This post was originally a response to a question posted on a forum

On a delightful forum that I visit, another homeschool mum asked about her child’s pastime and questioned if it is worthwhile…should she encourage it, institute rules for it or discourage it. Having used a delight directed, relaxed, identity-directed, Spirit led, Bible-First approach for a few years I wrote in with my 2c worth, which I’ll copy and paste below.

I wonder if many relaxed or delight directed home schoolers face this…it strikes at the nature of homeschooling, doesn’t it? This is an issue that we have faced with at least 2 of our children so far…especially the two children who are the most intense in their personality. But this can be a good thing – as they mature, they can tend to approach all their work and efforts with passion, working hard at it, focusing on it and giving their best.

Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid. -Albert Einstein

Rather than try to look at the product of those activities, be it comic books, softball, computers, games or drawing…I’ve tried to focus on The Process. Now I still want it to be enjoyable for them. I don’t want to make it a school lesson and suck all the joy from it but as a Christian who also sees the value of natural learning I want them to live by Christian principles as well.

So I allow them to take after me!!! Eek, now that’s a scary thought! (Truly, the heart and soul of the learning at home lifestyle) I love web design and could easily spend 14 hours a day on my computer, building and designing as well as writing. I enjoy doing many things, which may or may not become productive one day. In fact, I’m quite sure it is productive but that still doesn’t mean that there are no guidelines. There are still chores, errands and duties that I must tend to first.

I also see the academic/spiritual/mental and /or physical nature in the activities I pursue. This helps me to focus on the process, not just the product.

I actually find it easier to parent the child who does have these interests – there is something to ‘work with’. For I can help this child to learn the value of self discipline, diligence, patience, sowing/reaping, etc within and throughout their journey with their ‘obsession’. An ‘obsession’ or interest gives me opportunity to teach many worthwhile life skills. Yahoo!

Teach them of the pitfalls of their interest. If the child is a boy, teach him of your concerns, so he may be educated about it. Teach him that a possible pitfall is that it can be an expensive hobby, addictive, take time away from family (and in the future his wife), contain anti Christian thought and other political/socio propaganda. As you go through each day, walking, sitting, reading, driving, talk to him about it .I tell my children everything – every thought that pops into my head! (Poor kids) I tell them of the possible pitfalls but also of the positives that they can learn throughout it all.

Who knows what skills can be learned throughout this interest? Talk to your husband about it. Who knows where it will lead? Even if it doesn’t lead anywhere, what valuable skills can be learned throughout it? Giving our children the freedom to pursue their interests is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.

You could try and fit it into lessons- so he can earn credits for it. I have made up a few notebooks for our interests (softball and coffee). These allow the parent to ‘see’ productivity and maybe one day go toward a credit as it can go into their portfolio. How fantastic would this be for an employer- if a prospective employee turned in a huge notebook of his work, relating to his interest even in a vague way? It shows a lot about the person’s character.

My notebooks go into everything from the history, rules, types, skills, political, social, geographical information as well as reading biographies or doing biographical sketches of notable people with that field. I’d just say not to focus too heavily on this part. If you have a funday or a light day in your homeschool, you could ask him to do some work on this project on that day – once a week. Who knows where it will lead?

Lastly, I have taught my children about true education. if I think they are spending too much time on something I may ask them what they are learning or working on. Tehee, this usually gets them thinking- if they can’t think of anything useful, educational or productive then I suggest that maybe they need to devote the morning to something more worthwhile. This is important to me because I don’t just want to teach my children academics at home – I want them to learn about education, so they can truly know what is education and what is ‘busy work’. This is part of a life skill – learning to discern the root thought of an attitude and make a decision whether or not it is worthy to participate in.

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