How do you resolve conflicts between the "students" in a child-led learning scenario? Let's say one kid wants to go to a museum, but the other kid detests museums (or doesn't really detest them but just gets it in his head to make things difficult for the rest of us)
Just like you'd solve any family conflict. For us, that's collaboratively. Noah really doesn't want to go to the museum. Everyone else either really wants to go, or is okay with going. So what can we do to find a mutually agreeable solution? Noah, would you be willing to come anyway, since last spring we all sacrificed a lot to get you to your soccer games? Maybe you could hang out in the dinosaur gallery with the extra cellphone and sketch, rather than walking around with us? Or maybe we could plan to go to the museum the day you're at Dylan's birthday party? Or you could stay with grandma while we go? Or, daddy wants to spend Saturday doing yard work, so if we waited until Saturday we could go to the museum and you could stay here and help him? Conflict Resolution: another great homeschooling 'subject!'
that kind of approach isn't going to help them in life because from my experience life seems to put a lot of things that you don't like on your plate. I believe God created us such that we human beings grow through facing and overcoming challenges and I want to prepare my children to be able to embrace/welcome adversity rather than escape it.
I think your friend is focusing on the wrong thing here. Challenge isn't good in and of itself. Being homeless, or staying at a degrading low-paying job, or enduring bullying, those things are challenging but they aren't worthwhile. What makes challenge good is when it is a means to a worthwhile end. It's being able to work through short-term adversity for long-term gain that is the important thing. So it makes no sense to simply artificially construct adversity; we should be creating situations where our kids' long-term ambitions drive the motivation for persistent work.
I want my kids to learn to persist through challenging work so that they can accomplish good things. I don't simply want to create people who are willing to suffer. So I put the focus on helping them connect the dots between long-term goals that they see value in and the short- and medium-term work that, if they do it consistently, will get them to where they want to be.
Assigning 30 minutes of math busy-work five days a week for the sake of teaching a child to be a persistent worker does little to help that child learn the reasons why hard work is good. It simply teaches compliance. And honestly, while compliant children are in a sense convenient, I don't want to raise compliant adults! I want to raise self-assured adults who know what is right and good and are willing to work to make it happen. When a child wants to be able to play the Bach E Major violin concerto, and has it explained by a trusted teacher why work on scales and studies will help develop the technical facility that will make that goal more realistic, and the parent and teacher help the child make the routine of technique practice palatable and habitual, and the child is able to eventually play the Bach E Major, that's a lesson in overcoming challenge that will stick. In this latter example the starting point is the child's desire. In the former example the focus is simply on complying despite adversity.
Oh, and thanks for all your awesome, respectful and insightful questions! Really enjoying this thread!