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#1 of 15 Old 01-18-2011, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We started hsing this year.  I have a 3rd grader (ps through 2nd) and K (attended 3xwk preschool last year), both boys.  Ideally I tend toward the unschooly end of the spectrum, but I have a few concerns.  I want my dcs to learn for the sake of learning and for it not to be a chore, but I want them to learn self-discipline.  No matter what, sometimes everyone HAS to do things they may not feel like doing.  If they decide to go to college (they both want to be scientists when they grow up - but I know it's a long way off), they will be required to take classes they won't always love.  They will need to be able to sit down and make themselves do the work.  So how do you teach that?  

 

Also, my DH is pretty much not on board.  Maybe this should be a separate thread, but he really expects that we do school at home.  He barks at the kids to get to bed on "school nights."  I'm pretty sure that deep down he wants to send them back to ps in the fall, if not sooner.  Any thoughts on that would be very much appreciated. 

 

Thanks!

 

ps: sorry this is not very clear, NAK the baby and big kids begging for dinner... I'll try to clarify later...

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#2 of 15 Old 01-18-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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I'll just dig right in, if that's alright; I don't have a lot of time, but wanted to respond. :)

 

 

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They will need to be able to sit down and make themselves do the work.  So how do you teach that? 

 

From my perspective, you will never teach another person this lesson. You can coerce a child into doing busy/dull/irrelevant work, but it won't teach this lesson. It will teach that if they have an interest in diving in and discovering for themselves what they need to know through experiencing not knowing, you are not a viable resource because your approach is to first suck all the joy and romance out of a subject.

 

I deliberately avoid people who insist on this method of learning because it has never been useful to me, and when I ask a question that is met with, "well, before I answer you, do you know the laws of thermodynamics by rote, in Greek?" I just go ahead and figure out what I really need to know to know, on my own. My children are the same.

 

Right now, my four boys are obsessing over figuring out how to navigate the internet. They haven't asked me a single thing in the three days they've been at this. Instead, when they discovered that search engines have a limited tolerance for creative spelling, they began a pile of reference books next to the keyboard for checking their own spelling. Can you imagine how fired up they'd be if when they asked if we could hook up a computer for them (last week), I said, "Well, first, you must master standardized spelling, so we're going to do spelling and dictation busywork for a week, then we'll move onto alphabetization, indexing, and proper typing position with hours of practice until you are at least proficient. Once you know all of that, you can begin to use the computer."

 

I have never taken that perspective and all of my children have very naturally figured out what skill or information they are missing, and then figured out how to obtain it on their own. I do answer their questions, but they don't come to me clueless. They have deliberate questions intended to give them specific answers. If they didn't have the experience of being triumphant in learning something on their own, all the while during the phase of excitement and focused period that typically comes at the beginning of a pursuit, they may indeed rely on me to put them through drudgery, but as it is, that has never been necessary, and remains a completely irrelevant methodology for them and me.

 

A major aspect of learning something new is learning what one needs to know in order to learn it; that part is hugely exciting! I'd never want to take that away from my dc. That would be akin to removing the romance period at the beginning of a relationship; it's so much fun, the focus allows for a lot of interaction and understanding in a relatively very short time, and the joy of learning about the new person is not lost to the realities of things like signing papers, paying rent, and dividing household chores. It would be decidedly un-fun, for no good reason, to skip immediately from "I like you" to the papers and chores before being considered ready for the romance.

 

At least I think so. :)


Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#3 of 15 Old 01-18-2011, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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nak again, fyi...

 

Thank you, Preggie.  I need to keep thinking this way.  My DH gets on my case that it doesn't seem like much school is going on and I start to wonder if he's right.  Now, it has been extra non-schooly lately as I and  the kids have been sick (which unfortunately = lots of tv/wii), but I do feel like we learn plenty normally.  Thanks for the reassurance!

