The following is a post from contributing writer Mary Prather.
I have a child that is very strong-willed.
The older she gets the more I see what an asset this is, and I’m trying to give her many and varied ways to use this will to her advantage.
While it can be frustrating to have her challenge nearly every single thing that is put in front of her (especially when it comes to school work), I decided to give her things that boldly and obviously are a challenge: to present her with adventures she can conquer and remember.
As I’ve been praying about this a lot lately, I’m coming to see that every child needs big adventures.
Adventures build confidence. They build stamina. They build character.
I thought about this concept of “adventures” a lot recently when my daughter traveled by herself on a plane to stay with family for a week. While I was apprehensive about it (of course adults have more fears than children because we are acutely aware of the risks), my daughter saw it as a challenge to be met – an inspiration to show her dad and I how mature she could be.
I’m happy to report the trip went well – the flights were smooth – and she conquered the challenge.
This year I’d like to give both of my children more adventures. How can I do that? I have a few ideas:
- Allow your children to plan and execute their own mini adventure – maybe it’s a weekend trip to a local state park, or maybe it’s a place they’ve always wanted to go. Let them plan everything and see how it goes.
- Tell your children you will leave them alone for one subject in your homeschool. I know, this is tricky. However, I think it might be worth it. Delegate a subject you feel your children can handle alone and let them decide and execute their education in this area.
- Give your children a list of dates for field trips and let them investigate opportunities in your area. Agree to honor their field trip requests and let them plan the trips.
- If your children are old enough and circumstances permit, let them go away by themselves for several days. We are with our children so much, and they need to know their own place in the world and realize God’s plans for them. We parents can sometimes be overbearing in this area.
- Let them serve! Present them with a list of service opportunities and let them serve their community. OR, let them create their own service opportunity. I love this list of 35 Service Projects for Kids.
I think we get so caught up in educating our children that we forget that at some point they need to educate themselves – and this can best be done through adventures.
It might be difficult, but if we step out of the way and let our children (especially the strong-willed ones!) lead us, the results might be quite amazing.
Have you given your children some excellent adventures? What were they?
Mary is a former public school music educator and piano teacher with a masters degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision. She is now a homeschooling mom of two and the author of SQUILT – a music appreciation curriculum for children. Visit her at Homegrown Learners, where she blogs about all things homeschooling.