Gone are the days of letting kids ride their bikes around the neighborhood.
- Child: “Why can’t I ride my bike to Julie’s house?”
- Parent: “Because there are bad people who will steal children.”
Of course we do everything within our power to protect our children, but I worry that many parents take the same intensity of protecting their children from a predator as with a challenging math problem.
Even in the public school, parents’ radar for perceived threats to our children’s is quite active, but we must not confuse our children’s ease with our children’s protection. Protection tops the list of reasons parents choose to homeschool. As parents, we never want to see our children in any distress or danger, but are we allowing this sense of protection to cross the line and become a sense of controlling?
When we choose to homeschool, we can control almost every influence brought to bear on our children’s lives, but what happens when we see a child struggling to solve a math problem or sound out a new word? Their discomfort flips some ancient, innate switch in our parental mentality. Do we jump in and immediately relieve the struggle for the child? Is it necessary to save our child from the scary fractions? Is the child better off for having the teacher/parent swoop in a give them the answer just to relieve our own sense of vicarious suffering? Children need to learn that daily struggles and conflict are just as much a part of learning and life as anything else in their day. I challenge parents, homeschooling and otherwise, to think about their reactions to their child’s struggles in academics.
- Child: “May I ride to Julie’s house?”
- Parent: “Not alone.”
- Child: “May I please have ten more seconds to struggle through this math problem?” (Overcoming this challenge will give me a greater sense of accomplishment).
- Parent: “Absolutely.”