 

And, I wonder if I can throw this out for comment too: I have said in discussions with DH that more important than telling/making/forcing the kids to do their schoolwork, pick up their toys, etc., is that we set a good example for them.  If we leave junk all over the house, we can scream at them all day about picking up their toys, but it's not going to do any good.  He really thinks they should do what we tell them because we say so and it shouldn't matter if his work papers and the mail are strewn all over the house and HE doesn't clear his place at the table...  I'm not crazy, right?  I also feel like if we can limit the demands we put on them to ones that really matter, they'll be more likely to comply. If they're constant being told to do this, don't do that, I feel like they'll tune us out.  If we can encourage things like keeping the house tidy by example, that's one less thing anybody has to argue about.

 

I don't know if any of this is making any sense.  I was up all night with sick kiddos.  Thanks to anybody who's attempting to follow this!

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#4 of 15 Old 01-18-2011, 10:17 PM
 
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boysmom2, whew! I was just popping in to edit my post because upon reflection, I thought it may have seemed unnecessarily curt, but I really didn't intend that at all; I really did just type it all out stream-of-consciousness-style, and didn't even read it over until just now. Sooo, I am glad that you took it the way I meant it, and not how it could've seemed. shy.gif

 

I didn't address the differences in your and your dp's approaches, but they seem very divergent right now. That was the difference between my dp and me several years ago, but we've both changed and I can rely on my dp not to act when he feels his authoritarian upbringing coming up through him. It often takes going through the basics, or a cool-down period for him to come back to being confident that w are not parenting our children in a way that would yield unquestioning obedience, that we ourselves do not value that in anyone, but rather love it when our children express their genuine openness to reality without reservation, and we need to keep that in mind when that genuine questioning looks like cheekiness because it isn't what we'd expected or what we wanted from them in certain situations.

 

If we raise automatic respecters of authority, then what they respect and how they act on that respect will be inextricably tied to the whims and/or intentions of whomever proclaims authority in their lives. If we raise respecters of truth, reason, reality, then they will respect those whose authority comes from respecting the same things, and they will also know how to question in order to know whether those people (and themselves) are sincere, and competent to follow through.

 

A child who obeys foremost is in a dangerous place. A lot of children are in that situation, sadly. A confident child who is allowed the freedom to question, and the freedom to experience the actual realities that follow his/her choices (and parents are supposed to protect their dc from dire/dangerous/irreparable consequences of every sort until their dc mature to a point where they can take responsibility), within reason, is a child who is not in danger of anything other than the opportunity to become a fully self-actualised adult.

 

It is clear to me that children seek the authority of people whose actions align with their values, people of true integrity. They simply cannot, even if they wanted to, do as the self-appointed authority figure says rather than what he does; we're not that sort of creature. We absolutely learn through experience, not conceptual projections of people who are older than us, but concrete example. I'm a very intuitive person; I don't need an actual personal experience to learn from someone else's or to project what would be a likely outcome, but I do need some concrete indication of what the human thing to do is. Everyone does.

 

*ETA* I wanted to make clear that my definition of "authority" here is not one of power-seeking, or controlling, but rather a person whose lifepath and actions are autonomously authored in alignment with principally held values, and the virtues that retain them. So, not at all what is usually understood as authority- the person who tells other people what to do, who makes the rules and enforces them.

 

It would be absurd to expect a baby to follow exclusively verbal instructions not already established through action, because it is commonly observed that babies do what they see and feel us doing. Older children are still learning in that way, but the concrete must absolutely come before any abstraction is expected. An example from your post would be a parent who leaves junk all over the house and demands that his child "clean his room." Without ongoing reinforcement of the concrete standard of what "clean" is, by example foremost and maybe reinforced with deliberate (non-coercive) instruction, no amount of demanding is going to be effective except perhaps through the child's process of elimination for what the parent disagrees is clean, all under duress. Extend the principle here, and it's clear that authoritarian parenting leaves a child with a lot of overt  questions s/he can't ask, but with a whole lot of "correct" answers that s/he must supply. S/he must even guess at what questions should be asked and also what the answers would be, constantly shifting the little squares in that game with just one square empty for moving all the others to make the whole picture. How exhausting and unfair, not to mention just not a nice way to grow up.

