A Much More Successful Day

boys lying on floor looking at ipad together

Well. Today was a complete change from yesterday.

Hubby put the boys to bed right after soccer last night, which means they went down right around 7:30. Unbelievably, there were still children asleep after 8:30 this morning. We got up and going, and zipped right through school lickety-split. I sent the older boys out for a break and recess at eleven and called the younger ones in for story time and Letter People. When that was done, I sent them outside as well and worked on editing a paper for CyberSon. The older boys came back in around 11:40 and I asked them to get busy on their silent reading. At noon they each came and shared with me what they’d been reading and we spent some time laying in the sunshine in front of the slider window talking and snuggling. Eventually we decided to get science out, which was a magnet activity. It was such a hit that the younger boys joined in.

Around one, we cleared the table and headed out the door. I picked up lunch at BK (their request) and we drove about 30 minutes to a nearby town to drop off some things to a friend. Then we headed over to the quilt shop and the boys shopped for buttons while I purchased enough fabric for the quilt I’m going to make at my retreat next weekend. The boys were really amazingly cooperative and (fairly) quiet while I picked out the fabric.

On our way home, TechnoBoy moaned slightly about how much time had been spent away from home, especially since there was a soccer game planned for the evening. I reminded him that he had a good day at school, a snazzy new button collection, a new iron (we found one just perfect for boy-projects at the quilt shop so I bought it), and a happy Mama. All those are good things.

Soccer went very well. I think those boys have a talent for the game. Both The Mercenary and TechnoBoy really played well. Afterwards I stopped at the store for groceries while Hubby brought the boys home. They showed him their science experiment and had their snack, and went to bed shortly after I got home with the groceries.

So. A completely different day from yesterday. I didn’t change. The schoolwork didn’t change. The only thing that changed was the boys’ effort. The trick is to keep them making that effort.

I’ve tried various contracts, agreements, and charts over the years. But none of them ever stuck. I did check out a new site yesterday called Chart Jungle. They have quite a few very handy pre-made charts available for free download. I didn’t wind up choosing one, but I may have the boys look at some options tomorrow to see if they’re interested. I like the idea of using a chart of their choosing to track success. I already have a giant book of reward stickers. May as well find a way to use them.

An interesting conversation took place on the way home this afternoon. TechnoBoy asked me if once we finish working on finishing the basement we’ll have more time to spend with them. I pointed out all the things we’d already done together today and asked if after all that, he still felt like I didn’t give him enough attention. He wasn’t real sure of the answer. I explained that I wasn’t upset or angry, but that I count school time as time spent with him. Doing lessons is something I put effort and part of myself into. That counts as time spent together. And it counts as good time. While I was at it, I asked him if he’d thought about the possibility that boys who finish their schoolwork early every day could have more time for fun activities in the afternoon.

He’s thinking about it.

Earnest Parenting: help for homeschooling parents.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Jenny December 6, 2007, 10:16 am

    Obviously your son would like you to spend more time doing things that interest HIM, and not spend most of your time doing things that you dictate and (possibly) nag him about!

    I’m reading several of your posts and it just sounds like everything is about you — what you want, what you think they need, how hard you’re working, the attitude you want them to have. You sound very self-centered, although I doubt you are a selfish person; you probaby have just never thought about it that way.

    Reply
  • Amy December 6, 2007, 4:37 pm

    Hmm. I can say with certainty that examining my own behavior and motivations is something I do quite frequently. I certainly will take your words into consideration though.

    I do admit to laughing a bit at your observation that the blog is all about me. It’s a blog. It’s supposed to be written from my perspective.

    It sounds like you’re working up a serious case of dislike for me, based on the increasingly critical nature of your comments over time. I invite you to re-read the post that this comment is on, and notice the balance of the day and how many benefits the boys reaped: snuggling and reading together, buying them a new iron and each a bag of buttons to play with, the opportunity to play outside, play with their soccer friends, and the treat of lunch at BK. Oh. And a super fun magnet experience for science. Who could complain about that?

