I’m still playing with Amy Chua’s ideas in her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. (Read below for some her ideas).
My kids are my guinea pigs. Guess what? Her ideas actually work.
Take my 11 year old son, Jacob, for example. He’s definitely ADHD, but he’s plenty smart. He’s never wanted to study for the spelling bee because it would be ” a waste of time.” This is his third eligible year.
While his younger brother wanted to do it this year, Jacob still had not interest. But I didn’t care. I told him he had to qualify for the school spelling bee. That would mean he’s have to beat out 32 students for one of the three spots in his class.
“What if I don’t win?” he asked.
“What if I don’t?”
“What if I don’t?”
“Then you’ll be grounded for a week.”
“Really? You’ll ground me for a week?”
“No,” I said. “You’ll just have to do all of our family laundry for a week.”
“Huh?” he said incredulously, but he smiled. And I did too.
I told him that he could play as soon as he had gone through the ninety practice spelling words his teacher had sent home with him. We went over them together. He missed most of them, but I had him spell each one until he got it right, and then he went off to play.
His dad went over them with him again last night.
I went over them again with him this afternoon. Now he just seems to accept it.
I got after his 2nd grade brother because he decided (unbeknownst to me), not to participate in his class bee.
“Why didn’t you do it?”
“I didn’t want to.”
“I’m not good at that.”
“You could have been, and you’re certainly smart enough. You are definitely doing it next year,” I said. “And you are also going to do the science fair next month since you didn’t do the spelling bee.”
He looked shocked, but as soon as he came home from school yesterday, he came up to my office and handed me the registration form for the science fair. Then I was shocked because he never gives me his school papers.
Today he said, “Remember, you need to sign my science form.” Perhaps Ms. Chua is on to something here. Perhaps our children like it when we show them we believe they are capable.