Striking a balance between the beasties' plans and our plans is a constant struggle in our homeschooling journey. I struggle with my teacher side which wants to plan every little detail and my more hippie side which wants to let things just flow. There appears to me to be a middle road that meanders through these two extremes. My goal is to follow that road as best as possible.
This morning typified what I have learned about how the beasties work. Now given their own choice, they'd watch Netflix instant streaming or play X-Box all day (depending on which beastie you ask). When I call a quit on electronics, boy beastie will play with Legos and maybe even read. Girl beastie 1 and 2 event elaborate story lines with their stuffies. None of these things qualify as non-learning but I do think that a little structure is important. It's that middle road, and it's a middle road I try hard to get them to see rather than impose it on them. I know that they may go to college someday and that we have to start prepping them for a learning world that is not home. So after breakfast and some electronics time, I pushed, gently, towards the dreaded Math books. Boy beastie is quite good at math concepts but he detests the drudgery work associated with Math. Girl beastie 1 just plain hates Math.
As usual, there was whining, eye rolling and sulking. I counted to ten because lately my patience has been in short supply (no sleep and little baby). Instead of yelling, I just pointed out that they only had to do one sheet each and then they were done. I sat with them and nursed R so that they could have me there if needed. They both sat down, and did the work. And that's when the amazing thing happened. After helping them, I went to nurse R in our bedroom. Beastie C came in and asked me if she could do another page. Hell yeah! Please! Then Boy Beastie came in and wanted to show me his drawing of a Native American village and his "village." He explained to me what things were and then said he didn't see much alike in the two villages. He went on to list the differences. At the library, Beastie C sat and read three books on wolves including one with Native American myths. She speculated with me about why Native peoples might use the wolf so much in their stories ("The wolf can be very mysterious."). Boy beastie was engrossed in a book on the Hoover Dam. When we got home, Beastie C did a bunch of science experiments, sharing her results with everyone which in turn got them excited to try them out. After dinner, all the beasties did wet watercolor paintings representing autumn. They were lovely and Beastie P did this wonderful abstract painting in which she captured water, leaves changing and pumpkins.
I told H how that it's neat that if I push them just a little, it seems to set off this chain reaction in which they engage in a variety of other learning activities that I don't have to push on them. The freedom comes with a little reminder of the restriction.