Sam is my challenging child when it comes to child-led, project-based homeschooling. He lacks the confidence to choose an activity, and tends to fall back on consuming media. I am A-OK with media consumption as part of a balanced life, but Sam will choose it to the exclusion of all else.
He doesn’t believe that he is creative. He thinks he doesn’t know how to imagine.
He told me this morning that he thinks he is “losting his mind” from not watching TV. In other words, he doesn’t know what else to do with himself.
My heart broke.
I sat down with him and asked if we could make a list of things he enjoys doing, other than watching TV. I made a few suggestions and he was enthusiastic about them and suggested others. We ended up with a short list of activities, some of them active and some passive, all of them engaging and fun for him as well as “educational” (because they are engaging and fun, see).
I immediately noticed a pattern. See if you see it, too. Here are three of the activities from our list:
- Read comic books and web comics.
- Practice writing letters and numbers.
- Work on drawing (from Draw Write Now and How To Draw Comics the Marvel Way).
I hesitated to point out that Sam is working his way up to writing his own comics. All of my research makes it very clear that children pursue their own interests on their own terms, and that pushing an idea on him could backfire. But I know Sam, and it would never in a million years occur to him that creating his own comic is an option. So I suggested it, as casually as I could.
Sam was super-skeptical, but asked if he could work on his drawing skills. Grace asked if she could join in, and they spend a terrific half hour working on animals from Draw Write Now.