I'd like to incorporate some "tiger mother" ideas - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-23-2011, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not the yelling or namecalling or no sleepovers.  Just the ideas of practice until mastery so that advanced ideas can be tackled.  We do Classical Method.  Wondering if anyone has ideas about how to incorporate some of Amy Chua's ideas?

 

I REALLY do not want this to devolve into a discussion of how I should not yell at my kids, etc.  No duh.  I want to seriously discuss the whys and hows of practice until mastery and the value of hard work and focus.


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Old 01-23-2011, 02:13 PM
 
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I am intrigued by this idea

 

don't think its our thing, we're pretty laid back, but always find different ideas interesting


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Old 01-23-2011, 09:21 PM
 
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well, if you are not going to yell or in some way push your authority on your child I would think that the way to encourage your child to work at something until it is mastered is to wait until the child shows a genuine interest in something.  Then they will have the desire to put some time and energy into it.  Then you can be supportive and encouraging and gently show them they can master anything they put time and energy into.  This will encourage them to do the same in more areas of their life.  I dont think the idea of working on something until it is mastered is a "tiger mom" exclusive idea, it is the method of how it is "taught" to the child that makes it "tiger". 


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Old 01-24-2011, 03:36 AM
 
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I suppose I will not be popular, but though I do not think of myself as a `tiger mom`, however I do not accept shoddy work from my homeschooled children. My daughter is old enough (8) to correct ALL spelling mistakes, to rewrite as many times as it takes for the composition to be of acceptable quality with not too many erasures. Nothing goes into her folder which is not of the best quality and she would not want it to.

 

Today, she had to write a list of books she has enjoyed about famlies going from most to least favorite. The instructions were to underline all titles, use capital letters where appropriate, and also to give the authors. It took her 4 attempts to produce this without error and neat handwriting throughout.

 

Her compositions have become much much better since we have been working like this. She has improved in spelling and her test results are much better. The other difference is she is homeschooled and not at school anymore.

 

She enjoys working, and always tries to do her best and knows I will not accept less than this. It works for us, but I have to say though we get great results I do not enjoy pushing her like this. I feel that it is tough being her mother (who loves her) and her teacher who has a duty to get her to do her best and continue to improve.

 

At school she was allowed to make spelling mistakes without correction, and her handwriting was not an issue. They were very easy going.

As her result her spelling and handwriting were not great at all. Now she her handwriting is almost as skillful as mine, and her spelling much improved.

 

It has meant repetition and a lot of redoing of work for her.  I do NOT shout or run her down, let alone name call. I do however ask her if SHE thinks she has done her best and if she thinks anything could be better, and help her correct spelling mistakes.

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Old 01-24-2011, 06:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmmochi View Post

I suppose I will not be popular, but though I do not think of myself as a `tiger mom`, however I do not accept shoddy work from my homeschooled children. My daughter is old enough (8) to correct ALL spelling mistakes, to rewrite as many times as it takes for the composition to be of acceptable quality with not too many erasures. Nothing goes into her folder which is not of the best quality and she would not want it to.

 

Today, she had to write a list of books she has enjoyed about famlies going from most to least favorite. The instructions were to underline all titles, use capital letters where appropriate, and also to give the authors. It took her 4 attempts to produce this without error and neat handwriting throughout.

 

Her compositions have become much much better since we have been working like this. She has improved in spelling and her test results are much better. The other difference is she is homeschooled and not at school anymore.

 

She enjoys working, and always tries to do her best and knows I will not accept less than this. It works for us, but I have to say though we get great results I do not enjoy pushing her like this. I feel that it is tough being her mother (who loves her) and her teacher who has a duty to get her to do her best and continue to improve.

 

At school she was allowed to make spelling mistakes without correction, and her handwriting was not an issue. They were very easy going.

As her result her spelling and handwriting were not great at all. Now she her handwriting is almost as skillful as mine, and her spelling much improved.

 

It has meant repetition and a lot of redoing of work for her.  I do NOT shout or run her down, let alone name call. I do however ask her if SHE thinks she has done her best and if she thinks anything could be better, and help her correct spelling mistakes.



mmmmochi--we do something similar with DS1.  We ask if this is his best, and have a certain level to which his work must meet.  I've noticed that some days he'll rush through things in order to go play or whatever--and on those occasions, I will make him do it over.  Handwriting must be of a certain level of neatness.  For spelling, I do have him look up words he misspelled in his dictionary, etc.

