HOMESCHOOLING

dealing with {her} obsession

P1010007

What does this look like to you? An owl, right? Or maybe even a cat or dog…But not if you’re five and obsessed with horses. If that’s the case all you see when you look at this is a horse. Horse. Horse. Horse. And good, bad (or ugly) you’re going to give it nostrils and a pair of reins.

Emma has fantastic qualities that I love about her. She’s strong. Confident. Determined. Focused. These are amazing qualities for a little girl to have. But these same qualities are also hard at work when it comes to her obsession with horses.

And I’m struggling with it.

I have a hard time getting her to expand her curiosities, her artwork, her reading selections, her discussions in the car, her answer to "what should we do today?" ; and to show interest in other things.

Right now, I’m torn on how to handle the situation.  And since I’m homeschooling, this issue comes up a lot for me. Do I just jump in with both feet and say, "okay, we LOOOVE horses!" We’re counting and adding horses in math, horse stories for reading, horse drawings for art, horse body parts for science, horse breeds for social studies!!

Do I delicately try to move her in another direction?

Or do I enforce some ‘no horses’ rules?

Many people would say–This will pass. All girls are obsessed with horses. But with Emma, I’m not so sure. When she latches on to something, she latches on tight until her knuckles are white.

For now, I’m starting with a small step. Tomorrow we’re getting out our sketch pads and colored pencils and answering this question: "what are you curious about?" And I intend on sitting right beside her and filling up my sketch pad with my own drawings and words, too.  (Frankly, there are too many things I’d like to learn about) but maybe I can get her thinking and breathe a little fresh air into that horse brain of hers. After that….well, I’m not really sure. But I’ll be sure to sneak you a little peak at her notebook when we’re done….

*****just for you know*****I’ve changed my words a little bit in this post this morning. I wrote it late last night– tired, exhausted–you all know how that is. So this morning I’m reading it and feeling less concerned or something….or maybe just hearing the advice rolling in makes me realize that I should just embrace it, encourage it and take it seriously. Something tells me that if I don’t give her "passion", (thanks Mindy) its due attention, I’ll be breaking a little heart.  Other curiosities will come along, too.*****

P1010007

What does this look like to you? An owl, right? Or maybe even a cat or dog…But not if you’re five and obsessed with horses. If that’s the case all you see when you look at this is a horse. Horse. Horse. Horse. And good, bad (or ugly) you’re going to give it nostrils and a pair of reins.

Emma has fantastic qualities that I love about her. She’s strong. Confident. Determined. Focused. These are amazing qualities for a little girl to have. But these same qualities are also hard at work when it comes to her obsession with horses.

And I’m struggling with it.

I have a hard time getting her to expand her curiosities, her artwork, her reading selections, her discussions in the car, her answer to "what should we do today?" ; and to show interest in other things.

Right now, I’m torn on how to handle the situation.  And since I’m homeschooling, this issue comes up a lot for me. Do I just jump in with both feet and say, "okay, we LOOOVE horses!" We’re counting and adding horses in math, horse stories for reading, horse drawings for art, horse body parts for science, horse breeds for social studies!!

Do I delicately try to move her in another direction?

Or do I enforce some ‘no horses’ rules?

Many people would say–This will pass. All girls are obsessed with horses. But with Emma, I’m not so sure. When she latches on to something, she latches on tight until her knuckles are white.

For now, I’m starting with a small step. Tomorrow we’re getting out our sketch pads and colored pencils and answering this question: "what are you curious about?" And I intend on sitting right beside her and filling up my sketch pad with my own drawings and words, too.  (Frankly, there are too many things I’d like to learn about) but maybe I can get her thinking and breathe a little fresh air into that horse brain of hers. After that….well, I’m not really sure. But I’ll be sure to sneak you a little peak at her notebook when we’re done….

*****just for you know*****I’ve changed my words a little bit in this post this morning. I wrote it late last night– tired, exhausted–you all know how that is. So this morning I’m reading it and feeling less concerned or something….or maybe just hearing the advice rolling in makes me realize that I should just embrace it, encourage it and take it seriously. Something tells me that if I don’t give her "passion", (thanks Mindy) its due attention, I’ll be breaking a little heart.  Other curiosities will come along, too.*****

29 comments on “dealing with {her} obsession”

  1. I understand. I have a 5 yr old boy and for about the past 2-3 years he has been obsessed with soldiers, war, America, weapons etc. Kind of broad in one way – but narrow in another.