    Do I center my entire existence around the boys? No. I do not. I believe in a balanced existence where adult AND child needs get met. Is that accomplished perfectly? Of course not. But I’m doing the best I can. 🙂 Does every other family on the planet attempt the same balance? No. Some are more child-centered, some are less. The super-cool thing about living here in the good old U S of A is that we all have the right to do that.

    I would like to submit the notion that you disagree with some of the things I do or the way I appear to do them, and that that is coloring your perceptions of me and that you’re reading things more negatively than you would if someone you liked wrote them.

    Should you decide after all this that you still can’t stand me, there’s always the cute little x in the red box up to the right.

    Reply
  • Jenny December 6, 2007, 7:13 pm

    Hi Amy. Thanks for writing.

    My other comments were very quickly written, knee-jerk reactions. This one I’ll take more time thinking through.

    When I said “all about you,” I didn’t mean that your blog was all about you. You’re right; it’s a blog, I would expect that! My own blog is all about me, too! 🙂

    What I meant is that, in hearing you talk about homeschooling and relationship with your boys, it sounds like it’s about you and not them. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of respect and admiration of their desires and interests and what’s important to them. You seem to want them to become what YOU want, and like and do the things YOU think they should.

    I’m sure that’s not true all the time. I also think it’s very common among homeschool parents (which I am as well.)

    Why would any parent make a kid stop doing what they enjoy (provided they’re not destroying property or something) and make them do something else, when it’s obvious they have NO interest in the Something Else? I think parents do that a lot. I think everybody would be better off, and would learn better, and have better relationships, if people questioned that more.

    Part of the reason I posted so many times, and so harshly, is because it sounds like all of you are frustrated (at least at times) and maybe a Complete Paradigm Shift would help. I thought being blunt would grab your (or another reader’s) attention better than being gentle or saying, “Oh, I know it’s hard; I’m sure you’re doing the best you can” and that kind of thing.

    Homeschooling at my house does not include whining about how hard something is, or worrying about how to limit screen time, or punishments, or crying when spelling books arrive, or me having days that I want to quit.

    I don’t say this to say that I’m wonderful, but that if that sounds appealing, if it sounds at all like something you (or someone else who reads here) wants, I can help point you (or them) in that direction.

    Reply
  • Amy December 6, 2007, 9:40 pm

    Jenny,

    Even if you sat and read all 92 (yikes) posts that I’ve put up so far, you wouldn’t get a complete picture of me or my life. Yes, I’ve sounded frustrated lately….there have been other stressors in my life. While I am open about many things here on the blog, I’m not open about everything. So yes, I’ve definitely been more negative lately.

    Re: not respecting the boys’ interests and desires. I’ll have to ponder that further, and thank you for the feedback. I do really take that seriously. My immediate reaction is “no, that’s not an accurate picture of me”.

    Do I have expectations for the boys? Yes. I want them to learn to read and write, and to have the skills necessary to pursue ANY dream they choose. I don’t apologize for that.

    Right now, the older boys have been learning to make jewelry. They have taken the show on the road to a craft show and were thrilled recently when I showed them the Etsy site and said that I’d advertise their work on my blog. We want to find some classes in metal work and learn some soldering after the holidays. When we’re at the store, they often ask to stop and look at the beads, and you better believe that I am not allowed to suggest designs in any of their creations, lol. They’re very particular about what they make. We’re going to be setting up a dedicated jewelry creation space for them very soon as the basement is in the process of getting finished.

    One question that I have yet to hear an unschooler answer is how I would be doing a child a service in the long-term if I didn’t teach responsibility from an early age. If I only did things that they WANT to do from now until they’re 18, how do I make sure they get all the skills they need? What if they get to an employment situation and the boss asks them to do a particular task and they don’t want to? Okay, that was more than one question, lol.