 

Re: the OP--I'm interested to see what you find.  I do have friends who were very tiger Mom in their raising of their kids.  For example, the kids did not get allowance at all--all spending money for the term was dependent on grades, and their kids only got so much for all As, and nothing after that.  (I think there might have been an allowance for one B--but I'm not sure.)  Their "jobs" were to be students, nothing else.  For me, I would really like my kids to have a good work ethic--and to realize that they need to work on the difficult things, and not just give up or want things to be easy.  I'm not sure how to get there, though. :)  


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Old 01-24-2011, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmmochi View Post

I suppose I will not be popular, but though I do not think of myself as a `tiger mom`, however I do not accept shoddy work from my homeschooled children. My daughter is old enough (8) to correct ALL spelling mistakes, to rewrite as many times as it takes for the composition to be of acceptable quality with not too many erasures. Nothing goes into her folder which is not of the best quality and she would not want it to.

 

Today, she had to write a list of books she has enjoyed about famlies going from most to least favorite. The instructions were to underline all titles, use capital letters where appropriate, and also to give the authors. It took her 4 attempts to produce this without error and neat handwriting throughout.

 

Her compositions have become much much better since we have been working like this. She has improved in spelling and her test results are much better. The other difference is she is homeschooled and not at school anymore.

 

She enjoys working, and always tries to do her best and knows I will not accept less than this. It works for us, but I have to say though we get great results I do not enjoy pushing her like this. I feel that it is tough being her mother (who loves her) and her teacher who has a duty to get her to do her best and continue to improve.

 

At school she was allowed to make spelling mistakes without correction, and her handwriting was not an issue. They were very easy going.

As her result her spelling and handwriting were not great at all. Now she her handwriting is almost as skillful as mine, and her spelling much improved.

 

It has meant repetition and a lot of redoing of work for her.  I do NOT shout or run her down, let alone name call. I do however ask her if SHE thinks she has done her best and if she thinks anything could be better, and help her correct spelling mistakes.



I think this seems like a good idea.  I, too, struggle with being his mom and expecting the best out of him.  It is easier for me to do it when it comes to things like discipline or manners, but doing it for school is still difficult.


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Old 01-24-2011, 08:44 AM
 
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I just object to the idea that you must master something before you're able to enjoy it.  If that were true, how do I enjoy any of my many hobbies?  I suck at half of them...but I still enjoy them.

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Old 01-24-2011, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe not master, but they do become more fun as you get better.  Once you have done the learning curve a few times, you learn that learning and mastery are fun, not a chore.


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Old 01-24-2011, 10:30 AM
 
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Have you seen this NY Times article? 

 

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/21/the-economics-of-tiger-parenting/


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Old 01-24-2011, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by joensally View Post

Have you seen this NY Times article? 

 

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/21/the-economics-of-tiger-parenting/



Thanks - that was interesting!  Makes me think I should not have dropped out of Yale Law - I'd have had so much time to write about parenting!!!


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Old 01-24-2011, 11:19 AM
 
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Try this for ideas http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/ 

 

I have swim team, gymnastics team, dance company, etc. coaches to urge my kids to practice to mastery.  Of course they do not call them names or push them down in splits, etc.  But I think in the US we think these activities show kids that to get the skills you log the hours. 

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Old 01-24-2011, 11:37 AM
 
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Hmmmm.... well some of her ideas are good (like no TV and VG), but I think it's dangerous to place huge expectations on your kids and to be too controlling.  For instance I don't understand why she wouldn't allow her daughters to pick their own instruments, or how she could demand they always be top in their class.  But on the other hand I think it's ok to "demand" mastery of certain skills like math, grammar etc..  It's a fine line between leadership and control.  So maybe moderation is the key-- pick your battles.  Attachment parents are so terrified of emotionally damaging their children that they don't realize it sometimes is ok to stick to your guns despite a child's crying and whining over nothing more than not wanting to work.  Work is part of life-- hard work is part of life-- and it always will be.

