16 January 2009

To Be or to Do -- that is the question

How do I steward a child that prefers to Be rather than to Do? It fascinates me how some children would prefer to be told what to do, others would prefer to do on their own, and some would prefer to be. To exist. Isn't that what Buddhism and Hinduism aspire towards? To be present in the moment? And yet as parents we must guide our children into the ways of the world teaching what we know of the past and present so they can move into the future.

Many of my efforts to orient Augustus toward a new project or a new study are met with resistance particularly if it involves him DOing the work on his own. His attention span for work tasks seems very short. Yet when I accompany him, and constantly steer him towards the goal, he can be very engaged. Also, I try to put patterns of rigor in place, or structured schedules with good results--for a time. After a few days the schedule seems to fall away. In part, I feel it is because I have my own list of things I want to get done. (Do other homeschool parents actually do nothing else while their kids are schooling?) I do see improvements in reading, and have begun to ask him to handwrite in cursive each day for dictation and spelling. We cover history and his online class covers physics. I'm introducing geography as we read history. Math for the moment continues to be the weakest link, but I feel he'll develop into that with time and periodic reintroduction.

I think the answer is that this organic development called Augustus' education continues to find it's roots and grow. He is not a creature of habit, rather of place. Augustus basically wants to be in his own space and on his own time. I'm striving to teach him a balance. It's not easy, but I do continue to believe that seeing Augustus growing in more than academic ways is just as important if not more so. What I see developing is a solid emotional, ethical, and intellectual foundation of a human being. And in the meantime I slip in academics as I can.