    As I said in another comment, once I convince the boys to join me they usually have a good time. There has been a language issue of some sort-perhaps the twin thing is part of it. I don’t know. A fellow spec. ed. teacher friend of mine keeps saying “Classic LD. Classic.” when I tell her some of the things I see. And she knows the boys personally. I agree with her that if they’d gone to public school, at least one of them would most likely have had that label by now.

    I’ve seen more and more encouraging stuff lately. You know how you posted your daughter’s story that she wrote on your blog? Well, my boys wrote a story today. It’s the first time they ever wanted to. Ever. I’m so proud of them! They read them to Hubby tonight, and The Mercenary got all excited when I asked if I could publish them on the blog. TechnoBoy is convinced that his isn’t good enough (it’s terrific) so Hubby and I are going to show him other stories and see if we can sweet-talk him into it. Or at least publish on his own blog.

    Your harshness did not attract me to any kind of paradigm shift or suggest to me that you’re wonderful. Perhaps other individuals would react differently. I wasn’t real fond of being on the receiving end of so much criticism. Had I put myself out there as some kind of paragon of virtue I could see where a person would have legitimate reason to criticize and take me down a peg. What I have actually been doing is telling the truth about my successes and my failures as I attempt to get this parenting thing done well. I don’t claim to be perfect; in fact I’ve spent a lot of time advertising my mistakes. People who are willing to offer constructive comments and suggestions for things I could do are welcome to do so. But just knocking me down…where’s the point in that?

    I have absolutely no intention of moving away from my curriculum choices, but I’m happy to entertain discussion and ideas from anyone who wants to speak kindly and calmly about it.

    There seems to be a perception among the unschooling crowd that having structure or expectations is somehow hurting my children. I beg to differ. Words like “menticide” being tossed around and the very judgmental nature of the comments I’ve seen on other sites (and now gotten here today) really don’t set unschoolers in the best light. As a group they may be wonderful individuals but I don’t get that from the things that are said.

    If you came to my house during any day, you’d find 4 boys in their bathrobes and underwear laying on the floor working on various projects and pages. One day we had costumes and pajamas all day. I was dying to take a picture of Batman doing his spelling practice, but figured I should restrain myself.

    That’s terrific that your home is peaceful and wonderful. Good for you, and do enjoy your blessings. I sincerely hope that life continues in that vein for you.

    Please remember that different families have different ways of doing things and that happy healthy contributing adults is the goal. If I take a different path to get there, but wind up with 4 wonderful Christian sons who love the Lord and pursue their dreams, where’s the problem?

    Reply
  • Jenny December 7, 2007, 11:09 am

    >>>>>One question that I have yet to hear an unschooler answer is how I would be doing a child a service in the long-term if I didn’t teach responsibility from an early age. If I only did things that they WANT to do from now until they’re 18, how do I make sure they get all the skills they need? What if they get to an employment situation and the boss asks them to do a particular task and they don’t want to? Okay, that was more than one question, lol.>>>>>

    This is a good question(s), and a common one.

    First of all, who’s to say what skills they will need in ten or twenty years? It’s likely they will be at a job using some sort of technology that hasn’t even been invented yet. Obviously they can’t learn that skill until it actually exists. They’ll learn it when they need it. Their interests will change. They will have opportunities no one can expect or plan for. There’s no way you or I or anyone else can accurately predict “all the skills they will need.” I don’t know all the skills *I* will need in twenty years.

    As far as employement … well, I WANT my kids to have jobs they enjoy with tasks they want to do. If an employer asked them to do something they don’t want to do, depending on what it was, how often it was, and how badly they disliked it … maybe they would look for a new job. Maybe the employer is asking them to do something unreasonable or harmful, and they SHOULD feel free to say No. Maybe they decide, after some thought, that they DO want to do it, because the pay-off is the other good things about the job. Maybe if it’s one specific task, they could find a substutute or work-around or change something about it to make it appealing.