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Old 01-24-2011, 11:40 AM
 
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I think pigpokey makes a great point.  Coaching is the kind of area where encouraging towards mastery works well.  Also, kids probably see other kids up close who are working or have mastered the skills they're working on.  And they usually get opportunities to 'show off' the fruits of their labours, like recitals or competitions.  Schoolwork doesn't really work the same way, unless you set it up specifically that way.

 

I think a big key here is for the kids to see you pushing yourself the way you want them to push themselves.  "Be type A with yourself, type B with your kids' is a phrase I like.  They will be more likely to work towards mastery if they see others in their life doing the same.  So if you used to play the piano or wish you did but bemoan your lack of talent or time to practice, that's what they'll learn.  If you have your own interests and talents that you are working on, or skills you are pushing yourself to master, or if you are training towards, say, being able to run or swim a certain distance, or whatever, they will be more likely to learn to push themselves that way.

 

And I don't think this kind of coaching/pushing/encouraging usually works for kids younger than, say, teenagers.  When it does, I think it is because the child is motivated and talented.  It might seem like it's the parents being able to motivate them the right way, but I really don't think it works with every kid.  Only kids who are ready for that at a young age.  It might be nice for the child to be 'ahead of the game' with, say, proficiency on the piano, so they don't have as much slogging through the basics to do when they are older, but in the majority of cases, I think it's wasted time.  And likely to result in the child deciding that they hate the piano because they're being pushed or simply cannot reach that level of proficiency at that age.

 

I do like some of her points about having faith that your children can do things and not treating them like delicate sugar cookies that will crumble under the slightest pressure, but I don't agree with the obsession with excellence for such young kids.  Teens?  Yes, I think they can handle more pressure and higher expectations, when they show interest and after a more relaxed, playful childhood.

 

I don't know if this article has been posted here, but he makes some similar points about teaching math: it doesn't get you further ahead overall to be further ahead as a young child.


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Old 01-24-2011, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the links.  I'll read them shortly. 

 

 

Quote:
Hmmmm.... well some of her ideas are good (like no TV and VG), but I think it's dangerous to place huge expectations on your kids and to be too controlling.  For instance I don't understand why she wouldn't allow her daughters to pick their own instruments, or how she could demand they always be top in their class.  But on the other hand I think it's ok to "demand" mastery of certain skills like math, grammar etc..  It's a fine line between leadership and control.  So maybe moderation is the key-- pick your battles.  Attachment parents are so terrified of emotionally damaging their children that they don't realize it sometimes is ok to stick to your guns despite a child's crying and whining over nothing more than not wanting to work.  Work is part of life-- hard work is part of life-- and it always will be.

 

 

I agree.

 

Today, I had to break in the middle of school b/c the baby needed me.  When it was time to go back and finish, ds1 was already tuned out.  He didn't want to complete the math chapter, but I knew it was easy review for him, so I made him do it.  He whined a bit, and then was done in 10 minutes.  He is fine now and no harm done.


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Old 01-24-2011, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Brisen View Post

 

I think a big key here is for the kids to see you pushing yourself the way you want them to push themselves.  "Be type A with yourself, type B with your kids' is a phrase I like.  They will be more likely to work towards mastery if they see others in their life doing the same.  So if you used to play the piano or wish you did but bemoan your lack of talent or time to practice, that's what they'll learn.  If you have your own interests and talents that you are working on, or skills you are pushing yourself to master, or if you are training towards, say, being able to run or swim a certain distance, or whatever, they will be more likely to learn to push themselves that way.

 

Yes, well.  I was not pushed in the "right" way, I think.  Now I can do it to myself, and I do (working towards fitness goals, and then writing a book.)  But this was not always the case, and that is why I want to teach it to my kids early.


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Old 01-24-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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i think it is very important to remember, generally, you get what you settle for and kids live up to expectaions -- i think haveing highe expectations and not settleing for less than good work is a good key.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmmochi View Post

I suppose I will not be popular, but though I do not think of myself as a `tiger mom`, however I do not accept shoddy work from my homeschooled children. My daughter is old enough (8) to correct ALL spelling mistakes, to rewrite as many times as it takes for the composition to be of acceptable quality with not too many erasures. Nothing goes into her folder which is not of the best quality and she would not want it to.

