Saturday, January 10, 2009

Evaluations for Unschoolers?

Devin took a series of private drum lessons before Christmas. He learned a lot, because it was something he was interested in and wanted to do. He is thinking about taking another series once we are back from our road trip to Florida.

Just yesterday we got an evaluation for his classes from his drum instructor. We didn't even know that they gave those out after a series.

Being an Unschooling family we do not get things like this about our kids, ever, so it was interesting to read for me.

As I was reading it to Devin, I said, "You did excellent in everything it says here Dev." he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Oh really." He wasn't excited, or motivated to *Be* or *Do* anything different than what he already was within himself. No evaluation was necessary at all because he held no value in his own self-worth or experience from what someone else felt about him.

As a kid, I would have felt a "high" from receiving that! I would have shown everyone in order to prove my greatness!. I would feel good because someone else thought that I was "good". So much of who I was back then was tied up in what others thought about me. Back then, I was told how I should feel about myself through things like evaluations.

It's interesting walking this path and seeing what our children living a rich, free life find exciting and where they hold their self-worth and self esteem. I absolutely love that Devin loves himself and doesn't need someone else to tell him his *Greatness*. He already knows, in a peaceful, self-love, matter-of-fact kind of way. This Evaluation meant nothing to him. He didn't like it or dislike it. It was just someone else's opinion, but it held no *Truth* for him about his own accomplishments.
By nature we are supposed to love ourselves and know our greatness. I believe that it is our cultures focus on praise and "Good Job" that deteriorates a child's self-worth over time because kids are conditioned to think that others are supposed to let them know how they are doing rather than *knowing* it themselves.
When someone says that someone else is "needy" in a relationship, this is often what it means, essentially. By praising someone growing up, which is well meaning, but damaging, they become dependant on others that to tell them their greatness.
I am so glad we are shifting consciousness in the understanding about what children need from us as parents. Kids instinctively know their greatness. We don't need to praise for the purpose of motivating. They need us to Trust that they already know how great they are and just be happy with them as partners in life.
In the end, even though Devin thought his Drum Evaluation was "kind of weird", I still hung it on the fridge and smile when I look at it.


Anna said...

Interesting viewpoint and one I hadn't heard or considered before. Thanks, this deserves some thought!

Muggle Born said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing that!

Anonymous said...

I wish I had Devin's attitude!

Nell @ Casual Friday Everyday said...

Something I would have never thought about before this post. But it's so true. I was homeschooled by my Mom and therefore didn't get those evals that schooled kids get. But I never felt like I needed a pat on the back to feel like I smart or good at something.

Now that I'm an adult I have to admit hearing "well done" or something that affirms I'm smart or good at something does feel good but I don't neeeed it to be worthwhile.


free thinker said...

Just the way it is supposed to be. Well worded, DAYNA, OH , no now i just evaluated you!

Heather said...

Hey - I ran across your website as I was researching unschooling. I am really interested in trying it with my 18 month old son, but there are things like jobs and mortgages to consider. That and not being sure of doing a very good job at it. I'm off to read more of your blog for inspiration. Keep up the good work :)

Hema A Bharadwaj said...

Dear Dayna... this post rocked for me. At age 34, i still need external validation/approval for myself. My children are way ahead... their self-worth is intact and undisturbed by the world.
I'm grateful for the glimpse your blog gives me into your family's journey. Love, hema