Mothering Forums

Mothering Forums (http://www.mothering.com/forum/)
-   Unschooling (http://www.mothering.com/forum/439-unschooling/)
-   -   "Why don't you make me do _____?" (http://www.mothering.com/forum/439-unschooling/1374049-why-don-t-you-make-me-do-_____.html)

moominmamma 02-06-2013 12:58 PM

I teach violin to a couple of unschooled kids including a 12-year-old boy. My younger dd, now 10, is also unschooled and has been struggling with her motivation to practice violin. She is in a master class (sort of a shared private lesson) with the 12-year-old and another boy, and last week I initiated a conversation amongst the kids about motivation for practicing. "Do you sometimes find it a struggle to practice consistently?" I asked, inviting comments and suggestions and commiseration from amongst the kids.

 

Amidst the conversation that followed, the 12-year-old said "Violin is no problem for me. But math, I have a curriculum for that that I want to do, but I really have trouble staying motivated."

 

"My mom makes me do math if I don't feel like it," said my dd. Which is sort of the truth. She asked me to make sure she does math three times a week, because she has a specific goal that she wants to complete this year and because she loves the sense of accomplishment she gets from progressing. So if she hasn't fit that in and there's no good reason (eg. illness, travel) to bail on her own expectations for the week, I sometimes initiate a session with her by suggesting a couple of times that would fit into the day and asking her to choose between them. I don't "make her" do it with bribes and punishments. I just say "Okay, you should do some math today. When do you want to do it?"

 

And the 12-year-old reacted to that by asking his dad "Why don't you make me do math? I told you I want to do it, but I just don't always feel like it. You should make me anyway, so I don't get down on myself for leaving it."

 

His dad responded by saying that "making" a child do schoolwork is what led him to hate learning as a child, so he wasn't going to do that to his own children. He said "I want your learning to be motivated by you."

 

Which really got me thinking. Clearly that dad and I have different interpretations of the idea of self-motivated learning. We both want our kids' learning to be self-motivated. But I consider it to be self-motivated if my child says "I would like you to hold me accountable so that I actually follow through on these goals I have for myself. " I consider structuring and initiating what my child has asked for (and admits she still wants, in the long-term scheme of things, if not necessarily while she's in the midst of watching a sitcom episode on the computer) to be supporting her self-motivated desires. The other kid's dad considers what I do to be over-riding the child's self-motivated desires. 

 

Where do you fall on this issue? Have you faced situations like this, where your child has asked you for help staying accountable, following through, sticking with something through the bumps? How did you react?

 

Miranda


onatightrope 02-06-2013 02:13 PM

We're an ADD-ish family.  I find that my kids benefit from and appreciate it if I help them structure their day so they get done the things that are important to them to do.  It took me a long time to learn to manage my own time, and I see refusing to help kids with this through the lens of remembering my own frustration in being unable to figure out how to do what I wanted to do.  

 

IMO, refusing to help kids with time management is no different than refusing to read aloud to a kid who is not yet able to read-- it's forcing the child to learn a particular skill before they can do other things.  


NorthernFamily 02-06-2013 02:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by onatightrope View Post

We're an ADD-ish family.  I find that my kids benefit from and appreciate it if I help them structure their day so they get done the things that are important to them to do.  It took me a long time to learn to manage my own time, and I see refusing to help kids with this through the lens of remembering my own frustration in being unable to figure out how to do what I wanted to do.  

 

IMO, refusing to help kids with time management is no different than refusing to read aloud to a kid who is not yet able to read-- it's forcing the child to learn a particular skill before they can do other things.  

 

Whoa, that just made a whole bunch of sense. I had no structure growing up and am working on learning my own time management. Your reply helped me, so thanks!


pickle18 02-09-2013 11:22 PM

I can see where he's coming from.  I adored school, but that love affair left me jilted, with a perpetual need to please, little self-confidence, impaired personal direction, AND a world of trouble with time management (self-discipline and goal setting).  I became intensely reliant on someone else setting my deadlines, breaking work into manageable chunks, and prodding me along.  As an adult out of school, I don't have that, and it's a serious obstacle for me to overcome.  It can be a crutch.

 

So while I don't think it's necessarily an obstacle to self-motivation, it is (or can be) to self-reliance.

 

I think a few factors are important - the child's age, for one (younger children have trouble thinking a day ahead, let alone long term).  Also, how involved the child is in setting up the terms of how/when you are supposed to remind them.  If they specifically ask for your help, and determine the rules of the road, and you deny that request - that's not being helpful, in my opinion.  In effect, you are denying them a valued resource, and modeling inconsiderate behavior.  Still, you'd have to know your child and gently guide them toward more self-sufficiency as they grow.