    My husband and I rarely do things we don’t WANT to do. It might even possibly be true that we NEVER do things we don’t WANT to do.

    >>>>>>If I take a different path to get there, but wind up with 4 wonderful Christian sons who love the Lord and pursue their dreams, where’s the problem?>>>>>

    There’s a book called Christian Unschooling that addresses this.

    It says something like, “Imagine you have some tumor or something that definitely needs medical treatment. Your doctor tells you that or two types of treatment available that you can choose. One is very expensive and tastes horrible. The other tastes very good and is much more reasonably priced. You ask if the expensive/yucky one is more effective, and the doctor says, No, actually they are about the same, although sometimes the yucky one is slightly LESS effective.”

    What would you choose?

    I don’t think structure or expectations are bad.

    To be blunt, yes, I do believe that shaming children, forcing children, punishing children, calling them things like “lazy,” (which I don’t know if you do or not) ARE bad and hurtful. Hurtful for the relationship. Hurtful for learning. Hurtful for the goal of living a joyful, peaceful life.

    I think a lot of people do them because a) they don’t know what else to do; and b) They are afraid Bad Things will happen if they don’t do them.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to continue posting here.

    Reply
  • Sarah December 7, 2007, 1:26 pm

    Different strokes for different folks. I encourage people to be truthful to themselves, choose whatever label’s suitable for them and their families. Who knows best than yourself? Why do we must label ourselves anyway? Everyone has his/her own interpretation on a label. I have been pondering on that lately. As for blogging, I am still very new to it and still finding my ground for its purpose. I don’t think other posters intended any malice. Unfortunately, online comment or email does NOT account for TONE. When I communicate with you face to face, over 90% of the message is non-verbal. Online comment or e-mail has no body language. You cannot see my face or hear my tone of voice so chose. Plus, if I am short of time, I may not have taken time to choose words carefully and/or thoughtfully or put me in your place and think how my words may come across in Cyberspace. So, I wish you PEACE and GRACE in this holiday season. May Holy Spirit be your guiding light in every step of your journey!

    Reply
  • Amy December 7, 2007, 2:56 pm

    Thank you for your words Sarah, and for the good wishes. I am fully aware of the difficulties of online communication. That is why wisdom dictates that writers take care with their words rather than dashing off thoughts. If they don’t have time to be thoughtful, it wouldn’t hurt to wait until later when they do. Barring an emp explosion I doubt the Internet is going anywhere. There’s time later to share an opinion without being hasty.

    Perhaps some of the comments didn’t seem malicious to you. I disagree. 🙂 But I’m agreeing to disagree a lot today.

    Reply
  • Amy December 9, 2007, 6:16 pm

    @Jenny

    Two more points: New technologies and ways of doing things are not created in a vacuum. They’re based on what exists now. The skills of today evolve into the skills of tomorrow. By teaching my boys how to learn, and giving them a solid foundation in today’s expectations they’ll be ready to adapt to tomorrow. Learning a skill gives a child confidence and broadens his horizon.

    It’s very human to assume that what works for me will work for you. But that’s just not true. We are all different. Even medical treatments do not work the same way in different bodies; your example is flawed due to that factor. I have never said that unschooling is bad or wrong. I have said that I see disadvantages, and most importantly that it won’t work for me. I have listed reasons for that, which I won’t here. (I will address it in a future post.) Thanks to all the discussion these last few days, I’ve gained a lot of focus to my thinking and have plenty to say, so look for more soon.

    Reply
  • Jenny December 9, 2007, 7:32 pm

    I don’t think you know enough about unschooling to come to a conclusion yet whether it would work for you or not.

    It may not.

    You may not wish to learn more about it, and if so, that’s fine too.

    But there was something you said in another post that made it clear you had an erroneous view of it … let me see if I can find it, and if so, I’ll respond more there.