    For some reason it made me sad to see all his pictures were of soldiers and related materials.

    He does have some other interests – but this is his obsession…he does listen to stories about stuff other than his obsession and so that is helpful.

    I guess one thing would be to help her broaden her interest by not asking her what she would like to read or draw or learn about ALL THE TIME – but sometimes tell her “today we are going to read about cats, or birds”…and though she may not enjoy it at first – good just to get in something more.

  2. Reading your entry made me think back to being a horse-made little girl myself. For me it was an insatiable desire, that was never quite satisfied by endless books, stories, make-believe games, riding lessons, camps and (ultimately) a half-share in my own horse. I think a lot of horsey books (and horsey girls) are pretty unbalanced, really. For me it probably didn’t wear off til I turned 16 and had other big things to deal with. It makes me a bit sad now to think of all those years that I missed out on so much and all those birthdays and christmases that seemed flat and unsatisfactory when the long-for horse didn’t arrive.On the other hand, I think I was more dissatisfied because I felt none of the adults in my life took my obsession very seriously. This probably doesn’t help much. I guess I think somewhere there’s a balance between acknowledging the passion and not indulging it too much. Good luck.

  3. I have been homeschooling since my oldest was 6, he is now 14. And I have to tell you that both he and his sister have learned so much more when I just let them run with their passions. Back in the beginning I would always worry that they were becoming a little too obsessed with certain things and try to broaden their horizons a bit. They would completely shut down when I did this. It didn’t take me long to learn my lesson.

    Of course, this tactic may not work for you. But with my babes strong passions definitely lead to more learning than I thought possible.

  4. Let her have her horses. If that is what she is into then jump into it full force. Use it when ever you can. This is something that can be a connection with the two of you.

    What you are seeing as an obsession others would call a passion. Let her have it. She will grow up and face other things soon enough.

  5. I may be in the minority on this one, but I say go with the horses related to every subject if she will listen to you and learn the lesson. I think horses are an animal that can find its way into almost every subject…this coming from the daughter of a very fine TX horseman. (my parents raise quarter horses). Good luck!

  6. I would definitely encourage her passion, it is wonderful and amazing to have that feeling. Remember that you are half of the homeschooling equation and when you are feeling tired of horses, just let her know you need a horse break sometimes. Your opinion counts, too!

  7. for whatever it’s worth (though it seems like you’re already there), i say go with the horses. pushing back will only make things harder.

    my eight year old son latches on to things, too. and i think that things will never ever pass. but they do. sometimes it’s months or a year and i think i’m going to go insane if i have to talk about them one more time. but eventually, they pass. and i feel relief that it’s over, and better for having let him work through whatever it was.

  8. i agree with the part about supporting her passions. i am sure feeling listened to, supported, and having her interestes valued can NEVER be a bad thing.

    Also, as an educator, i think a few specifically guided lessons are always good. Like another commenter said, “today we are going to talk about …..” and guiding her learning into other areas will keep those wheels of learning churning! ;)loves!!

  9. My little one is into bats and sting rays, try working those into lessons!

    Seriously, though, I get it, but here’s a thought:

    What if you ask her questions like, “If you were on your horse, and could go anywhere, where would you go? When your horse is all fed and cozied up in the barn for the night, what would you do?

    You know, acknowledge the passion, and maybe stretch past it a little too.

  10. My son was big into Star Wars for about a year. Then, one day he declared that he no longer liked Star Wars and he moved onto Power Rangers (or maybe it was the other way around…). In my case, I know when he becomes interested, it will be his interest 24/7 and he will be able to think of little else until that interest passes. Perhaps it will be the same with your daughter. As some of the other commenters suggested, embrace it; passion is a good thing, no matter how crazy it drives you, the parent! Good luck, I feel your pain.!

  11. I had a bit of a horse obsession when I was little (I was scared stiff of them in real life tho!!!). I had a gorgeous imaginary horse, called Merrylegs. She was amazing…..but I obviously outgrew her and now she is just a distant memory. Don’t worry too much, it could be worse – she could have a bug obsession and want to bring them into the house and have them sit at the table with her when she eats, or come in the bath with her when she bathes (see, I’m making you feel much better, aren’t I?!)

