Q&A's from TJEdMUSE

The following is a post from the TJEdMUSE yahoog group.  I wanted to keep it for my own memory:

You wrote:

Do I just stop what we are doing?

Yes, if what you are doing is not working. And I have to assume that you have tried the conveyor belt approach and that it is not completely attractive to you. Now my guess is that some of what you are doing is working. Be sure to keep that part. It might be family relationships, reading together, daily devotional, weekend trips, craft activities, games or walks. I don’t know what is working in your home but I’m betting something is. Be sure to keep that and build on it.

When will their own initiative kick in?

May 3rd 2011. Sorry I couldn’t resist. Where is that crystal ball when we want it? We would love to be able to not have to trust the process and just be offered some guarantees, wouldn’t we? Of course, there are none. We really do have to have some faith and trust. If we don’t, we can’t let go of our old way of thinking and behaving.

Do I require the 3Rs?

How inspired are you to do the things required of you? Don’t require the 3Rs. But do inspire them. Are you reading great things to them? Things that you enjoy and they enjoy? When was the last time you wrote a paper and asked one of your children to give you some feedback on it? When children are inspired they will tackle the 3Rs. In the meantime, we can play math games, bake together and make sure that the recipe has to be made 2 ½ times or 5 ¼ to get the right amount, read math classics, write letters to each other and hide them around the house, (I had a friend who had a daily writing relationship with her son all based on the premise that he was leaving notes for the tooth fairy), read great books together, write a family mission statement together. Ask a friend or relative to write to your child and encourage your child to write back.

My freshman does his own work.

Then obviously something is going right in your home. To what do you attribute this? Is this really just this child’s nature or have you done something to inspire this?

They love playing, watching TV, or anything else but "school."

It is great that they love playing. We should all play more. BUT the type of play is crucial. Math can be play, exercise can be play, yard work can, so can any kind of academics. However, as is discussed in LE we have to allow the “right kind of vacuum”. If a child’s time is filled with television and computer games there is no “right kind of vacuum”. Rather than attempting to require what your children do you may have to place limits and make it clear what they may not do. If there is something to constantly entertain then thinking, reading, writing, and coming up with creative things to do becomes unnecessary and far less attractive.

Your subject line mentioned guilt. I’m not seeing in your post where the guilt comes in. How would getting off the conveyor bring up guilt for you? Is it really guilt or fear? I would encourage you to look at this deeply. Often when we are making motions towards getting off the conveyor belt we are afraid our children will miss something or that we are cheating them in some way. It is useful to get this fear out of the dark closet and into the light of day. We might be afraid they will never experience the joy we had on the night of our senior prom. Maybe they won’t learn trigonometry before they are 18. Maybe they will never have a high school sweetheart. Maybe they will never learn how to read, or write a paper without grammatical errors. If fear is the issue I encourage you to get as specific as you can about what it is. Sometimes what is holding us back is not even our own fear. It is someone else’s; your husband’s, mother-in-law’s, neighbors, etc. Can you get clear on the source of your guilty or fearful feelings?

Jumping off the conveyor belt into Leadership Education is a wonderful path. Exciting, freeing and sometimes downright scary. But most of us have found it worth the work. I encourage you to be brave and give it a shot. What do you have to lose? You can rest assured that if you decide the conveyor is ideal for your children it will always be there waiting for you.

Shawn Crane


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