    Reply
  • Deanne December 10, 2007, 8:51 am

    “By teaching my boys how to learn…”

    That’s the crux of the issue. One does NOT have to be taught to learn. It occurs spontaneously and naturally. If it didn’t we would never get beyond laying passively in our cribs! You are teaching your children WHAT to learn, and what you think is important to learn. Their natural drive to learn more by using the computer IS being squashed by you. You said so yourself.

    Reply
  • Mary December 10, 2007, 11:25 am

    “one does NOT have to be taught to learn. It occurs spontaneously and naturally. If it didn’t we would never get beyond laying passively in our cribs!”

    Ok, I wrote a long response and then just deleted it because it looked way too negative. So, I’ll try to just keep it short. I don’t believe I agree with the previous statement. We learn from exploring and mimicking. As children, we do not just spontaneously learn to talk. We mimick what we hear. We don’t just learn to write, we copy what we see. We don’t just know how to spell. My son when he was 4 could sound out and spell a lot of words….but he had to be taught the many wierd spellings of the English language. i.e. done is not spelled DUN. I think a great example would be the studies done on I believe the Romanian orphans. They were left in their cribs without anything more than the necessary needs being met (food and diaper changes) I believe they ended up being quite delayed developementally. Can’t remember the exact details but do remember hearing about it.
    I think it’s great to study what my kids want to study. This year we’re studying Minerals because that’s what they’re into. They are, however, still spending time on Math, English and History.

    “Imagine you have some tumor or something that definitely needs medical treatment. Your doctor tells you that or two types of treatment available that you can choose. One is very expensive and tastes horrible. The other tastes very good and is much more reasonably priced. You ask if the expensive/yucky one is more effective, and the doctor says, No, actually they are about the same, although sometimes the yucky one is slightly LESS effective.”

    I hate to say it, but from a medical point, I have never seen this as an option. There is very rarely a good tasting option to a tumor and they probably could have found a better argument for the point. Sometimes in life there are things you have to do even though you don’t want to. No one in my house likes to do dishes but since we don’t have money for a maid we all get to take turns doing them. LOL Oh my, the housekeeping examples I could go on and on with. The point is, there is a time that you have to learn to do something you don’t like and learn how to do it without being miserable. Honestly, what better way to learn that concept than at home as a child. No we shouldn’t call our kids lazy although I will get on them if they are not obeying. I have a child who has learned the art of procrastination and I really can’t complain about how he does it….probably learned it from me. However, I want to give him the skills he needs in life to hold down a job and feed his family. To stick to something to completion and not quit just because he doesn’t feel like it. Yes, I want him to get a job he loves. I want him to spend his life doing things he enjoys. But every job is going to have its moments when you wonder why you took it! I work part-time as a nurse and I love my job. But I don’t really enjoy cleaning up vomit or a bed full of diarrhea. But, it’s part of my job. I absolutely don’t enjoy all the computer charting that goes with my job. But, I do it as part of my job requirements. I believe that we are to give God our best. I believe that my best is not the same as your best. That as mothers we each have different strengths and weaknesses. The way I do something or learn something may not be the best way for my kids. I knew when I started homeschooling that if I did not have a “canned” program that my children would not learn. I am not creative and I cannot come up with a spontaneous charlotte mason lessons on the spot. ( I love all that stuff but it’s not my strength) I enjoy art but I am not able to do what I want to do with it so I take my boys to a friend who teaches them. I’m learning my strengths and weaknesses on a daily basis. I have a great respect for people who Unschool. My best friend is Unschooling her children and I enjoy learning from her. However, what works for her does not always work for me. We need to remember that, while there is clearly a right and wrong in the Bible, the methods of homeschooling are not so black and white. Amy’s blog is a great way to express what is happening in their life but I don’t have the right to say you should or shouldn’t do such and such. I can certainly suggest different methods but I always need to keep in mind that what works for me may not work for her. Nothing frustrates me more than to have people with children who are not ADD or LD looking “down” at me for the way I deal with my child. Yes, we do need to listen to our children but they are not always going to be making choices that are best for their outcome in the longrun. My children would spend all day on the computer or tv or playstation if they could. Am I going to allow this? NO However, if that’s what you choose to do, go for it! Keep on blogging and we’ll see how they all turn out in 10 years! Personally, my goal is to have sons that love God with all their hearts, souls and minds and want to serve him. Is that their goal….probably not but that is why we bring up our children in the way we want them to go. The goal is to steer them towards things they have and interest and abilities in and help them to reach their goals and also the teach them to love and serve God too at the same time

