea and not do the math if they really really feel like not doing it, but I think most kids when wanting to reach a goal and asking for some reminders and would appreciate that kind of non-coercive help. 

Just like an adult helping another adult. :) 

post #32 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

There are some complicating factors in this family. Mom used to do all the active unschooling facilitation. Dad was philosophically in complete agreement, but mom dealt mostly with the kids while dad worked away from home a lot, so I don't think he had much of a sense of the nuances of the day-to-day flow. Then dad had a cardiac arrest, retired from work (he's an older dad, now in his 60's) and mom went to work full-time-plus this past fall. Dad is still finding his feet with the on-the-ground, day-to-day aspects of home-based learning. He is trying to carry on with what mom was doing, but I think she may have been offering a fair bit more active support than he was aware of. I know the mom really well; the dad not so much -- and she did do a lot to support and nurture and inspire when she was the stay-at-home parent. So dad is still kind of figuring it out, and my tendency is to cut them some slack on all of this and not really judge or presume. They're still finding their way. Maybe dad wasn't burned previously, but mom was, or dad interpreted something in a way that made him think mom was, or ... well, who knows?

I wasn't trying to ask "Who is right in this case?" but just to discuss the issue it raised in a more general way.

Miranda

I'm not saying he's a bad dad, if that's the judgment you mean. I was *trying* to discuss this in general, but have been told, repeatedly, that my opinion is wrong! I'll take my opinion and go, then.
post #33 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

 

I wasn't trying to ask "Who is right in this case?" but just to discuss the issue it raised in a more general way.

 

 

What about my suggestion of helping the child create their own schedule to achieve their goal?  First you would need to talk with them and help them define the goal.  Then help them set alarms and maybe set up their workstation for them as someone else suggested.  

post #34 of 82
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post


I'm not saying he's a bad dad, if that's the judgment you mean. I was *trying* to discuss this in general, but have been told, repeatedly, that my opinion is wrong! I'll take my opinion and go, then.

 

No, please don't go! I just think it's not really the role of this board to decide whether the dad ought to make more effort or let it lie -- we're not part of their family, so we can't truly know. 

 

Miranda

post #35 of 82

Not a judgment, I think everyone reads the situation and has a first impression, and different people are falling on different sides of this.  We really have no way of knowing if our impressions would be backed up if we knew more.  I fully concede the possibility that my first impression is incorrect.

 

It seems like everyone is more of less on the same page with regards to the issue in general.

post #36 of 82
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ambersrose View Post

 

What about my suggestion of helping the child create their own schedule to achieve their goal?  First you would need to talk with them and help them define the goal.  Then help them set alarms and maybe set up their workstation for them as someone else suggested.  

 

Yes, I think this is a great suggestion. For me that discussion of the desired schedule is the obvious first step. And if the schedule doesn't stick easily, you need to revisit the issue to talk about what tweaks would help. I think weekly discussions, at least until there's a really good flow happening, are a great idea.

 

We haven't had much luck with alarms here, though, because alarms reside in one location, and kids and families roam. Even if we situate an alarm in a central area or make a point of having it follow the child around if he or she moves, life throws us curve balls and often we're gone to town on an errand or someone shows up for a visit or we're outside playing or doing yard work, or the kid has just stepped into the bath or something. Alarms also don't have a built-in flexibility that says "it's getting to be mid-afternoon, so if you want to do half an hour of math before dinner, you should think about whether you want to play a whole game of Settlers of Catan, or maybe choose something shorter, or maybe do your math now and play a game after." Alarms just beep ... and my kids find that often they might have good reasons for not necessarily dropping everything and moving to the appointed task at that instant, for wanting a little flexibility, but once the alarm has not been immediately heeded it provides no additional guidance.

 

We have better luck scheduling things for after meals. So rather than saying "Spanish at 12:30" my kid will say "Right after lunch, before I get started on anything else, I'll do a few minutes of Spanish." Because even though my kids are responsible for preparing their own day-time meals (we do dinner as a family meal but the rest is free-ranging) they do invariably eat something that they would call lunch.

 

I find that sometimes there's a magic in revisiting a scheduling expectation that has unravelled and simply asking "Is this still something you want to do?" For instance, last fall my youngest said she wanted to do outdoor exercise with me three times a week. It was really tough to schedule, since there are so many variables in our lives that squeeze in, so while we initially tried "after breakfast on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays" that regularity fell apart quickly and after that we just did our best to find windows for it. But she didn't seem enthusiastic, and after enduring a few weeks of declined invitations and moaning over being too tired or not liking how cold and wet it was or whatever I gave up. Then over the winter holidays I took some time to revisit her plans and ambitions for the year and we talked about that outdoor exercise thing. Surprisingly, she was very enthusiastic to delve into it again. She regretted having got out of the habit, and was excited about doing a lot more in the way of winter sports -- trying out XC skiing, getting out on the hill for some downhilling, building an igloo, skating, snowshoeing. We didn't end up changing anything about the original plan. She had just realized that despite her occasional lack of enthusiasm on any given day and during certain seasons, she did still really want to be active outdoors on a regular basis, and felt it was worth pushing herself a bit harder than she had.

 

Miranda

post #37 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

Yes, I think this is a great suggestion. For me that discussion of the desired schedule is the obvious first step. And if the schedule doesn't stick easily, you need to revisit the issue to talk about what tweaks would help. I think weekly discussions, at least until there's a really good flow happening, are a great idea.

