Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Attachment and Homeschooling II

I just finished reading Gordon Neufeld's Hold on to Your Kids, and it has really inspired me to deal differently with my children, especially with reference to homeschooling. Neufeld postulates that most of what is wrong with our youth today is due to them getting more attached to their peers than their parents, and that the fix to these problems is to find ways to strengthen the adult-child bond. Now, I want to preface this by saying that Neufeld does not endorse homeschooling as the answer to these problems, recognizing that for so many, this is just not a feasible course of action. However, for those of us who can homeschool, we need to make the most of it.

I went into the world of homeschooling thinking that I was providing my children with a superb education. In my mind, that included reading, writing, math, science. For a while, I was rather taken in by the curricula that endeavor to turn children into independent learners. I found myself trying to get Grasshopper to do some of her work and chores on her own. But after reading this book, I understand that I have a great opportunity to cultivate warm attachments between my children and all of the adults in their lives.

The basic premise embraced by Neufeld is that children will naturally want to be good and do what we tell them if they are sufficiently attached to us emotionally. If they are sufficiently attached and do not at least try to be good, then they are yet too immature to be able to do what is being asked of them. I realized that the times that Grasshopper was not doing what was asked were due either to immaturity or a lack of attachment with me. Considering she sometimes did what I asked of her and her frequent begging for time with me, I had to assume that the problem was more with her attachment needs.

So I have started to view my role very differently. Instead of having her do a worksheet while I do laundry, we do laundry together and then do the worksheet together. I don't usually help with her work, but I find things to do at her side so we can talk about the work while she is doing it. Instead of leaving her home with Dad when I go grocery shopping, she comes with me, and we go to lunch together afterward.

However, I was drawing the line at playing on the computer with her, and she was really fighting me on it. She wanted that to be something we could do together, and I maintained that this was a half hour that I should be getting something done. Yesterday, we had the same discussion, and I told her that I needed to make some phone calls while she was playing. She responded, "Then make your phone calls in here!" Well if that is all that she needed, it seemed a reasonable thing to do. I made my phone calls, and she respected my time on the phone. When I was done, she was able to say, "Look, Mom, isn't this cool!"

Now, on the front end of this endeavor, I was left with less "me time." But I am finding that as I go out of my way to spend time with her, she is more likely to go off and do her own thing. So while I have less control over when I get my "me time," I am still getting it. At any rate, a little less "me time" now is a great investment into my child's future. And I see that her education is more than just academic.


  1. Thanks for this! Just what I needed to hear today. :)

  2. Hi, Jenny! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I am glad to know that it is helpful to others.


Latter-day Homeschooling