    Reply
  • Jenny December 10, 2007, 1:15 pm

    >>>We learn from exploring and mimicking.>>>

    Exactly! One does NOT have to be taught to learn!

    >>> I hate to say it, but from a medical point, I have never seen this as an option. There is very rarely a good tasting option to a tumor>>>

    This struck me as a little amusing. Could you really not see the point of the analogy, or is just easier to disagree without thinking about it?

    The point is NOT that there are ice cream sundaes that cure tumors. 🙂

    I was addressing the question of, “What difference does it make if we end up in the same place but got there in different ways?”

    My point was that if you had two effective ways to get to the same place, but one was more difficult, time-consuming, and stresssful, (for both you AND your children), wouldn’t it make more sense to choose the way that is more enjoyable?

    >>>I don’t have the right to say you should or shouldn’t do such and such.>>>>

    Why not?

    >>> The way I do something or learn something may not be the best way for my kids.>>>

    Exactly!! That’s why unschooling makes so much sense. The way the child chooses to learn may not be something that initially makes sense to the parent.

    >>>My children would spend all day on the computer or tv or playstation if they could. Am I going to allow this? NO!>>>

    I don’t believe this is true of any child, anywhere, unless possibly they are going through a depression or something, in which case *that* is the issue to be addressed, of course.

    I think when people say this, they are really selling their kids short. Are they really such stunted, uncreative, uncurious, simple individuals that nothing in the whole wide world interests them, or appeals to them, other than TV or playstation?

    >>> However, if that’s what you choose to do, go for it! Keep on blogging and we’ll see how they all turn out in 10 years!>>>

    I’m not sure if this was addressed to me specifically or not, but it did make me smile. 🙂

    >>> Personally, my goal is to have sons that love God with all their hearts, souls and minds and want to serve him. Is that their goal….probably not>>>

    Why would you assume not?

    What do you think *are* their goals? How could you help them achieve them? You say we should help them reach their goals, but if their goal is to be on the playstation a lot, are you going to help them reach it, or are you going to try to block it?

    >>>> probably not but that is why we bring up our children in the way we want them to go.>>>

    Now I’m not positive, but isn’t there a Proverb that says, “Train up a child in the way HE should go?”

    Jenny

    Reply
  • Mr.HS December 10, 2007, 2:47 pm

    Jenny,
    Yes, there is a scripture that says Train up a child in the way HE should go. Not in the way HE wants to go or even in the way HE will go.

    Kind of like saying, “you know there’s one way to get rid of your childs tumor… you SHOULD give him this medicine even though it’s really yucky and even though he doesn’t want to. You know kids… they don’t necessarily know what’s best for them” Would you? Of course you would. I can tell from your posts that you love your children more than anything, as does everyone here.

    Reply
  • Marie December 11, 2007, 6:31 am

    ===I have a child who has learned the art of procrastination and I really can’t complain about how he does it….probably learned it from me.===

    Did you use a ‘canned’ program to teach your child procrastination, or did he/she learn it from you naturally?

    ===I think a great example would be the studies done on I believe the Romanian orphans. They were left in their cribs without anything more than the necessary needs being met (food and diaper changes) I believe they ended up being quite delayed developmentally.===

    Yes, this is true. These orphans had very minimal contact with any other human being, and that is why they failed to thrive. Unschooling involves ‘being there’ for your children in every way possible. It means sitting there *with* your children (as much as you are able) as they explore what is most important to them, even if what is most important to them at the moment is tv or video games.

