Monday, July 02, 2007

Inspire and Require.

Maureen left a comment on my blog post on Learning Principles.

~For me, "Inspire not Require" is more about modeling desired other words, not requiring modes of learning you are not also willing to pursue~


I definitely aim to inspire real learning, to be a good role model of learning myself. However, I also have no qualms about requiring study, yes, even study that I myself may not currently be undertaking.

For example, the boys are studying Latin - Alexander by choice, Thomas and Anny because I asked them to. I studied one term of Latin at school but have learned more Latin over the years of working with my kids. All the boys have studied at least one year of Latin, since dh and I think it is important - for language, for logical thinking, for beauty, for the Church.

So, with Latin, I am hoping to inspire and I definitely require the study. Yet, despite the element of requirement , last weekend, while making a roleplaying game, Anthony pulled out his Latin book .He perused the book, using Latin words for characters, places, items in the game. Anthony said it was fun!

My introducing a subject, my requiring a subject, did not kill a love of learning but enriched Anthony's play.

I decided that we are not aiming at perfection - just happiness and progression. So, some have tos and some want tos work for us. :-)

Basically, Gerry and I have always envisaged our sons studying at university. We both studied at university ( we met and married while university students) and we felt that the stretching of ourselves and of our minds via study was beneficial.

Now, our sons' lives are their own ( before God), and not ours, but university is a standard, so to speak, a given in our family. If someone really didn't want to study at unversity , had other goals, or wasn't suited for university study, that would be fine. Generally, however, even the younger two talk about "what I'll study at uni."

So, our unschooly - ness also reflects this university goal.

University is just seen as part of a path, perhaps, not as the be all or end all or defining of self.

All this discussion has been inspired by the book "A Thomas Jefferson Education." This book is on my next to read boook - in the education category that is! .....I tend to have several books going at once - one spiritual/theology, one for self educationn one geneal novel, one fitness, one homeschooling....

I have recently finished "The Latin Centred Curriculum" and can see how classical education can mesh with unschooling in our house. Reading Maureen's Thomas Jefferson Education Blog Carnival makes me interested in the learning stages and learning principles of TJE. I'll have to purchase a copy!

And I see how we can continue to blend all this with our educational lifestyle approach, as I read both Maria's and Cindy's blog posts on education and unschooling.

Thank you, Cindy, for encouraging this discussion!


Faith said...

I agree with you about the sometimes 'required' is legitimate. The thing is as the parent you see a broader perspective and you see your child and what his/her strengths and weaknesses are. For example, some of my kids are naturally empathetic, but I have a couple who just didn't get it; they just weren't as sensitive as the others. So I had to 'require' certain behavior from them. I had to teach empathy. I couldn't simply model it, because they didn't clue into it as well as some others.

So I think requiring is a legitimate thing on the parents' part. If I, for example, see Latin as I thing I would love to have learned and I can see all the benefits of having learned it young, I think I can require it even though at this time in my life I can't throw myself into the effort of learning it full throttle because I'm busy managing a household, raising children etc. Children have a lot more free time to devote to study.

Cindy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leonie said...

Faith, I think we all walk the line of how much parental authourity and how much freedom do we give our kids - wrt learin and to other areas, as well. You sound like you have a balance for you - we do, right now, but I now the balance changes!

Thank you for your comment - very practical and sensible! :-)

Faith said...

I think too the difference lies in how you require. For me the goal has become getting a year's worth of high school Latin under everyone's belt (including my own). However, this last year I tried to study Latin alongside my 14 yo. While he had lots of time I didn't! And I slowed him down. So this year he's doing a computer program on his own. Latin is rigorous! I am learning it bit by bit. That was one of the few objections I had to TJE. As the parent (who has trouble with time management anyway) I simply didn't have the time to focus on all the study I wanted to model for my kids.

However, we try to incorporate Latin in a fun way too by putting up quotes, learning about Latin roots, listening to Latin prayers, reading children's books in Latin, etc. And I think too it is important to make sure one is sensitive to the child's needs, moods, learning styles, etc.

But just as (I think anyway) it is legitimate to require a child do chores or attend Mass, I think there are some parts of education which can be required too. Some of them can learned by modeling or because the child takes off on his/her own. But if that doesn't happen . . .

Sorry to go on so long! Can you tell that this issue was just a point of discussion in my house? LOL!

Cindy said...

Hi Faith-

What Latin program is your ds using?

I am trying to formulate my thoughts on requiring.... I relate to much of what you both have said.

I find that it ties in a lot with the atmosphere of the home. Resprect-- I guess I see a lot of Cm and JPII here.... that we require each other to be kind, respectful, contribute to the household and family, etc.

When I get the question about how can my kids be diciplined if we don't have a lot of table time, that is where I gravitate- that there is a deeper kind of discipline that does not always show up in a crossed-off to do list.. lfkwim?

I think dc really need the requirements from parents, the expectation that keeps things fresh -- that helps them be their best and strive now and then.

I understand what you said, Faith about teaching certain virtues- I think kids can be so different, that what is an issue for one may not be for another.

Now, requiring as far as academics.. that is another area and I still mulling... :)

Cindy said...

ps - the deleted comment was mine when I was trying to arrange my thoughts! :)

Leonie said...

lol! CIndy, re the deleted comment!

Faith, I have tried to learn alongisde my kids but also know tha with a busy household; that is not always possible - so, often, I ask them to do a study that I personally will not have time to undertake. But I will learn from them!

And I am learning in other areas, sill doing Kumon maths sheets myself, so set an example in my own way....

I think, too, that parents see the bigger picture, as you said, so requiring, in a spirit of family co-operation, works for us.

Too much requiring seems to kill that family spirit here. Too little and I am not sure that there is enouh stretching or that some necessary things will be covered....

Thanks for your thouhts, Cindy - I like the idea of bringing in CM and JP2. Connections.