Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Joy to See

This is Michael. Reading a book. Because he wants to. And he's enjoying it.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (abridged)

If there's one thing homeschooling parents anguish and debate about, it's whether or not, and to what extent, we "force" our children to learn. The entire concept of "forcing," or even "coercing" kids to learn is (appropriately) counter-intuitive. Because you really can't force anyone to learn anything. And yet, the crux of our education system is based on coercion, and figuring out ways of convincing kids to learn exactly what the experts want them to learn, when they want them to learn it.

And we tend to bring that model into our homes when we chose to homeschool, not because it makes sense (because it doesn't) and not because everything we know about how learning happens supports that model (it doesn't), and not because it creates a rich learning environment and loving parent-child relationships (certainly doesn't do either of those). We bring it into our home because it's familiar. And we're afraid that if we don't, we're bad parents and bad educators.

Yes, I push reading on the kids in various forms. They are required to do a certain amount of reading on a weekly (if not daily) basis. They get to choose what they'd like to read (within reason), and it's considered part of their study time. It's one of the things I'm not willing to let go of because reading is such an important part of my life and who I am and what I do. And, let's face it, a huge portion of human communication is now in writing because so much of our information and interactions are internet based.

So, it's kind of a relief to see that I have not entirely killed Michael's desire to read, and that he has been able to find something he likes. And, that he's able to read independently. It's come about pretty quickly considering how long I've been "encouraging" him in this direction. Not that I'm taking credit. I blame it on the pizza.

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