    I didn’t know this when my now 21yo ds was growing up — I believed that the time he spent playing video game s and watching tv was detrimental to his development, and so I limited them, thinking that was what was best for him. In retrospect, I can see now that what I did was damage our relationship by not truly valuing his passions.

    With our dd15, it is different. Since “getting it” regarding not limiting children (in terms of ‘screen time’, for example), dd has had unlimited access to the computer and tv (she is not ‘into’ video games). At first, she spent almost all day with either one or the other, sometimes both at the same time.

    Now, several months later, she spends less time on the computer than I do, but the time she does spend, she is researching and learning more than I will ever know about. Because her ‘screen’ time is not limited and because I have shared her passions to the best of my ability (and far from perfectly), she is free to move on to other pursuits.

    I have come to see that whatever is arbitrarily limited in our lives naturally becomes *more* desirable. Placing arbitrary limits on my dc, has had the undesirable (and unintended!) effect of damaging my relationship with them. Not irreparable damage for sure, but it sure would have been easier for us all if the damage had not occurred in the first place.

    Reply
  • Hilaree December 11, 2007, 6:02 pm

    Hi everyone…I get ants in my pants when I start to sense the Bible being portrayed in a convoluted light…so for clarity, the verse about “training up a child” is Proverbs 22:6. “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (NIV) The footnote in my Life Application Bible says this, “‘In the way he should go” is literally, “according to his (the child’s) way.” It is natural to want to bring up all our children alike or train them the same way. This verse implies that parents should discern the individuality and special strengths that God has given each one…etc.” A second footnote states, “Many parents want to make all the choices for their child, but this hurts him or her in the long run. When parents teach a child how to make decisions, they don’t have to watch every step he or she takes. They know their children will remain on the right path because they have made the choice themselves. Train your children to choose the right way.”

    Well, then. How I wish that more parents would take the time to train their babies according to the way God created them. Can you imagine if we had all been trained that way? If we had all been carefully studied and nurtured by our parents so that when we were grown, we would already have the self-confidence in who the Lord created us to be…so many fewer therapy visits…so many fewer identity crises. So many more people following their God-given purpose, never needing to depart from it, because they had been helped along the way since childhood. A child is already filled with the purposes of God. That is why I love unschooling. I equate it with freedom to pursue our one true path on this short, short life.

    Thank you again, Amy, for providing this unexpected forum. Hope you’re doing well with your sweet boys.

    Reply
  • Mr.HS December 12, 2007, 8:17 am

    Instead of looking at what someone else has said about Proverbs 22:6 (because I can and indeed did come up with two interpretations that suggest something completely different), let’s look at some other scripture.

    Just a few versus down in Proverbs 22:15 – “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”

    Before we go off the deep end of thinking that I’m suggesting abuse, please understand four things I believe about discipline: 1) It is a necessity and biblically supported. 2) There are forms of discipline that are physical and some that are not. 3) There are forms of discipline that are sinful. 4) A parent should NEVER discipline in anger.

    Now… back to the scripture: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child…”. This, to me, seems rather obvious. A child is, by definition, foolish and doesn’t know what’s right or right for them all the time. This isn’t talking about a child being immature or playfully childish, because in the next part of that verse it says, “..The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”. It’s talking about something that needs to be removed or changed in the heart of the child. God created us to be a certain way. When He formed us we weren’t that way (hence the foolishness), but we are to become that way. It is our job as parents to make sure that our children grow up to be the children of God that He wants them to be.

    How does this apply to the subject at hand? It’s being said that non-unschoolers (at least in this case two negatives make a right… KIDDING, just kidding :0), are bringing up their children incorrectly. Maybe not so much by Hilaree, but most definitely by some of the other (rather angry) unschoolers. Some seem to think that we should just let children make their own decisions in life or at least decisions about what they should learn and how they should learn it. You know what, I’m good with that. I really am. I can see that actually working for some people, but certainly not everyone. That’s what’s confusing me. A vast majority of the unschoolers seem to be saying that we (non-unschoolers) are doing it wrong. While I certainly can’t read Amy’s mind, everything I’ve read, so far, seems to scream, “it may work for you, but it wouldn’t work for me.” That’s not the same as saying, “You’re wrong to bring up you child this way.” Polar opposites, in fact.