 

I think modeling is key, especially with a child old enough to fully understand.  Talking about your personal goals openly, how sometimes you get stuck, and how you get over that hump would be really helpful.  Maybe that could even lead into a conversation about their own goals and how they might need your help to stick to them.

 

After all, many people exercise with a trainer or a buddy to have a support system.  That's what I really see it as, as long as the child is continuing to grow and develop these skills on their own.  


SweetSilver 02-10-2013 09:38 AM

Knowing my girls and the way they resist, I also probably refuse to "make them" do anything like that, though I don't have anything against the examples set forth here on principle.  I also like the comparison with reading aloud.  However, if my daughters said "make me" sit and listen to reading aloud, I'm going to decline.  Or perhaps, I might try once-- doing like Miranda does, saying it would fit into the day, etc.  I might even remind them of what they had said.  But that is as far as I would take it.  

 

I refuse to struggle with them on things like this.  That's what I feel "making them" means.  Reminding them to do it when they are simply dragging their feet?  Well, I don't feel like that's much different than "make sure I'm up by 7:15 so I can make it to that early yoga class.  I keep missing it and I really want to go this time."  That's not "making them" in the other sense.

 

So, I think that Miranda is seeing this as the latter, and the father is seeing it as the former.


SweetSilver 02-10-2013 09:59 AM

ETA:  Recently we've dealt with a similar situation in regards to 4-H.  The meetings are more or less boring for them, but fair is--WOW!  I was tired of them dragging their feet to meetings or not going at all.  So, we had to talk about whether this was the best fit for us.  We discussed entering the Open Class at the fair (thumbs down) and doing 4-H as a family club.  But we decided that there was a lot of experience with fair and the whole process that we would be missing out on by doing this.  In the end, we are sticking with the status quo and the girls are dragging their feet less.

 

I know 4-H doesn't quite compare to violin and math as far as wanting an end and having to stick with the regular practice, but there are similarities.

 

I'm rethinking the comparison between time management requests and reading aloud as in the example.  I'm still mulling this over, but I don't think that time management skills are best learned through enforcing a routine, even by request.  I feel like the natural way to teach it is by modeling and perhaps talking together about the child's daily and weekly choices--in other words, dealing with the subject directly at that point.  "Making them" do math or whatever to help them learn time management skills as well as math?  Mmmmm....no.  

 

Reading aloud is one of the best things you can do for your child for so many reasons.  The reason it is so good is because it provides the best combination of modeling and simple joy.  Teaching time management might be important, but what would really compare to reading aloud in teaching it?  Sorry, OT......


onatightrope 02-10-2013 10:17 AM

Silver,

 

I compare them because I think the frustration the struggling child feels is similar.  A child who wants to know what the sign says and a child who wants to do X but can't get themselves organized to do it are both going to feel frustrated.  I think refusing to help an ADDish kid with time management is a lot like refusing to read to a kid with dyslexia.  There's a real disability that's getting in their way and failing to acknowledge the disability is not helpful, and may even be cruel.

 

I agree that providing structure doesn't teach time management-- although it may teach healthy routines that can be part of good time management-- but I think the learning of time management shouldn't be required, if what a kid really wants is to move forward with math or progress in violin, any more than a kid with dyslexia should have to wait until they figure out how to read to learn US history or find out why everyone is so excited about the Harry Potter series.  Deciding that "if they really wanted X, they'd figure out how to make it happen" makes sense to people for whom personal organization is easy, but if you struggle with it (and they have shown these are real differences in how some people's brains work that makes it much more difficult) it is an infuriating statement.  It's like saying "if that kind in leg braces really wanted to walk, they'd figure it out".


SweetSilver 02-10-2013 10:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by onatightrope View Post

Deciding that "if they really wanted X, they'd figure out how to make it happen" makes sense to people for whom personal organization is easy, but if you struggle with it (and they have shown these are real differences in how some people's brains work that makes it much more difficult) it is an infuriating statement.  It's like saying "if that kind in leg braces really wanted to walk, they'd figure it out".

Oh, I fully understand this! orngtongue.gif


onatightrope 02-10-2013 11:17 AM

This is the reason I am not sure we're really unschoolers.  I think having to do things I didn't like did help me some as a kid.  I think there's real damage done when kids are never asked "what do you want to do?", but I think there's a danger that people who naturally procrastinate doing things that are challenging may avoid learning important things, if there's no outside pressure to face the challenge.

