My Attitude

I’m attempting to adjust my attitude towards M’s attitude (if that makes sense) by reading a book called Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self Directed Learners by Lori Pickert.  In a nutshell, this book is about giving your child an environment which encourages them to follow their interests and learn ‘deeply’ and independently.  By the ‘environment’ I mean both the physical space and the attitude towards learning in our home.  Perhaps that wasn’t explained brilliantly, but follow the link to Amazon if you’re at all interested in finding out more!

On Monday, as my fellow Facebookers will know, I had a bit of a wobble, having had yet another ‘run in’ with M the night before.  Knowing how anti-workbook she is at present (she is now refusing to do MEP too) I began to fear that she would have no Maths knowledge at all so I had a look online to see if I could find some way of getting Maths into creative projects.  I found a few, including an AMAZING free booklet written by the Turner Contemporary called Maths Through Pattern.  When I approached her with some ideas the look on her face suggested I had asked her to eat cat sick – she was horrified! Ho hum.

So when the girls were in pottery on Monday afternoon, I sat under a tree in a beautiful sunny church yard next door, took a deep breath and read Lori Pickert’s book.

I realised that I need to meet M where she is, instead of trying to tempt her to where I want her to go.  I need to spend some REAL time with her, rather than assuming she is busy so I can get on with emptying the dishwasher or whatever.  I need to show that I VALUE how SHE chooses to spend her time.

The book does stress that you’re not going to make a self-directed learner overnight but I thought I would sit down with her while she was making her Father’s Day card to see what happened.  I have to say, I found it VERY difficult to be as hands off as the books suggests, but M did seem to appreciate my input anyway.  I backed off from all non-specific praise and remembered to ask her what she thought she should do next; how it could be put together; was there anything else she wanted to add; what would work better etc etc.

She finished the card this afternoon, and the joy on her face as it neared completion was a sight to see.  She was sooo proud of herself!  As soon as it was finished she asked if I would read to her (D was busy watching Disney’s Robin Hood at this point) and I was so pleased that she still wanted to spend time with me, and doing something that I loved doing too.  So we sat on our bed together and read two chapters of A Series of Unfortunate Events.  It was lovely.

I will be interested to see if my new attitude makes any difference to M’s attitude… watch this space…

In other news, today we had a trip to Wimbledon and D got to ride her scooter for the first time – I was awed by how well she handled it.  This scooter is a two wheeler and her old one had three.  She had a few set-backs and had to go much slower than usual while she learnt to balance but she handled it with grace and maturity.

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We also made England flags (painted fabric attached to an old bamboo cane with masking tape!) in readiness for the England v Italy match on Saturday. The girls are very excited as J said they can watch it even though it starts at 11pm!!!

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Edit: I have reflected on my attitude 10 months on here.

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15 thoughts on “My Attitude

  1. It’s a great book isn’t it?

    My 9yo doesn’t like workbooks either. The kids seem to pick up most of their number knowledge through board games, computer games, and conversation (noticing patterns in numbers and chatting about them).

    We’d better get on and make Father’s Day cards – leaving it till the last minute as usual!

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    1. Hi Jo, I’m hoping that M picks up maths in this way too as all maths workbooks won’t be tolerated anymore! Hope you managed to fit in the Father’s Day cards today. I’ve just realised that I’ve forgotten my own father!!

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  2. Good for you it takes courage and wisdom to approach things by meeting people where they are at (unconditionally), and then through that walking alongside them as they develop. Not to mention a ton of self restraint! Lol! But it’s much more gracious, and ultimately more rewarding. I’m aiming for that with my kids, but it’s hard, especially when I recognise my natural desire to be in charge/control. Let us know how you get on, it’s encouraging to read your journey.

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    1. Thank you – what kind words! Yes, structure, workbooks and lessons are sooo much more me, but there’s very little point when it becomes a battle, ha! I will keep you posted x

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    2. I write eBooks for girls and their mothers to share. The latest one, Four Season Friends, is about homeschooling, friendship, families and love. Maybe you could read a few chapters aloud with the girls and discuss them. I read to my girls when they were young and they seemed to get better attitudes. I have good discussion questions at the end of the book. Hope you like it.
      http://amzn.to/SuRAN0

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  3. It isn’t easy to step back is it? It took me a while to get to the point where I can be hands off with certain things. My eldest still likes to work from a text book for maths – I think he is just academically wired you know.
    I was at story time in our local library a week ago with the little one ( big was on the micro film reader) and at the end the children were given materials to make a clown face. I left mine to it and he happilly slapped wool, stickers and crayon on his paper plate without any intervention. Importantly he was really happy about the whole thing and proud when he’d finished. Conversely, the little curly haired girl next to him threw a massive wobbler and ended up in tears. It was obvious why. Her mum was sat with her and kept handing her the appropriate material to make ‘mums’ clown – mums idea of what it shoukd look like. The poor kid was frustrated but being only three she was unable to articulate and had a scream – good for her.
    It was a really blatant lesson in valuing a childs opinion and giving them respect. It is so easy to push your expectations on to your child and I think it can be pretty damaging.
    I still do it but I’m aware now and can apologise and back off. My eldest just says ‘muum’ if I start leading him too much now which tickles me:)
    I didn’t even know there was a football match today lol! Enjoy your flag waving. Thanks for linking up with this weeks #homeedlinkup

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    1. Yes, I agree – it takes a great deal of courage to step back and trust that your child knows best. I’m still working on it to be honest! I can’t believe how much I’ve learnt and changed since beginning HE!

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  4. This is a fabulous insight to what might face our tribe, as I start on the home ed journey, my littles are much younger at just nearly 4 and 5, but there is definitely an aversion to ‘work’ and I know that it clashes with my learning style and personality that would independently do a workbook all day everyday! Lots of deep breathing I should imagine 😉

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    1. Yes, indeed – many deep breaths needed!! It is really hard to deschool as an adult – throwing out everything you know as work and learning takes some time. Good luck!

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