It’s amazing how much ‘work’ a student will do when they really buy in to why they are doing it. When there is a tangible result with a real reward – like shopping for $10,000 worth of Christmas gifts for kids with cancer – writing letters and speeches, making to do lists and phoning strangers to request interviews gets done with vigor. (As a mom, I grant that some of that vigor may come as a means of justifying the house chores that her brothers have taken over to give her time for these added duties.)
One of the blessings of homeschooling is that I can, often, coordinate the work required to keep them on track with the public school students with events and projects in their lives. I’m not saying that all the school work we do is relevant on such a grand scale as raising ten thousand dollars. But most of it can be made relevant enough that they buy in.
For example, Canadian history happened right where we live. The growing of a country leading to our confederation is local history. We can walk to the old cannon that my kids like to create skits around and study our very own history in conjunction. We have, in fact, covered dramatic arts topics after picnicking there. Come to think of it, we have gone home and studied Newton’s laws of physics, after marveling at the distance the cannon had to shoot to hit a boat in the harbour. And…
…We’re back to history as we wonder and research just who would have been attacking from the harbour that we should need a cannon on a hill.
I sit here writing on a Sunday evening while Cheridan repeats the speech she wrote to the mirror, ad nauseum. There is a deadline for delivering that speech that she has bought into. Earlier, she spent time brainstorming for a press release that needs to get out first thing this week. More buy in.
Much praise should be given to teachers in school, as many of them manage to get their students to feel the relevance of their subject matter despite not being able to personalize it for each individual. Personally, I am very blessed to be able to say ‘Yes!’ when our daughter wants to raise a huge sum of money for charity and then get to apply much of the learning to her schooling – and the rest, to her life.