 

I know this isn't a problem for lots of people-- they naturally get to a point where they want to work through whatever difficult thing-- but I'm not sure I'm okay with standing by and seeing how long my very bright daughter will avoid math because she can't do it all in her head now, and she dislikes the way her handwriting looks on the page.  She agrees in principle that this is something she needs to face, but in practice "now" is never the right time to do it, and I feel like we've established pretty conclusively that ignoring the problem is NOT making it better. We've talked about it a lot, and what I've come to realize is that she uses talking about it as a means of avoiding doing it.  The only way out is through, and I can't pretend the status quo is okay any longer.


moominmamma 02-10-2013 03:57 PM

I agree, SweetSilver, with your take on how the dad and I are viewing the scenario. A requested reminder to help with planning and time-management skills is one thing. Using pressure and parental edicts when requested reminders are resisted is another. But it can all be really fuzzy. 

 

If I say "It's two o'clock and you wanted me to remind you to do math at two," my kid might sigh and ignore the reminder.

If I say "It's two o'clock. Math time! I made you some tea. It's waiting on the table with your math stuff," my kid is much less likely to ignore the reminder.

If my kid says "I really don't want to do math today, even though I know I said I wanted you to push me," then I'd tend to leave things. 

But I could choose to say: "Remember the other day how you felt after finishing your math? You were so pleased with yourself! Sometimes the only hard part is getting started. Why don't you give it a go for five minutes anyway, and if you don't feel okay about it after getting started, then sure, just leave it." And maybe my kid will say yes, and try it, and get over the hump and have a good day.

Or my kid could just say no anyway, or give it a try and bail after five minutes.

 

Generally I am willing to provide structure and reminders for my kid if asked. I agree with onatightrope that to deny that kind of specific request for help with learning feels wrong. I know that as an adult I often ask for help or create accountability for myself when I'm trying to stay motivated to do something. I log my running miles publicly with my running group, I ask family members to remind me to get around to certain things I tend to procrastinate about, that sort of thing. It doesn't feel controlling, coercive or toxic to be held mildly accountable at your own request. If it's 9 pm and I haven't taken the dog for a run yet, I may not necessarily appreciate being prodded by my 14-year-old, but if she reminds me that I promised to do three runs with the dog this week I'll often strap on my headlamp, bundle up, and make it happen -- and feel good about it.

 

If a child resists the kind of structure and guidance that they have requested from the parent, then I think the request needs to be renegotiated. If a little bit of pressure is all that's needed, I'd have a chat with the child and say "I feel a little bit badly pushing you to practice piano. Remember Tuesday and Wednesday this week? I know you didn't really want to practice when I told you it was time, and it was hard for me to give you that bit of a push. So I need to know ... is that what you want me to do in that sort of situation? Is that kind of a push helpful? I'll do it if you want, but it doesn't really feel so great for me." 

 

If a lot of pressure is needed, I won't go there: in that respect I agree with the dad of my violin student. I'll let whatever it is remain undone. But if that happens more than once in a very long while I'd follow up with a conversation. "You asked me to help you stick to your plan to practice Spanish three times a week, but then when it comes time, you're refusing my help. When I get that kind of resistance there's not really any way I can make it happen. After all, it's you that either does the work or not. So either I'm giving entirely the wrong sort of help, in which case I need you to tell me what I should do, or else you've discovered that your plan isn't really what you want anymore. Do you have any idea which it is? Because we definitely need a more reasonable way of dealing with this."

 

So in a nutshell, I see a very important role for the parent in supporting a child's planning, goal-setting and structured expectations ..... but gently. If something more than gentle support seems to be necessary, I think it's time to go back to the drawing board. I think there is a danger in the child absolving him or herself of the responsibility of following through on plans by foisting that responsibility onto the parent. At most the responsibility should be shared. And if the sharing is contributing to conflict and negativity, it definitely needs to be renegotiated.

 

Miranda


pek64 02-10-2013 04:14 PM

I don't have time to read all the responses, but here's my thoughts.

If the child has asked for help achieving a goal, then the parent(s) should honor that request and help. They need to agree on what "making him do math" means, whether it means taking away a privilege or enforcing "now is math time, and nothing else". Once the ground rules have been established, they should be followed. Otherwise, the parent is not really doing his/her job. It's wrong to expect all children to have the exact same skill set, and it says volumes about the child that he recognizes where he needs help, and asks for it.

I would probably ask him about his progress in math at each lesson, sort of filling in for the parent. Not taking up too much time, or being too obvious, just consistent. But that's me.


