Albert Einstein once said, “It is, in fact, nothing short a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom.”
I like the plant analogy, especially here at the beginning of spring. Our innate desire to learn is like a seedling.
You don’t have to convince it to grow. You don’t even have to show it how to grow. All it needs is the right conditions and it will produce flowers or fruits or vegetables.
That’s another thing about plants–there are a million varieties!
That led me to ponder…
If kids are like plants, what do they need to succeed?
I see this as the love, affection, and feelings of safety a child needs as the foundation for emotional health.
2. A Constant Supply of Clean Air
This is a home atmosphere that is loving, affirming, and encouraging at all hours of the day and night.
And when we parents fall short, we can “clear the air” with honest apologies and lots of positive interaction.
3. Fresh Water
These are the moments of refreshment and rest you provide your child. Most kids have breaking points–that’s when an observant parent pulls him away, takes him out for a treat, or just lets him have time alone.
This is what’s missing in traditional schooling; kids face too much stress and not enough rest.
4. Nutrient-Rich Soil
These are the books and experiences you provide your child that feed her “holy curiosity,” as Einstein puts it.
5. Space to Spread their Roots
This is the freedom to explore, fail, and experiment.
As homeschooling parents, we tend to be overprotective. Recognize that fact and allow yourself a little discomfort as you give your child some space. Chances are, you’ll find the perfect balance.
6. Continual Weeding
One person’s weed is another person’s flower. Just because you don’t like their music, doesn’t mean it’s okay to throw it out.
Think of weeding as side-stepping the unuseful. Provide positive and productive alternatives to the choices in his environment. If he doesn’t like that choice, figure out why and keep trying.
At the end of the growing season, what kinds of plants will they be? What benefit will they offer the world? That’s the fun of parenting…watching in wonder as they blossom before our eyes.
Parenting and homeschooling are not that complicated. Keep the basics in mind and don’t kill your seedlings.
Let them enjoy their childhood with parents who value their individuality–and let them savor learning, weeding out anything that might “strangle their curiosity.”
Do you agree? Are kids like plants? What kinds of kid-plants are growing in your house (and don’t say weeds!)?