 

We haven't had much luck with alarms here, though, because alarms reside in one location, and kids and families roam. Even if we situate an alarm in a central area or make a point of having it follow the child around if he or she moves, life throws us curve balls and often we're gone to town on an errand or someone shows up for a visit or we're outside playing or doing yard work, or the kid has just stepped into the bath or something. Alarms also don't have a built-in flexibility that says "it's getting to be mid-afternoon, so if you want to do half an hour of math before dinner, you should think about whether you want to play a whole game of Settlers of Catan, or maybe choose something shorter, or maybe do your math now and play a game after." Alarms just beep ... and my kids find that often they might have good reasons for not necessarily dropping everything and moving to the appointed task at that instant, for wanting a little flexibility, but once the alarm has not been immediately heeded it provides no additional guidance.

 

We have better luck scheduling things for after meals. So rather than saying "Spanish at 12:30" my kid will say "Right after lunch, before I get started on anything else, I'll do a few minutes of Spanish." Because even though my kids are responsible for preparing their own day-time meals (we do dinner as a family meal but the rest is free-ranging) they do invariably eat something that they would call lunch.

 

I find that sometimes there's a magic in revisiting a scheduling expectation that has unravelled and simply asking "Is this still something you want to do?" For instance, last fall my youngest said she wanted to do outdoor exercise with me three times a week. It was really tough to schedule, since there are so many variables in our lives that squeeze in, so while we initially tried "after breakfast on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays" that regularity fell apart quickly and after that we just did our best to find windows for it. But she didn't seem enthusiastic, and after enduring a few weeks of declined invitations and moaning over being too tired or not liking how cold and wet it was or whatever I gave up. Then over the winter holidays I took some time to revisit her plans and ambitions for the year and we talked about that outdoor exercise thing. Surprisingly, she was very enthusiastic to delve into it again. She regretted having got out of the habit, and was excited about doing a lot more in the way of winter sports -- trying out XC skiing, getting out on the hill for some downhilling, building an igloo, skating, snowshoeing. We didn't end up changing anything about the original plan. She had just realized that despite her occasional lack of enthusiasm on any given day and during certain seasons, she did still really want to be active outdoors on a regular basis, and felt it was worth pushing herself a bit harder than she had.

 

Miranda

 

I totally understand the alarm thing.  Honestly for me they don't work either but for my husband they work perfectly!  I am more of a "right when I wake up" or "after the ____ meal" or "before I lay down to bed" schedule person too.  My loose schedule is important to me because it helps me but I know that doesn't work for everyone.  It really sounds like everyone in the discussion is pretty much on the same page.  Helping to facilitate our children in learning to achieve their goal through time management skills is a good thing.  A parent reminding their child is not too much different than having them set an alarm really.  The child is getting a reminder.  I don't think anyone subscribing to the un-schooling philosophy would advocate forcing a child to sit down and do something even if they expressed interest or asked for it at one time.  We all know this is not the way for a child to learn.  I also agree that goals and schedules should be revisited often.  

post #38 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post


I'm not saying he's a bad dad, if that's the judgment you mean. I was *trying* to discuss this in general, but have been told, repeatedly, that my opinion is wrong! I'll take my opinion and go, then.

 

It really sounds like everyone in the discussion is pretty much on the same page when it comes to her original question even if we differ in who we "side" with as far as father or son.  I think we all agree that we should facilitate our children in learning to achieve their goals through obtaining time management skills.  We may have slightly different ways to facilitate but that is okay and necessary because we are all dealing with different children/families.

post #39 of 82

Such an interesting thread! Can I just say though that the comment "I see no issue with holding kids accountable and helping them (with out forcing them) to reach a goal that they have asked for help with. I do the exact same for my husband all the time!" has really clarified something for me. Now I do this. I scaffold for my kids all the time, I do the thing of making sure that they have what they need to do the thing they've said they want to do and asking if I can get them anything and so on. But I'm also studying, myself, a fairly difficult (for me!) degree which takes up pretty much nearly all of my kid-free time. Now if my partner were to start asking if he could help, if he could get me a drink and so on, before I'd sat down and got started, it would truly drive me up the wall, because, rightly or wrongly I'd interpret this as him trying to coerce me into studying. Which would be incredibly unfair on him because he'd literally be just wanting to make me a cup of tea and truly not caring in the slightest whether I was going to study or not, I think its just that learning, for some people, is an incredibly personal and quite private thing. (obviously not for everyone though, if it works for you then absolutely great)

 

So this thread has given me a load of food for thought. It obliquely reminds me of something John Holt wrote once-"a word to the wise is infuriating.".

post #40 of 82

Great thread!

 

I tend not to push things.  Suggest and remind, yes; push - no.

 

Sometimes reminding over and over again can feel like nagging.  When that happens I check in: do you want me to continue to remind you of xyz?

 

I also try to honour where they are right now.  Simply because they said they wanted more math several weeks ago, does not necessarily mean I should impose it now.  If DD said "I want to learn more math" on a Tuesday, and on a Wednesday I said "let's do math" and she did not want to as she was colouring, and on a Thursday she did not want to as she was playing a video game with her brother - am I supposed to make her?  Isn't that placing a value judgment on activities - the math you mentioned earlier is more important that the stuff you are doing today?  

 

I do think some kids lack discipline and know-how when it comes to meeting goals they know are good for them.  Eventually their desire to meet their goals will be higher than their desire to do something else - which is when learning appropriate time and organisational management will kick in. Trying to do so before the kid is ready will result in some power struggles. Adults tend to see the big picture, so I think we can get a little frustrated and worried when we see them stuck at one developmental stage rather than moving into another. Patience for parents is often the order of the day!  

 

 I tend to talk out loud about my own time/organisational management issues as a way to role model project attack skills.  With my older children (particularly my eldest) we will have brainstorming session - paper included, and make lists of what needs to be done to move from A-B.  I prefer to help them figure out all the steps they need to do to complete a project instead of creating the steps for them.

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