 

Today, she had to write a list of books she has enjoyed about famlies going from most to least favorite. The instructions were to underline all titles, use capital letters where appropriate, and also to give the authors. It took her 4 attempts to produce this without error and neat handwriting throughout.

 

Her compositions have become much much better since we have been working like this. She has improved in spelling and her test results are much better. The other difference is she is homeschooled and not at school anymore.

 

She enjoys working, and always tries to do her best and knows I will not accept less than this. It works for us, but I have to say though we get great results I do not enjoy pushing her like this. I feel that it is tough being her mother (who loves her) and her teacher who has a duty to get her to do her best and continue to improve.

 

At school she was allowed to make spelling mistakes without correction, and her handwriting was not an issue. They were very easy going.

As her result her spelling and handwriting were not great at all. Now she her handwriting is almost as skillful as mine, and her spelling much improved.

 

It has meant repetition and a lot of redoing of work for her.  I do NOT shout or run her down, let alone name call. I do however ask her if SHE thinks she has done her best and if she thinks anything could be better, and help her correct spelling mistakes.


I think it is our role as adults to say -- out loud -- "yes it is fustrating to do it a 3rd time, or to pratice handwritting each day, but nothing is fun untill you are good at it, you do not want to be in high school and have you handwritting preventing you from doing wath you want" .... to make it 'real' and to -- put the reality of mastery and the need for it and the 'less than fuyn part of it' out tehre
 


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Old 01-24-2011, 04:22 PM
 
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Of course I want my daughter to enjoy learning, but she is not mastering spelling and grammar for enjoyment, she is mastering it so she can have a good future. Work is not always fun, but it is always necessary.

 

However, saying that to her makes me feel plain guilty. She has goals set out, short medium and long term goals. Long term she has things like `to study chemistry in University in New York`, medium term things like `I want to make my own rocket`, short term `I want to master the periodic table`. She sees she is working forward and all this repetition and practice is leading towards greater things. She does get rewards for hard work that she would not get otherwise, worked out by a point system. 10 points equals a sum of money to spend as she likes.

I know she can do what I am asking of her, Im just asking for her to do her best.

 

If she wants to drop out as an adult and do something non academic, at least I will have given her the option and she will be a well educated young lady with every chance in the world. Its a harsh world out there, and I might not always be around to protect her, she has to be able to survive and thrive alone

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Old 01-24-2011, 05:28 PM
 
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How many times do I wish I would have stuck with something as a child? Umm....about a BILLION. Unfortunately, nobody was sitting there making me practice my guitar, for example. But I just never did...and eventually, well, I quit. (Actually, the teacher suggested I quit.)

 

I feel like all I read is either two ends of the spectrum. Let the kid do whatever...and now....make the kid do something. While I'm not one for yelling that my children are "trash," it is nice to see that, yes, if you want to be good at something, you have to PRACTICE.

 

The kid who got the perfect SATs? The girl who got 2nd place at the swim meet...anyone who can play piano....THEY ALL PRACTICED. And I have a feeling they didn't want to, always, either.

 

I am also intrigued by this idea. No need to yell or make them feel like a bad person, but DEFINITELY instilling a hard work ethic is important to me. And yes, I actually sat at the table with an eraser the other day erasing things and making my kids rewrite them.

 

Practice makes perfect...or at least good enough.


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Old 01-24-2011, 05:49 PM
 
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I think holding your kids to realistic standards with the aim of mastery is perfectly reasonable. I wouldn't lump that in with "tiger mothering" in the least because of the extremity, but a middle of the road approach works for us. There are things that I do well because I like to, but there's others that I do well because I was taught to do them well, even when I didn't want to, and I'm so glad I was.


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Old 01-24-2011, 07:14 PM
 
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Maybe, it's about knowing your kiddos?  My oldest daughter is a perfectionist.  She is incedibly hard on herself sometimes.  When she was younger, she would be reduced to tears because she didn't do something perfectly the first time.  We have worked with her over the years to have realistic expectations of herself and others.  She doesn't quit if she can't do something perfectly, but will work at it to the point of being physically and emotionally exhaustion.  She's had learn to recognize her emotional and physical signals to take a break.

