Monday, January 08, 2007

Education as Cultivation

Though I believe children benefit from a certain amount of "required" studies, I don't think enough attention is paid to aspects of education that we can't *make* our children do. I like to think of these in terms of cultivation - encouraging, nurturing, supporting, and even at times protecting.

These are some things we try to cultivate (and sometimes simply preserve by not disrupting or losing patience with it) in our home...

a spirit of cooperation
voluntary helpfulness
love of learning

Specific things we try to do...

...set up an environment in which love of learning is modeled

...provide them with good and beautiful materials so they have wonderful things to choose from when they are deciding what to do with their time

...encourage good things that the children come up with on their own, even if they aren't yet able to do them perfectly or they might cause a certain amount of trouble or they don't fit perfectly in with our school plans

...allow them to cook and clean with me when they are very small and want to partly *because* they want to

...provide children with opportunities for success - especially if they are struggling with something

...don't overload children with huge quantities of schoolwork at the expense of true learning

...beware of unreasonable expectations

...avoid condescending materials or attitudes

And don't forget supernatural grace!

I don't always succeed at these things, I get tired and cranky and sometimes just need a little quiet. But this is some of what I'm aiming at.

What do you do to encourage these good things in your children?

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