What is the role of compulsion in our home, in our unschooling?
I vacillate, I dither, on this topic.
On the one hand, I have certain expectations. Mass, prayers, we all pitch in and do chores, some Maths, Religion reading, Latin, other activities, writing, reading, and so on, as they come up. A positive attitude. No mean-ness.
On the other hand, I like the idea of interest driven learning, of learning what interests one ~ as I see that this learning sticks, I like the idea of making everything count – hence, our Michael Jackson CD is part of our table and educational strewing.
Because a freeman ought not to be a slave in the acquisition of knowledge of any kind. Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
This quote, from Plato, has a ring of truth. Anthony remembers far more of the ancient language Arkadian and of ancient history ( his current loves, learning acquired without compulsion) than he does from his weekly French class.
And yet, and yet, when I asked Anthony to do some work as a follow up to recent visits and outings ( to the Sydney Aquarium and the Sydney Museum), well, Anthony became interested while completing the work, especially interested in the original source material, and he shared his interest with me.
My compulsion of activity and of acqusition of knowledge in a schooly way did not preclude an interest in the topic and did not exclude any learning. If my asking him to do some research and writing, and his easy compliance in between reading and rpgs and computer games, can be called compulsion, that is.
Com*pul”sion\, n. [L. compulsio. See Compel.] The act of compelling, or the state of being compelled; the act of driving or urging by force or by physical or moral constraint; subjection to force.
I don’t drive or urge by force or moral constraint…I usually ask and someone complies. If not, we talk. Or I give in. Or I say suck it up and do it anyway!
I push myself. I compel myself to do things, things that I feel are good but that my lazy nature doesn’t want to do. Phone calls for work today. A workout I dread last Friday and Saturday.
Can my kids develop that same personal sense of compulsion? To do what is right, what should be done, even if it is hard or not what you want..for now. What is my role in this, in my vocation as a parent?
I continue to sometimes compel and sometimes be laissez-faire..and to dither on this whole topic.
Do not think I am sitting here to pass the time away telling you that religious life is poetry. It is the roughest kind of prose. – Justina Reilly, IHM Quote from the blog A Nun’s Life
Sometimes, life is sheer poetry. Invigorating, rhythmic, free, full of awe, connected.
Sometimes life is prose. Or worse, plain unedited prose. Dry. No hooks. No superlatives. No haunting dreams or phrases.
How do I help my kids live through those times of uncompromising plain verse? With faith and prayer and the sacraments, for sure. By example, definitely. By loving and living the high moments, the sonnets.
And by preparation of will and self discipline… through the liturgical year, in times of penance.. through the sacrament of reconciliation… through the natural practice of virtues necessary in family life…and through the occasional compulsion, expectation, have-to?