 

I have other kiddos who need the extra push, who need to be asked "Is that your best?"  Not in punutive way, but to encourage introspection.  Sometimes, I have to realistically accept that perhaps that is the best he can do for that day, but he will try it again tomorrow.  My youngest son, will be reduced to an sobbing wreak some days if he feels our (or any other instructors) expectations are too high.  I'm really torn with him between giving a little extra push versus knowing when to back off and revisit the battle tomorrow.


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Old 01-24-2011, 09:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma Aimee View Post
I think it is our role as adults to say -- out loud -- "yes it is fustrating to do it a 3rd time, or to pratice handwritting each day, but nothing is fun untill you are good at it, you do not want to be in high school and have you handwritting preventing you from doing wath you want" .... to make it 'real' and to -- put the reality of mastery and the need for it and the 'less than fuyn part of it' out tehre

 


I think it works better if you can create engaging and meaningful situations where your child experiences that doing something over and over again results in impressive long-term gains and a sense of self-satisfaction that comes through ease and improvement. I can tell my kids stuff like this until I'm blue in the face but they won't truly get it until they experience it for themselves. For us, outside music instrument lessons, vigorously but lovingly supported by parents at home, has been the best way to experience this. My 8-year-old has been playing violin for 5 years. When she meets challenges in math or handwriting she is likely to say something like "I need to practice this a few times every day to make it easy, just like with violin."

 

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Old 01-24-2011, 09:28 PM
 
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I have a DD in dance. She has two big issues--confidence, and impulsivity. We are working on confidence, giving her many chances to perform for friends and family to prepare for being on-stage more. She just volunteered to be in a talent show, which is big for her! And she's talked to many friends and family members who did/do dance, confirming that "Real ballet is real hard work." I thought about that when reading Chua. 

 

Of course you can have hobbies that you dabble in, but if you don't put in the truly hard work to master any art, it will likely remain a hobby for yourself and not something that you joyously share with the community. I learned to knit a few years ago. I am horrible at it. Every so often, I try again, but unless/until I put in enough time to really learn to knit, I wouldn't subject others to my off-kilter knitting. I wouldn't give it as gifts. I don't have to become the world's greatest knitter, but I do have to put in a fair amount of effort before it can really be fun.


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Old 01-24-2011, 09:33 PM
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Maybe, it's about knowing your kiddos?  My oldest daughter is a perfectionist.  She is incedibly hard on herself sometimes.  When she was younger, she would be reduced to tears because she didn't do something perfectly the first time.  We have worked with her over the years to have realistic expectations of herself and others.  She doesn't quit if she can't do something perfectly, but will work at it to the point of being physically and emotionally exhaustion.  She's had learn to recognize her emotional and physical signals to take a break.

 

I have other kiddos who need the extra push, who need to be asked "Is that your best?"  Not in punutive way, but to encourage introspection.  Sometimes, I have to realistically accept that perhaps that is the best he can do for that day, but he will try it again tomorrow.  My youngest son, will be reduced to an sobbing wreak some days if he feels our (or any other instructors) expectations are too high.  I'm really torn with him between giving a little extra push versus knowing when to back off and revisit the battle tomorrow.

 

I have a couple perfectionists as well.  It has been quite a balancing act; I want to raise my children to become emotionally stable adults who aren't afraid to try something simply because they might mess up.  My oldest did get a bit lazy this year though, and we went over expectations and I am enforcing them.  She won't get paid (in points or money) for this because, for us, we want the satisfaction of a job well done to be motivating in itself.  We praise good work, may even show it off to someone.  Not everything is required to be done in "final copy" mode.  Journals aren't.  Math homework isn't EXCEPT that it has to be neat enough that I don't struggle to follow what they did or to read the answer.  The girls take such pride in their "penmanship" homework, it has never been an issue with that.  One may wonder though if they were to see both the journal and the penmanship page if they were done by the same child :)  If things are really messy, I ask the child to read it back to me.  Generally, they get stumped somewhere along the way and they know that if THEY can't read their own work, how could someone else.  They go fix it without nagging/yelling/etc.

