Saturday, March 24, 2007

Nurturing a Strong Work Ethic

I found this blog post that I thought was really interesting. Actually, I found a link to it in another blog, although I do try to read the original blog when I can.

I think she has a valid point. Many people will say to us, "But how will they learn discipline if they're not in school?" "How will they learn that sometimes they have to do something they don't want to?"

It just seems like such a strange concern to have. If the boys should ever want to learn a new skill (let's hope they will!) like soccer or the piano, they'll have to practice to get good at it. They will learn that if they don't practice, they won't achieve their goals. This is discipline. This is a work ethic. And my children will learn that on their own, and their motivation will be intrinsic (ah, there's that word again). They won't have to sit through hundreds of hours of repetitive, boring, pointless drudgery, from which they'll get little reward.

But I think this also belies an underlying belief that children are, well.. bad. That they'll be lazy good-for-nothings if we don't force them to do two hours of homework every night, even if they already know the material. Personally, I think my children are good. I think that they'll learn to see the value of hard work, whether it be working to perfect a song on the violin or working a job to earn enough money for a vacation.

And here's another reason for me to not want my kids to do endless busywork. I don't want my kids to blindly do things because some authority figure says so. Can you imagine a teacher's response if a student said, "Excuse me, but I don't need to do this worksheet, I already know how to do this." Right. Of course, I expect my kids to do certain things, but I have valid reasons. Wanting my kids to finish a worksheet so I can have five minutes of peace does not count. If I pick out a book for my kids, and they think it sucks, I want them to be able to tell me why. And I'll listen, and we'll find something that fits their needs better.


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