Edited to remove a stray question mark.

pickle18 02-10-2013 05:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

 

I'm rethinking the comparison between time management requests and reading aloud as in the example.  I'm still mulling this over, but I don't think that time management skills are best learned through enforcing a routine, even by request.  I feel like the natural way to teach it is by modeling and perhaps talking together about the child's daily and weekly choices--in other words, dealing with the subject directly at that point.  "Making them" do math or whatever to help them learn time management skills as well as math?  Mmmmm....no.  

I agree wholeheartedly with this.  If anything, I think "making them" is counterproductive - perhaps the project will be completed, but they won't have learned time management and self-discipline.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

If I say "It's two o'clock and you wanted me to remind you to do math at two," my kid might sigh and ignore the reminder.

If I say "It's two o'clock. Math time! I made you some tea. It's waiting on the table with your math stuff," my kid is much less likely to ignore the reminder.

If my kid says "I really don't want to do math today, even though I know I said I wanted you to push me," then I'd tend to leave things. 

But I could choose to say: "Remember the other day how you felt after finishing your math? You were so pleased with yourself! Sometimes the only hard part is getting started. Why don't you give it a go for five minutes anyway, and if you don't feel okay about it after getting started, then sure, just leave it." And maybe my kid will say yes, and try it, and get over the hump and have a good day.

Or my kid could just say no anyway, or give it a try and bail after five minutes.

...

This seems entirely reasonable.  To me, all that amounts to is setting your child up for success (tea is considerate, not coercive).  The assistance itself is as child-led as the learning.  And learning to give things a shot and get over the initial resistance is an important lifelong skill - backed up with your own examples (like telling them about your resistance to running with the dog, but how you felt better once you got outside - or, alternately, a time you did something for five minutes and realized you really weren't in the mood, and so shelved it). I think that could be very helpful, indeed (again, as long as they are perfectly free to shoot down the suggestion).

 

So in a nutshell, I see a very important role for the parent in supporting a child's planning, goal-setting and structured expectations ..... but gently. If something more than gentle support seems to be necessary, I think it's time to go back to the drawing board. I think there is a danger in the child absolving him or herself of the responsibility of following through on plans by foisting that responsibility onto the parent. At most the responsibility should be shared. And if the sharing is contributing to conflict and negativity, it definitely needs to be renegotiated.

^ That is the very real possibility I am guarded against.  But I think you can feel when the balance has shifted, and - as you said - renegotiate.  I don't think abdicating their personal responsibility for setting goals and seeing them through is in any way helpful to them as they grow into adults.  Reminders - sure.  Modeling - definitely.  But parents taking the lead so much that it permits them to totally shift responsibility, grumble and groan and blame you for "making them" - that can be a dangerous road to travel, in many areas of life (time management, interpersonal relationships, etc.).  I would want my child to take full ownership of the interest/project, and maybe credit me with helping them stick to it (again, back to the exercise example I mentioned upthread - which it sounds like this is what your daughter meant).  


onatightrope 02-10-2013 05:49 PM

Quote:
  I would want my child to take full ownership of the interest/project, and maybe credit me with helping them stick to it (again, back to the exercise example I mentioned upthread - which it sounds like this is what your daughter meant).  

 

But what if your child isn't ready for "full ownership"? It seems like a lot to expect of a 10 or 12 year old.

 

I've known a few kids who returned to school in large part because they wanted more structure than their unschooly parents were willing to provide, and were worried that they weren't getting enough academic work done. It's true that a parent taking on responsibility for a goal of the child won't help them learn time management or planning, but if it helps them achieve something they want to achieve, isn't that something?


SweetSilver 02-10-2013 07:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by onatightrope View Post

I've known a few kids who returned to school in large part because they wanted more structure than their unschooly parents were willing to provide, and were worried that they weren't getting enough academic work done. It's true that a parent taking on responsibility for a goal of the child won't help them learn time management or planning, but if it helps them achieve something they want to achieve, isn't that something?

This depends entirely on the relationship between parents and children both in regards to the academic and the non-academic.  

 

This is where I'm at right now:  I am not going to fight my kids about stuff like this.  Some kids--I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was most kids-- seem more willing to go along with adults outside their immediate family than with parents.  I even felt this in myself even as an adult talking with my parents.  If I had tried as far as I was comfortable, and my child resisted me and then decided to pursue academics in school because they felt I wasn't rigorous enough for them--good!  Perhaps then I can keep what good relationship I have with my kids intact.


moominmamma 02-10-2013 07:57 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

If I had tried as far as I was comfortable, and my child resisted me and then decided to pursue academics in school because they felt I wasn't rigorous enough for them--good!  Perhaps then I can keep what good relationship I have with my kids intact.