 

Amy
 


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Old 01-25-2011, 06:35 AM
 
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I think it is our role as adults to say -- out loud -- "yes it is fustrating to do it a 3rd time, or to pratice handwritting each day, but nothing is fun untill you are good at it, you do not want to be in high school and have you handwritting preventing you from doing wath you want" .... to make it 'real' and to -- put the reality of mastery and the need for it and the 'less than fuyn part of it' out tehre

 


I think it works better if you can create engaging and meaningful situations where your child experiences that doing something over and over again results in impressive long-term gains and a sense of self-satisfaction that comes through ease and improvement. I can tell my kids stuff like this until I'm blue in the face but they won't truly get it until they experience it for themselves. For us, outside music instrument lessons, vigorously but lovingly supported by parents at home, has been the best way to experience this. My 8-year-old has been playing violin for 5 years. When she meets challenges in math or handwriting she is likely to say something like "I need to practice this a few times every day to make it easy, just like with violin."

 

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Yes! My DD is only a violin beginner (and only 4.5). Today she was listening to a recording of the first piece in Suzuki book one. She said:

"She can play that so fast and well! I guess that's because she has practiced for so long." She is starting to understand that hard (or at least consistent) work is the way to results already and she has never been forced to do anything.


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Old 01-25-2011, 01:06 PM
 
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Just wanted to say that I am glad to see this thread on here. :)  I read an article about this book in Time magazine, with an interview with Chua, and I was inspired in some ways by her.  As others have said, not by the name calling, etc.  But it reminded me of my childhood, and how much I *practiced* things.  I am so thankful my parents expected the best from me, because like Chua, I now have many options in my adult life.  I want that for my kids.

 

In fact, this morning we practiced writing numbers 1-10 on the chalkboard.  I want to do that every morning, to get to the point where DD can easily do this.  She had fun, I had fun - but I was "pushing" a bit in teaching her the right way to do it, and having her do it again until she got it right.  For some reason, that felt like it wouldn't fit in with my parenting/schooling ideas of "gentle discipline" and attachment parenting.  But, in fact, it does. :)  We then moved on to our learning games and did the rest of our schooling.  There was no damage done by requesting she do this rote task as well as I knew she could; and I could tell she had a sense of pride about doing it well.

 

Anyway, as I said, glad to see that others in the Mothering community feel the same way!

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Old 01-25-2011, 02:57 PM
 
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I think holding your kids to realistic standards with the aim of mastery is perfectly reasonable. I wouldn't lump that in with "tiger mothering" in the least because of the extremity, but a middle of the road approach works for us. There are things that I do well because I like to, but there's others that I do well because I was taught to do them well, even when I didn't want to, and I'm so glad I was.


I agree. Honestly, even as a hardcore Virgo perfectionist, this Tiger Mother thing makes me want to vomit. My mother had no problems telling me my A's were not good enough growing up. It did not make me do better. It made me give up so I failed many classes. I figured I could never do good enough for her, so why try at all? So I spent my time reading Herodotus and teaching myself French through translating archaeology papers and never letting her get close to me or know my interests as they were never good enough. I did not succeed in college or as a parent because of this-it broke me and tore apart every thread of my self-esteem. I would never do this to my children. There's a difference between teaching your children perseverance and practice and beating them down.

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Old 01-25-2011, 06:45 PM
 
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I am not scared to tell my daughter when her work is not good enough. When she does something well, she gets praise. I know when she has been slacking, and it is sometimes so hard to say to her `hey, this is not your best, you can do better`. If she truely does not understand or needs more instruction there is no problem with that.

 

When she does well, I do truely tell her how wonderful her work is. She gets praise. Her best is good enough. However, I would not  be doing my job as her teacher or her mother if I allowed her to do less than her very best. She is capable of writing neatly, and without mistakes, for instance, and for  her final drafts this is all I am happy to accept.

 

Her old school, before we homeschooled allowed her to submit work with mistakes in it, or messy writing, and a lot of rubbing outs. Im sure it was easy for her to work in this way and probably more enjoyable but achieved nothing. At least now she can be proud of her work.

 

I will not always be here to support her and protect her, she needs to be able to function in the world or work and support herself as an adult. I want her to have every chance at a comfortable life in the future.
 

There is a difference between abusive parenting telling a child that nothing they do is good enough, and pushing a child to do their best in life.
 