    Another point is that, for every scripture that can be construed one way, I can read it another. For every piece of scripture an unschooler can come up with, I can come up with another. Even Proverbs 22:15 can be read in such a way to apply to what Hilaree has said, although I am definitely challenged to come up with a way to read it that would support the other more verbally abusive unschoolers.

    Again, let’s go even a little further down the road to Proverbs 29:15 – “The rod and reproof give wisdom,
    But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.” This scripture could work perfectly for some non-unschoolers. It could also work for certain unschoolers. If you’d like me to elaborate, I’d love to.

    A previous commentor said, “Why not?” to the following:
    >>>I don’t have the right to say you should or shouldn’t do such and such.>>>>

    OK, legally I agree. They have the right to say whatever they please, but wouldn’t it show, at least, SOME wisdom to say something like, “Maybe you could try this other way. If it works for you great. If it doesn’t, hopefully you’ll find something else that DOES work.” Instead, most of what’s been said by most of the unschoolers has been very judgemental and just plain mean. Some may say, “oh… I didn’t mean to be judgemental.” Baloney. You meant to be judgemental and believe me you succeeded beyond your wildest expectations.

    Some may say, “You know what, YES… I was judgemental. Don’t we need to be a little more blunt and a little more forceful with our views??? Especially when they’re on a topic that’s so important? Our children’s lives are at stake after all!!!” Again, with the scripture: Yes, God said that we need to stand up for our beliefs and be forceful sometimes, but I believe that it was one of the unschoolers that mentioned that God is a merciful God. Well… let’s try that in our comments shall we?

    BTW, God was much more than just a merciful God. He has so many more facets than just love and mercy (although those are my two favorite ones). The fact is that, if we’re supposed to be as Godly as we can, we can’t just focus on the facets of God that we like.

    Holy cow… this is probably the longest comment I’ve ever made. Seriously, on the internet or in ‘real life’. I’m done for now.

    God bless you all.

    Reply
  • Mary December 12, 2007, 6:45 pm

    Wow! Lots of great input.
    As far as my kids…and my procrastination….I am not saying the canned program did it….I tend to procrastinate….or maybe just do things I enjoy doing and avoid doing things I should do. So, sometimes (hmmm maybe many times) I have been at fault for not following up and making sure my kids have done things. Now, at this age they should be able to do this on their own (and the 14 year old does). My 12 year old “forgets” on an hourly basis. Therefore, there are consequences of not following directions. (kinda like the consequences of me not doing dishes is not having any clean cups.LOL)
    I was actually bending more toward what Hilaree was saying (or I was trying to say that) My goal is to find things my kids are interested in and try to focus what we do in the next 5 years of school to prepare them for that type of job. I also plan on continuing to teach them basic life skills like balancing their checkbook that they might not be so interested in.
    I appreciate Mr. HS’s comments.
    I did actually see the point of the analogy but was just wishing for a more real to life example. Maybe it’s because my daughter-in-law is really fighting a tumor now and I really wish it was as easy as an ice cream cone…..but I got the point. That’s why this year I actually tossed my canned program and decided to “back off”. We’re doing more things we all enjoy…with the exception of Math and English which with the change in program we’re actually all starting to enjoy more!
    I do think like Mr. HS that my kids do not always make the best choices and sometimes I do have to choose to have them do something they may not like to do (i.e. dishes, math and english) However, they also are allowed to make choices in other areas (more and more areas as they get older) and they have to deal with the consequences of poor choices. Parenting is a joy and I enjoy hearing all the different viewpoints.

    Reply