Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Intrinsic motivation

One of my major premises for homeschooling is to instill a love of learning. The highest hope is to learn for the sake of learning, because intrinsic learning is fascinating and blissful. Now, not all of life will be about following your bliss. But, you should be given the time and space to follow your bliss because that is your path that is where your deepest learning will happen. How do you learn to follow your bliss if you are following a carrot instead? I think the idea of rewards to lead you in a direction of uninterested learning is confusing. Learning multiplication before it has any inherent use or interest is a waste of time and energy. Why worry so much about manipulating children with rewards to get them to do intellectual work of which they have no interest. Most likely they will not use it, not know how to apply it, or just forget it.

Learning to follow intrinsic motivation or bliss is a powerful teacher. We are doing our kids a great disservice these days to put so much responsibility for 'remembering' and 'executive functioning' at such young ages. Their minds are wondering and wondering about so much. They are taking in the world in great gulps and then little sips. They are not little adults, they are children and they need to develop their minds and learn from doing and experiencing consequences. Their minds should be given permission to roam and explore and make mistakes. They should have room to be irresponsible and make mistakes while we are watching so they can get feedback and learn from mistakes. They should be given encouragement when they fail and role modeling to learn the skills of goal setting and caring for one self, the world and for others.

I am so grateful to be homeschooling. I cannot imagine having to try and stuff my children into the box we call public education. It has gone so far off track. The learning that was so important to the early childhood educator (like sharing, eye hand coordination, singing, dancing, and so many other important developmental games that lead to a complete whole functioning body/brain connection) has gone to the way side for important 'standards' brain based outcomes. The other day my son said 'mom, you know what is wrong with the world? People don't help one another enough.'  I felt like I might not be such a bad teacher after all.

If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.

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