I want my kids to be self-motivated. I want them to do what they need to do without me bugging them.The problem is that I don’t even know if I’m self-motivated enough to write this blog. For instance, where was my post last week? I tell myself I’m committed to posting five days a week and then sometimes—actually, a lot of times—I choose to do something else besides write.
It’s not like I’m making money from this homeschool blog. I’m writing it because I want to have a conversation with people who are thoughtful on the topic. I want to take parenting risks with a group of people and not all by myself. But apparently I’m not as self-motivated as I want to be.
And what is the difference between self-motivation and self-discipline? I think they are very intertwined and self-discipline kills me. Every little bit of research about self-discipline makes me want to curl up in bed with ice cream and chocolate and The National Enquirer.
My son’s violin teacher talks about kids who play violin to get into college. I scoff. Of course. We have a love of music in our house. Of course.
But my older son is an INTJ. He needs a logical reason for doing anything. I think he might continue with violin because he likes the violin, or routine. Or maybe because he loves the violin teacher. But it’s probably also because I told him it would help him get into college, and he wants to get into a strong program for astrobiology. (Please: ask me about the possibility of other life in the universe. Did you know astrobiologists think there are billions of planets that could support life?)
So my son’s self-motivation to play the violin comes from his drive to go to college. Not exactly the type of music student an unschooling parent intends to raise. But I’m starting to think it’s okay. Lots of people do not like doing things with no goal. Being goal oriented is probably a harbinger of workplace success, actually.
It’s just that it looks like a sellout in the music world. And the unschooling world. And all the other touchy-feely, make-life-beautiful parts of our civilization.
So it’s hard for me to admit that my son plays violin to get into college. I feel like I’m an unschooling poser. And it’s hard for me to say I’m teaching goal-oriented self-discipline when I am screaming at the kids right now to leave me alone so I can post because I haven’t posted in a week.
(“Why didn’t you post last week?”
“If you posted last week you wouldn’t be yelling at us.”
“You guys should both shut up and leave me alone.”)
What is the point of unschooling? I am not sure I even know right now. When you have a kid who is super goal-oriented, you help that child identify their own goals, as opposed to letting someone else choose them. And I’ve done that, even if I never intended to have my son to align himself with alien hunters.