Trust The Children

Friday, June 13, 2008

Agency Means Nothing Until There Is A Clear Choice

Many discussions about home schooling our children cross over into discussions about child rearing. And child rearing discussions seem to lead to a discussion about interacting with and/or leading youth generally.

Building strong youth, is all about building into them the ability to make good choices. Our children are going to be faced with all kinds of them, when we aren't around to "coach" them. So practice with choosing, early in life and experiencing consequences for good and ill significantly and early in life, is necessary.

Parents, leaders of youth, especially leaders of adults, seem to reluctant to ask someone to step it up. One fear seems to be that by asking someone to do something, where a "yes" or "no" answer is required, interpersonal relationships run the risk of being damaged if the answer is not what we hope for.

However, until we give someone a choice, a clear choice, they have no opportunity to exercise their right to choose. Therefore they have little opportunity to strengthen their ability to make good and wise choices when no one is around to watch them.

I am not sure why leaders of youth and/or parents are so often reluctant to offer clear choices and administer or allow obvious consequences. I don't understand the motivation behind allowing them skate day after day, without clear choices? Yet, the results of weak youth are everywhere to be seen.

We have a unique opportunity as parents to interact with our children each and every day. By applying the principle of choice and accountability regularly, consistently and daily, we can build into our children a respect for the power of choice they have and a joy in making good choices. Teaching our children to use the power they have to choose, wisely, may be some of the best teaching we ever do in the home, even if a few wrds end up mis-spelled.

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  • Thank you for your posts! I am transitioning right now from a very structured homeschooling environment to a child directed environment. It is very difficult. Even today, I started panicking over not ordering my curriculum for the fall. During that hour of panic, my 6 yr old son went out to his bike which he hasn't been able to ride and in 15 minutes was zooming up and down the road. He was ready and went and taught himself without any help. How come I can trust that but not reading, writing and math? I treasure your posts-they are a life jacket for me right now...helping me to not give into the fear-I sound very dramatic right now-goodness! Anyways, thank you for the time you take to share your impressions, experience and knowledge. I know that I am benefitting immensely from it.

    By Blogger Chari, at 11:37 PM, June 17, 2008  

  • Chari,

    You are doing a great thing home schooling, no matter what the form or method. You do bring up important points though. 1) Reading - It is very important that you read to them out loud each day, without fail, books that are interesting to them. Being exposed to this will do a ton for reading, more than a class on reading in most cases. Math, At some point, take a look at Saxon. Also, simple manipulatives and flash cards for math facts, remembering that girls get it earlier than boys and beginning too soon, just isn't necessary. Writing is simply done by you reading a new article to them, and having them tell the story back to you in their own words, or copying paragraphs out of a book, and growing from that. It's ok to have 'some' structure and regular activities. But our experience is that simple, natural ones won't seem so much like a burden.

    When the need to learn something, they will. When they want to learn something, they go fast, and make progress really quickly AND they retain. The rules in the early years are different than the later JR high and HS years.

    When you have questions, email my wife.


    By Blogger Mark Weiss, at 8:37 AM, June 21, 2008  

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