Thursday, February 02, 2006

Resisting the Urge

As soon as I began seriously thinking about home schooling my children . . . For honesty's sake let me rephrase . . . As soon as my first child was born I was salivating over all the exciting things they could learn. I began reading to my son before he was born. After he was born I became obsessed with what he could do and what he had learned. "At age __ he knows or can do. . ." I used him as an extension of myself. I wanted him to succeed and be better than other babies, I suppose, to make me look better. When my daughter was born three years later, I had two "show" children. Finding a way to manipulate the conversation toward the children at every social gathering, I had the children performing their amazing feats of intellect. If they were not available I would still make sure everyone knew what wonderful things they could do. I even (gasp!) stretched the truth. You all know people like this and hate them or at least hate the way they act. I knew people like this and didn't like them either. So, why?

Who knows . . . Insecurity? Insanity?

Fortunately, my children, soon, put a stop to it by refusing to perform, acting embarrassed and simply asking those dreaded tough questions beginning with "Why?"

So, you guessed it, my biggest challenge as a home schooling mom is reining in my desire to create super intellectual children and freeing my children to explore and learn naturally. Each time I find a new philosophy of home education, new resource, new idea that I would like to explore and before I present it to my children I ask myself these questions:
  • Do I want my children to know this to impress others?
  • Do I want my children to learn this because I want to learn it?
  • Is this something that will enrich their lives?
  • Is this age appropriate?
  • Will this inspire learning?
  • How does this fit into what we are doing?
  • Am I moving on in the books because my children know the material and are ready or because I want to finish the book/math text/etc before the end of grade level?
When we get new books and materials, I am more honest with myself and as a result I have happier children who are learning much more than the "tricks" and "impressive feats" of the past. I am lucky that I saw the error of my ways early so that my children are able to learn in a more relaxing environment and I am able to be more accepting of them on their level thereby helping them to grow. Homeschooling is much more pleasant when you are honest with yourself about your own motivations and about your child's progress and needs.

I still get the urge to mention my children's studies (especially around public schoolers) but I am honest. Always.


Michael Hardt said...

Your introspection can be a good example to me--I'll try to follow it.

Melissa O. Markham said...

Excellent post. When I started reading it, I saw myself in what you were saying. I too, have calmed down a bit in that regard and I am enjoying the process (every year it is different here). I like the questions you pose yourself and think I will print them out for future reference.

Spunky said...

Good post. I love the part about telling what you're children are studying. I have to fight that myself.

laurathecrazymama said...

I couldn't agree more! I think if you did a poll of homeschooler moms, you would find that a majority of them have gone through the same in their own circumstances. I will keep your "questions to yourself" as a reminder for myself!

christinemm said...

I appreciate your honesty! It must have taken courage to admit you used to treat them as show ponies. :)

Sounds like you are in a good place now!

I was also featured in the 6th Carnival of Homeschooling. Check out my blog sometime!

Disinterested Benevolence said...

i have thot about this before. so what did you do when you stopped trying to use your children as show peices? did you keep homeschooling?

wisteria said...

Yes! Homeschooling is wonderful. I just have to be careful.