  12. Just got finished reading your post and all the input. What an amazing place to hear such wise advice from mom’s who’ve been there! Wish I had some wise advice of my own but my experience with a 22 month old hasn’t brought me to passions/obsessions…unless you can call Daddy an obsession. 🙂 I’ll be praying for you though! Can’t wait to see the notebook.

  13. You seem to always find a nice balance with your girls. I hear you about the latching on and how strong willed girls can be. I have to say though that horses sound pretty good to me as I have a boy in the house who will only talk about Pokemon.

  14. I remember having this early reader book when I was little entitled, “Sue Likes Blue”. EVERYTHING that Sue had was blue. She wanted blue food, blue toys, blue clothes…

    And then her mom made her start to wear other colors and eat other foods and play with other toys and she realized that she liked other things too.

    Maybe you can find that book and then adapt it to horses.

    She can still do SOME horse things, just not all horse things. Of course it is fantastic to incorporate a child’s love into what they are learning but tell her, the truth is, it’s HOME school, not HORSE school.

    har har.

  15. Thanks for posting this – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading about Emma and the horses and the comments are fascinating. I have no wisdom to add, being the mother of two butterflies who flit from one mini-obsession to another in the blink of an eye!

  16. well, if you aks me, and now that you told it, i actually can see a horse in it. it wouldn’t be my first choice, though.But then again I have a 5 yrs old girl myself. And guess what her obsession is about? right! Horses (and dogs and cats, too for that matter). But yeah. I’d let her obsession be, as long as it doesn’t involve lots of money (or an own horse or two?). isn’t it the same with us adults? we get obsessed about something. learn everything about it. and then, after a period of time, we move on to something else. take it easy 🙂

  17. I was just like Emma–I ate, slept, breathed horses for a couple of years.

    Then I wanted to be Nancy Drew. She’ll enjoy this and move on, don’t worry.

  18. They do have their obsessions don’t they? I second the passion part. My eldest hardly had any art to show for because he spent everyday, all day outside digging in the sand and building elaborate worlds.

  19. They do have their obsessions don’t they? I second the passion part. My eldest hardly had any art to show for because he spent everyday, all day outside digging in the sand and building elaborate worlds.

  20. My 4 year old had a horse obsession but it has been subject to ebbs and flows. I figure that I’d rather her have an obsession about something that isn’t commercialized and that she could learn a lot from… I’m not keen about her riding horses yet (altho she has been on one already with close supervision) but, if she wants lessons when older, I’ll do everything to get her lessons but I’m not keen about being a horse owner either (altho my husband is gung-ho!)…

  21. I thought about this post last night at my son’s baseball practice. Half the team (mostly 6 & 7’s) would rather be somewhere else doing what THEY want to do, not what their parents think they should be doing. I always think an open mind is the best one, but more often than not we need to listen to our hearts first and foremost. I am sure when she’s older your daughter will say that her Mom always encouraged her to follow her passions, whatever they were at the time. Doing that now will keep her close to you as she grows older, I’m sure.

  22. I think some kids just come out knowing what they like. My second son out of 4(now 11) was always obsessing about something. To begin with it was dinosaurs (age 1), then trains (age 2), then reptiles (age 3), then bugs (age 4), then birds (age 5) and now he’s still into birds (to the extent that he hasn’t eaten chicken since he was 5) and nature generally. He says he wants to become a conservationist and help save bird species. Apart from the little train aside, I feel like this is something he’s been working towards his whole life. I say, just go with the flow. She may grow out of it, she may just develop a real passion for something in life.

  23. Hey Molly,I have a horse lover too. A few years back it was dogs and for about 3 to 4 years, everything was dogs. Pillows, shirts, toys, plates, pictures she made, conversations, wants, you name it. Don’t worry, it will pass and she will be obsessed about something else. :)Use it to your advance in home schooling. Is there a topic she show not much interest in or struggles at. Throw a few horse into that subject.

  24. I’m a second generation horse-crazy female with two little cowgirls and a cowboy of my own (and also a Pokemon trainer). I encourage their passion for horses and other things as well (sometimes Carebears, sometimes Dora) because they are wholesome things to think on. My father even talked me out of marrying at 15 by giving me a horse; I’m so glad he did. I waited and found the perfect husband and he gets along great with my 25 year old horse 😉

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