I’ve hit upon a new homeschooling policy with Biggie. If I’m going to expend time, thought, and energy filling his day with enriching activities, he’s agreed to go along with my choices.
If he has a problem with any of them, or wants to go in a different direction, he needs to write up his desires and the reasons why, a proposal of sorts. I promised that, while I would not rubber stamp his suggestions, I would give each proposal a serious and open-minded consideration.
Not only has this made writing more necessary and relevant to Biggie, but it has made him consider issues like audience, logic, and rhetoric. And it’s made him think hard about where he wants to invest his time and passion: As I find myself telling him with some frequency, “If it’s not worth writing up, you don’t really want to do it.”
I’ve got to be careful at my tone with this strategy, though. I don’t really want to reinforce the notion that I have all the power and control, and I dole it out at my whim. I don’t want to set up a bureaucracy.
Instead, I want to show him that I want to partner with him in listening to his desires and input, making choices about his life, and honoring our mutual time. I want him to take more ownership of this endeavor, to take up the responsibilities of making these choices and planning them out.