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Old 01-26-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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There's a book from a few years back called "Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers--and How You Can Too."  I think it's more gentle than Tiger Mother... so might offer some ideas for some.  

 

I remember in school (which was an academically challenging overpriced private school), I always saw on my report card, "Umsami is not working up to her potential."  That used

to drive me crazy. I had no idea how they knew what my potential was.   I later found out after college that my IQ (given as an entry exam to this school when I was in second grade) was very very high--and this is where that came from.  I had parents who did not push at all.  They felt that the school was enough, and that it gave too much homework, etc.  In retrospect, it would have been nice to have parents who pushed just a little... who stressed test preparation or good study habits or whatever.  I always used to do my homework either in class or before school and never studied for tests other than reviewing my notes for about 10 minutes before the test.  It was good enough for me to graduate cum laude and get into good universities--but it didn't teach me anything.  I showed up to the SAT with zero preparation and did fine, but not great.   I took the ACT only to keep a friend company, but ended up scoring in the 97th percentile.  I wonder how I would have done had I actually prepared.  I actually learned how to study from my Asian friends. LOL  I think the key is balance.


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Old 01-26-2011, 03:41 PM
 
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I have to say I feel much more inspired by Cal Newport books and the study hacks site.  His motto of do less and do it better resonates here.  He contradicts the idea of the super rigorous high school schedule where the kids feel pressured to collect as many AP's as possible, perfect test scores, perfect grades, every extracurricular and community service project under the sun, in order to get into the 'right' college.  He proposes learning to be interesting and interested instead as both a better life philosophy and a better way to get into a good fit college.  He talks about enjoying life now rather than seeing school as a time to jump through hoops in order to enjoy the good life later.  He discusses learning to focus deeply so that you can manage some rigorous academics while still pursuing your other interests and hobbies.  

 

I think when I mull over the merits of a classical education, the ability to think deeply and focus on hard problems is what appeals to me.  However, an overwhelming schedule and too much busy work seem a possible danger with that approach if one is not careful.  So, we work on my daughter owning her own educational process and learning to develop her deep focus muscles.  We want her to own that ability so she can effectively follow her passions - whatever they end up being. LOL

 

I think my daughter's ability to work hard has come from a desire to pursue her own interests.  We discuss the level of work required to move up to a new level of proficiency.  She makes the choice to commit to that and we support her efforts.  We have many discussions on how we can help her with those goals.  So for an example, my daughter plays piano.  It came easily to her and for quite a while she would practice by running through her pieces once and playing around on the piano however she saw fit.  This was sufficient for quite sometime.  She came to level that would require her to carefully practice hands separately and break the piece into manageable chunks.  She did not change her practice habits and her playing suffered.  We discussed it with her and her teacher.  She was reminded of strategies she had been told to use.  She tried them inconsistently.  We talked again about how it was fine if she enjoyed her level of playing now, but in order to move on to these advanced pieces, she was going to have to try the tools she'd been told to try.  She agreed it would be helpful if I would remind her of the practice strategies she and her teacher had discussed.  She began keeping a notebook with her at lessons to write down her teacher's suggestions.  She agreed that it was helpful if I reminded her to check her notes.  She made a huge leap in her playing shortly after that which reinforced the value of the additional work and the increased focus.  We have had similar strategies with horseback riding, hard math problems, learning to write well, etc.   

 

I think learning to work hard and persevere through periods of intense concentration are laudable goals.  However, I don't think they are attainable unless the skills are developed through goals of value to the child.  I think many kids need help and support to develop these skills even in areas of interest.  I don't think I qualify 'Tiger mom's' approach as appropriate scaffolding for skill development though.

 

 

 

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Old 01-26-2011, 03:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmmochi View Post

 Her best is good enough. However, I would not  be doing my job as her teacher or her mother if I allowed her to do less than her very best. 

 

I think the message to always to your best can be problematic for some children, particularly those with perfectionistic tendencies.  We can't always do our best all the time.  It is physically and mentally impossible.  Sometimes you just need to do some things sufficiently well so you can save that energy and brain space for the really big stuff.  Sometimes trying for perfect can get in the way of the very good. YMMV


 

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