Thursday, September 14, 2006

Reason to Homeschool #49

Yesterday I wondered (briefly) why I'd ever decided to homeschool. Eight dollars, twenty minutes of my time, a good night's sleep for all and a new day helped me to remember why. They're pretty neat people and I enjoy spending time with them.

Reason #49: We have to work through it, whatever it is that's falling apart or breaking down.

Last spring I thought if I gave fine young gent an incentive chart for practicing piano I'd stifle his natural love of music-- by providing external motivation, I'd somehow stunt his instrinsic desire to play piano. But I was tired of watching him flop off the piano bench at the outrageously unreasonable request that he play "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." His sticker sheet, with a Hot Wheels for a reward (naturally) got him excited about playing piano again, both lesson practices and plinking around unrewarded for fun.

I long to be one of those parents for whom those lovely contructivist child-led parenting approaches always work. I strive to honor my children's needs and honor them as persons who have wishes and desires separate from mine. I try to discipline by focusing on the positive and by gently modeling and teaching the kind of behavior I expect. And I have delightful, energetic, strong-willed children. Most days they enjoy school. Some days they have different ideas than mine about how they'd like to spend their time. Yesterday I nagged and prodded. Today a gentle reminder that they earn a reward for staying at the top of the privilege chart was all I needed. It took twenty minutes to make, five minutes to explain, two reminders. We had a smashing day.

And I wouldn't really tape anyone to a tree.

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