August 2, 2013

The Importance of Perseverance

I have always believed that learning to work hard and sticking with things is way more important than being able to do hard things easily.  It is one of the reasons that I chose to homeschool.  I wanted to be sure that the scholar athlete experienced challenge in his academic pursuits.  I never intended to push him just for the sake of achievement and I tried to avoid frustration.  However, I quickly found that he became frustrated with anything that he didn't automatically understand.  I found myself constantly reassuring him that everyone makes mistakes and lecturing about how no one can learn if they only do things they already know how to do.  (Disclaimer:  I don't believe early academics should be pressured.  I think young children need to develop a joy in learning.  We did fun activities, read aloud, went on field trips, played, and only spent a small amount of time on paper pencil activities.  His resistance was clearly not about appropriateness - as an educator who has espoused a developmental philosophy that was where I questioned myself the most.)

Those were emotional and sometimes difficult times.  I doubted myself and sometimes wondered if I was pushing him to much.  I'm sure there are things I could have done better, but I'm glad that I stuck with the plan.  It taught us both valuable lessons.  I think grit is something that I am short on and it is something my son is still learning.  However, I have watched him make mistakes, then work to fix them.  He didn't make the baseball team he wanted to be on, but worked hard to improve his game with the team he was on.  He takes disappointment and even failure in stride and I am very thankful for that.

Moving Beyond the Page recently posted this video.  It reminded me once again how important character is.  Grit is a trait I wish I had more of and as I head into this new season of homeschooling, I feel that I need to work on this more with the Academic.  He has been in school for the last three years and the lack of challenge frustrated him.  I'm gearing up to help him face challenge.  I am praying that we both develop more perseverance this school year.

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