As I see it, when it comes to allowing your child to live from his or her strength, the most important non-step is to “First, do no harm!”. Meaning, interfere as little as possible with how your child goes about learning and figuring things out. Since every person’s learning style is as unique as his or her’s finger-print you may never really fully know how they learn, though you will get some clues. The more your child goes about learning in his or her own way the stronger and more effective a learner he or she will become. No need to teach, though you can always show and share and play and continue if asked to do it again. No need to test. You will be around to see what they know. Be content with whatever it is. More will fall into place when the time is right. If you get asked questions make sure you answer as best you can. No need to return the question back to the child to make him think. He or she are working things out all the time. Just answer how to spell, or how much is… Your child will move on much faster to the next thing if you just supply the answers when asked…
Later on you can start naming what you see them doing to give them the language to describe their strength: “you really love the challenge of a new game”, “you seem to solve problems best when you follow an orderly plan”, “you pay attention to the smallest details” “you have natural negotiation skills” “you are very persistent and thorough”, and on and on. You will not cover everything they have, but you are teaching them to pay attention and honor their strengths, as they are expressed in day-to-day living.
As Socrates mentioned many, many years ago: “know thyself” is part of what we want to accomplish while we are alive. Same goes for our children. They will be comparing themselves to others they meet as part of learning about themselves. Just like us, they would love to get feedback on who they are and what are their strong suits. I remember telling my boys about the Kolbe Index test that I took online (http://www.kolbe.com/). It is a test whose goal is to pin-point your natural mode of operation. How you naturally approach things. Kathy Kolbe claims that stress comes from trying to do things that are contrary to your natural (what you were born with) mode of operation. My boys chose to take the test too (they were 10 and 13) and were thrilled with the validation they each got for how they naturally approach doing things and the encouragement to stick to it when possible.
Lastly, to create a culture in your home that deals more with living from what is right with you, work on forming the habit of asking: “what is right with my child” instead of: “what is wrong with my child”. You want to get answers that will allow you to support yourself and your child and you therefore want to focus on what is absolutely right with your child.
This may take some getting used to, and you may stumble and fall more than once, since most of us grew in a very different culture and still think that we must improve what is wrong with us and with the people around us… I stumble much with my daughter when my fears of what shall come to pass if I don’t correct the wrongs take over me. If need be, I remove myself from the scene to let her do whatever she does without my unhelpful reactions. I remember doing it also with my older boy when he just started writing online and had so many spelling mistakes… I moved away to not be tempted to constantly correct him. A month later when I happened to peek again over his shoulder, I could not believe how much his spelling improved! All that without me being there to manage his life and correct him…
Trust may be hard to come by but it is well worth the effort!
Hello. I am a Pagan Full-Time Mommy. So oviously, I love all tginhs natural & want my child to be a kind, compassionate, open-minded, nature loving person. My child is only 2 right now, but I intend to either homeschool with a Waldorf curriculum (with heaps of unschooling thrown in) or unschool w/a Waldorf flavor. I will probably choose the first option (oufrom lack of confidence- I was taught in public bottom of the barrel US schools, so I’m a little scared of what I am or am not capable of- lol.) Anyway, I stumbled onto your site today, while looking up something else on Pinterest & I can’t wait to read your blogs! The crafts look like so much fun! Plus it’s great to find people that don’t cringe at the thought of teaching your own, or *gasp* the thought of exposing them to the outdoors & the real world as opposed to letting the TV babysit. Thanks!