Published here with permission from The MOORE REPORT INTERNATIONAL - September/October 2000

The Moore Foundation, Box 1, Camas, WA 98607

Questions and Answers

"What Can We Do About Following our Son's Interests?"

response by Wayne Chadwick, Educational Counselor

Q. We have a son, age 13, who really does not like or enjoy schooling. I made the mistake of starting and pushing him too early. He began at age 5 with ACE preschool curriculum [A program made up almost entirely of a stack of workbooks with little or no time for creativity] and then reading readiness with ACE at age 6. Also we did a basic reading program with ACE around age 7, because he still was not reading after the other two programs. Then he has done two years with ABEKA video and two years on my own, using left-over curriculum. He feels like he has been in school forever and can't wait to get out. He drags his feet about school and I am so sorry I schooled him like that. What should I do???

We have discovered he has a love for flowers. He has made his own flowerbed and I have houseplants everywhere. He seems to talk only flowers from when he wakes up until he goes to bed. I do not want to hinder this love, but want it to grow. He says he wants to work in a greenhouse. How can I encourage this and his schooling?

A. Since I also have long had a strong interest in plants, I think that I can relate to his enthusiasm. And I believe that you have a great opportunity for developing his educational skills by following his interests. In fact, I recommend that you put the conventional textbooks and workbooks on the shelf, at least until next fall. You will be able to integrate many skills into his activities with gardening and greenhousing.

For example: You can use math and geometry in laying out growing beds, figuring costs, ordering seeds and other supplies. You might want to order the book Square Foot Gardening from us. Language arts skills will be used in reading and research for more information and especially in keeping a journal -- very important for the serious grower. You can even study history and geography in tracing where some of the flowers and vegetables originated. And, of course, there is plenty of science involved in studying plants.

I don't know if you live in a rural location or what your budget will allow as far as building a greenhouse, etc. But if you want to e-mail me, I will be happy to share some more ideas -- especially on how your son can develop a money-making enterprise growing flowers, perennials, herbs, etc.