 

I could totally go on about this, lol. I raised myself after I left my parents' home at 17 yrs of age, so I had to learn how to learn how to become an adult, and in doing so, learned also how to be a mother, and a person worthy of self-respect and genuine pride of accomplishment. It took a lot of work and research, so I really could go on. And on. :)

 

Anyway, the parenting and gentle discipline forums would likely garner you pages of responses by tomorrow if you posted this there.


Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#5 of 15 Old 01-20-2011, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your thoughts on all of this.  Reading back over it, it's clear to me that I was coming down with the flu all my kids have had - totally incoherent!  Thanks for wading through it! You're right - a big part of my problem is more parenting/marriage stuff.  I'll have to think out more clearly what my questions are and post them in the appropriate places.  I might repost here about the self-discipline/self-reliance issues to get more thoughts.  I'm interested to hear what others think.  I'm still really new to all of this.  Thanks!!

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#6 of 15 Old 01-23-2011, 10:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boysmom2 View Post

  They will need to be able to sit down and make themselves do the work.  So how do you teach that?  


 


I just wanted to respond to this (before I shut down the Mac and go clean the kitchen, which *I* don't want to do!! ;)) I went to an accelerated high school. I took AP classes my sophomore year. My graduating class and the 4 classes after us had the highest ACT scores of any school in the nation. I had to do a lot of work I didn't want to do; in fact, most of my life was spent doing school-related work or projects. I was accepted to all of my top colleges, chose one and flunked out my first semester because I had no self-discipline. I knew how to pull an all-nighter, test really well, and had great critical thinking and study skills, but none of it mattered because I had been following a very rigid track with external consequences around every corner. It took me YEARS of trying and failing to follow through with anything before I learned not only the value of setting and achieving my own goals, but HOW to go about it.

 

Most of my classmates went on to be extremely successful in their education and careers, so my story may not be typical, but really, who knows how many of them had the same struggles that I did? I appreciate the education I received but definitely recognize that a few more practical life lessons would have served very well. Other than cleaning up after themselves and treating people with respect, I don't force my kids to do anything  they're not driven towards because I think, while they MAY gain some knowledge or improve their skills, the real lesson is lost in that method of parenting.

 

A side note, too, my stepson is almost 20 and has struggled horribly with dyslexia and extremely low motivation for his whole life--literally, when he was a newborn he failed to thrive for lack of interest in nursing, and he was like that throughout his childhood and until recently. He hated school and had very few friends. He graduated (phew!) from public school 1.5 years ago, taught himself to play guitar and has been learning Russian and Polish on his own from books he borrowed from the library. His guitar and language skills are amazing! None of us can believe it's really him, lol! The point is that, once he was removed from the external, stressful pressures, he immediately began to thrive on his own and really come into himself. He went from a suicidal, friendless teenager to an increasingly social, confident artist. I'm so excited to see what path he chooses as he grows!


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#7 of 15 Old 01-25-2011, 11:11 PM
 
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I HIGHLY recommend you and your husband watch this video: http://www.amazon.com/Unconditional-Parenting/dp/B000BBAA3U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1296022094&sr=8-1 It's only an hour or so long, so your husband can't gripe about a huge investment of time. He is an amazing speaker that really gets his ideas across. It's all about raising our children with respect for who they are. It's truly wonderful. It's a bit pricey, but a worthwhile investment.


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#8 of 15 Old 01-26-2011, 07:30 PM
 
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Short answer while dinner is cooking: they will learn about goal setting and doing the "less pleasant" things that are required as they get older and their interests become more sophisticated. At some point - it's inevitable - your children are going to really want to achieve some goal, and when they are mature enough to handle it they'll willingly do the "grunt work" because they can see the reward at the end of the tunnel. Part of it is developmental stage, as being able to see into the future and hold that in mind is something that happens at a specific time in development. And part of it is just that they want to pursue an interest beyond the basics and "simple stuff" into more complex stuff that requires meeting certain goals along the way. 

 

We're so stuck in the mindset of needing to be "taught" that we lose sight of what Real Life is like and the lessons it teaches us.