 

This is the story of my older kids, sort of. They decided that their homeschooling was not structured enough for them, particularly with respect to a couple of academic areas, were unable to structure it themselves, were (after trying various agreements) unable to abide by whatever structure they devised for me to help them implement, and decided it was best to get that structure enforced for them somewhere that didn't put relationships in jeopardy. We had enough respectful conversations about the various issues that they don't blame me for the fact that unschooling wasn't serving them they way they'd like. They just wanted a different flavour of education at that point in their lives. I'm happy with how it turned out, they're doing well in school, they're happy, and we continue to have very good relationships. 

 

Miranda


ambersrose 02-10-2013 11:14 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

Where do you fall on this issue? Have you faced situations like this, where your child has asked you for help staying accountable, following through, sticking with something through the bumps? How did you react?

 

 

My kids have never asked me to help them stay accountable but a while back my 9 year old expressed interest in learning some further math skills.  I talked with her to find out what exactly she was wanting to learn.  She explained that she wanted to fully understand the multiplication process.  For the next three or four months I made sure to verbally and in writing show her how I used multiplication in situations that came up in our day to day lives (it comes up a lot so that was not hard).  I know there were times she did not listen to me as I worked out the math problem aloud and that was okay with me.  She did listen a lot of the time and now she has it down,  

I also talk about time management with my kids.  I explain to them why I follow a loose schedule during the day.  It helps me to feel better mentally and allows me to get things done.   I think if one of my children came to me asking for help with staying accountable then I would suggest they work out their own daily schedule to include the study time they desired.  I would suggest they set a timer to remind them of their "study time" .  


onatightrope 02-11-2013 07:38 AM

I'm not that worried about damaging my relationship with my kids by giving them the structure they need to get done what they want to get done.  I know plenty of traditional homeschoolers with great relationships with their kids. I'm fine with my kids choosing school because it's what they want, but if they are choosing school because they want to see themselves making progress in math, and lack the discipline to make that happen without outside structure, I don't see why sending them to school for that is inherently better than providing significant structure at home.

 

I'm not saying it's worse either, to be clear, I think school is a reasonable option for some kids. But if the goal is to give kids as much freedom as possible, giving them structure for a couple subjects at home seems like it would be more freeing than going to school all day. 

 

I suspect that to some extent this could be like the decision whether a teen/young adult should work for the family business under the supervision of a parent, or go get a job elsewhere. There could be advantages and disadvantages to either, and where people would draw the line for what they are and are not willing to do to keep their kid employed in the family business is going to be very personal.


SweetSilver 02-11-2013 09:18 AM

Again, all good points, but it comes down not to whether to provide structure for the kids, it comes down to whether the kids will accept the structure you offer.  I'm pointing out problems of resistance, and how far a parent is willing to push something when there is resistance.  If there is no battle, just some grumbling, then fine.  But I will not play the role of drill sergeant, if it comes down to that being necessary for them to go along with the structure.  


moominmamma 02-11-2013 11:00 AM

Yes, it's hard to know from such a brief conversation, but reading between the lines I think the problem for the boy and his dad arose when the requested structure was resisted. That was my assumption, anyway, given how the dad reacted to the boy's statement. "Make me" implies that the parent would have to somehow over-ride the child's desires at the time. While the child might have wonderful intentions on Sunday when he gives his dad the job of reminding him throughout the week to do something, when Tuesday rolls around and dad does the actual reminding and attempts to ensure that the task is done, conflict arises -- and that negativity then infiltrates not only the parent-child relationship but the child's relationship with his educational subject matter.

I too know many families where the kids are subjected to top-down parental expectations and family relationships are strong. I know it's possible for some families to have healthy relationships in the presence of parental structure. The question I have is what one does when structure, particularly that requested by the child, is resisted and ends up being a source of conflict.

Miranda

pek64 02-11-2013 02:04 PM

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 *not* (this "not" was missing earlier) 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?


Edited to insert a missing "not".

SweetSilver 02-11-2013 06:24 PM

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.)


SweetSilver 02-11-2013 06:42 PM

*


moominmamma 02-11-2013 07:56 PM

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


pek64 02-11-2013 09:31 PM

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.

pickle18 02-11-2013 09:36 PM

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...


pek64 02-11-2013 09:51 PM

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.

pek64 02-11-2013 10:09 PM

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.

moominmamma 02-11-2013 10:54 PM

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


pek64 02-11-2013 11:01 PM

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.

moominmamma 02-11-2013 11:11 PM

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



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:17 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.