Should we "push" our children to learn?

 Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning

I’m going to start critiquing some of the homeschool methodology/philosophy books I’ve read. Oliver Van DeMille (along with his wife Rachel) created the Leadership Education method, also know by the title of Oliver’s first book on the subject A Thomas Jefferson Education. I have garnered much from this philosophy. However, there are several points that I question from my perspective of a Contemplative Homeschool. I will discuss one such issue here: whether we should “push” our children to learn or wait “until they are ready.”

The DeMilles take up the question on pages 20-23 of Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning. They are criticizing the work of Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky “taught that teachers should observe students playing and intervene at a sign of interest to push them beyond their comfort level.” The Demilles argue that this works with adults, but not small children. They say that pushing kids teaches these lessons, among others:
  • “Learning is what I am forced to do by others when I’d rather be enjoying what I discover myself “
  • “I do not know anything unless someone certifies to me that I do.”
  • “The things I am really interested in are not very important.”
  • “When I am a Mom/Dad I will worry and ‘beat myself up’ about what I am not doing and wonder if I should be doing what I am doing.”
  • “The faster I grow up, the better.”
  • “Once I am a Mom/Dad I will not need to study any more.”

Read the rest at  Contemplative Homeschool.


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