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#9 of 15 Old 01-27-2011, 01:50 AM
 
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Can I add something no doubt controversial? shy.gif

 

It took me a few decades to get this, but I think the path of least resistance is the best path, with the caveat that one acts to keep one's values. I don't think that must include drudgery, and if some aspect of keeping one's value seems to necessitate drudgery, but that person, in a deliberate evasion of drudgery, figures out a way to accomplish goals according to the value held without drudgery, then I think that is even more of a demonstration of perseverance, creativity and admirable ingenuity than if s/he had slogged through drudgery to get there.

 

I think that a lot of suffering is the result of a lack of creativity. I think that it is not only okay, but noble, to search for and enact the least strained, or even better, most progressive and efficient way of effecting one's goals.

 

I make art. When I attended an applied arts college (loads of studio, much less theory and history, though I've studied those extensively on my own), the expectation from professors was that students would practice drawing at least six hours in addition to our 24 hours of in-class studio, and 40 hours of "homework" each week. I commuted, and this was simply not possible for me. My daily commute took anywhere from 75 minutes to three hours due to immense daily traffic on the highway. At the end of my first year, my progress in life-drawing (nudes), having only three hours/week in-class, was not impressive. My portfolio for the year was graded for progress and also final accomplishment. We attended interviews to defend our progress with the director and professor. In my interview, I explained why I had no clocked extra hours, and that I just couldn't figure out how to represent the human figure well. I was honest, and a bit shocked that I received a B when the process was complete. My prof assured me that my drawing was not as poor as I thought, but even more shocking to me was his insistence that I not draw during the four month summer break! He told me to not draw at all!!! I spoke quite a bit to him about this, because a grade of C+ put students on academic probation, and being at that level for more than one semester in more than one class was grounds for dismissal.

 

Anyway, that summer it turned out to be easy to not draw at all because I needed to work a lot to pay for school, and decided also to move instead of continuing to commute as I had for the previous several years.

 

Once classes were in session again, the dreaded life-drawing that put me near the bottom of my class in skill (I was the top in everything else), began. I cannot express how completely and utterly my ability to see and to accurately and artfully represent the live models suddenly was. I kept thinking "this isn't real" while drawing, because it was so, so easy! My drawings were first on display as examples for upcoming and current students, and continued to be displayed for the remainder of my time there.

 

I learned a very powerful lesson. Sometimes the life that happens when we do (seemingly) nothing is the best education. Sometimes the easiest way is also the best way. My prof agreed that struggling and obsessively drawing would bring results, too, but the easy way, in his decades of experience as an artist and instructor, turned out to bring at least equal results, but usually better ones to those who were willing to risk just absorbing life, experiencing it however we do, and then coming back to it with refreshed eyes.

 

I have tried this principally, many times, and I have found that the results are always very satisfactory or better when I find the easiest way. I know that I could accomplish the results with lots of drudgery, too, but there is equal or more merit to me in finding the best way, which also seems to be consistently the easiest way: the path of least resistance.

 

This was a hard lesson for me to learn initially because I am very ambitious and have a very strong work ethic that demands excellence to align with my values. It turns out that it was just a matter of tweaking my definition of work to easily apply my ethic to my new discovery. It is not at all that I don't work hard; I do. But the hardest work I do happens in my head, long before I put my hands to a project. This perspective regressed my work ethic to attention to the questions I asked, so that the answers were relevant: rather than checking my answers against the questions, I checked my questions against reality and the answers just followed naturally, the path of least resistance.

 

Yes, forcing oneself through hours and hours of daily practice will bring satisfactory results in a best case, but the individual then has so much less time and energy available to formulate the purpose and values hierarchy that legitimizes the expenditure of his/her time and energy on the pursuit related to the practice, that s/he doesn't necessarily know if s/he's asked the right question. This is so, so huge. It is very important to me that my children not be hindered in the discovery of their own rhythm, their own work ethic, by the idea that one's results are only legitimized by having poured one's life energy and time into drudgery.


Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#10 of 15 Old 01-27-2011, 08:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PreggieUBA2C View Post

Can I add something no doubt controversial? shy.gif

 

It took me a few decades to get this, but I think the path of least resistance is the best path, with the caveat that one acts to keep one's values. I don't think that must include drudgery, and if some aspect of keeping one's value seems to necessitate drudgery, but that person, in a deliberate evasion of drudgery, figures out a way to accomplish goals according to the value held without drudgery, then I think that is even more of a demonstration of perseverance, creativity and admirable ingenuity than if s/he had slogged through drudgery to get there.

 

I think that a lot of suffering is the result of a lack of creativity. I think that it is not only okay, but noble, to search for and enact the least strained, or even better, most progressive and efficient way of effecting one's goals.


ITA.  I'm reminded of Calvin and Hobbes spending all day trying to build a bed making robot because his Mom told him to make his bed...  At the end of the day, although the robot did not make the bed, he found his goal was none the less accomplished in that he was going to bed without having had to make it earlier. lol.gif

 

 

 

And even if something someone would call drudgery comes up in my life, it seems it isn't really drudgery because I see the value in it and enjoy it as groundwork for the next level.  Possibly, people hate certain things and call them drudgery because they have associations of being made to do them or obliged to do them for some external reason that didn't have personal value.


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#11 of 15 Old 01-27-2011, 02:22 PM
 
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And even if something someone would call drudgery comes up in my life, it seems it isn't really drudgery because I see the value in it and enjoy it as groundwork for the next level.  Possibly, people hate certain things and call them drudgery because they have associations of being made to do them or obliged to do them for some external reason that didn't have personal value.

 

This is the case for me, too. Shifting my focus has had the incidental effect of bringing joy for me into particular activities that definitely are considered drudgery to others.

 

I'm going to be putting up a fence this spring. I'm chomping at the bit for the end of winter so that I can start the heavy physical labour and finicky hand-tying that this task requires. I talk about these sorts of things with a genuine smile on my face, but have found time and again that my smile is met with looks of sympathy, or expressions about how awful my task is, how the other person just couldn't do that, or that I should hire someone.

 

I think that drudgery is oftentimes concocted to give the appearance of legitimacy to an accomplishment. It's as if having worked unnecessarily hard or endured much tedium makes the result more satisfying or the individual more admirable. I have not found the latter to be the case at all.

 

I avoid drudgery if at all possible, through my own creativity and by realigning my values to more accurately reflect reality. :)
 


Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#12 of 15 Old 01-28-2011, 02:08 AM
 
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This. :)


Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#13 of 15 Old 01-28-2011, 06:02 AM
 
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This is a very inspiring thread, thanks!

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#14 of 15 Old 03-20-2011, 06:59 PM
 
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Fantastic thread. Thanks.

Preggie, that's exactly how I create as well. I am a writer (although not quite so much at the moment with 2 small children dominating my time), but I too create constantly and when I finally put pen to paper the "hard" work has already been done. I have the character's voices, setting, plot the lot is there ready to communicate with me.

I really needed to read this as sometimes society shouts down these ideas and I question myself and what I am trying to do for my children.

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#15 of 15 Old 03-22-2011, 05:42 PM
 
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Preggie, you put that so well. 

 

When people say things to me like "well, one day your child is going to have to go to work and do what their boss tells them, whether they feel like it or not, or else they'll get fired..." I can only think to myself "I hope not". Because really the choice of taking such a job is one made willingly by the employee. And maybe that's the right choice for them at that time in their life. But knowing it is the right choice then doesn't it mean that the person sees value in doing "what the boss tells them"? And if it's not the right choice then don't accept that situation as inevitable.

 

I don't like cleaning my house, but I have chosen to be the stay-home parent and taken on the role of housecleaning as part of my job description. I don't like the cleaning but I wouldn't change my job for a high-priced work-out-of-the-home career that affords a housekeeper, not for a minute. So really, it is my choice to clean the house, even if I don't like it. There are very few things in life that we are truly "forced" to do.

 

People make choices and if their choices make them miserable I don't think it's fair to suggest that "Real Life is just like that" and nothing you can do, so we'd better toughen up our kids while they're young. 


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