After reading much and meditating about it, I believe that in both aspects, vital and academic, children (and grown ups alike) should do things that we like a lot, that we do not dislike that much, and that we detest. I’m with the opinion that in the every day life children must do some chores, like it or not, it’s crucial to their growth and development. We can always make the task a bit nicer but ultimately it will be their decision, and even when they don’t want to they MUST, it’s part of living and learning at home.
In regards to academics, first we need to nurture that love and passion for learning, before we try to force anything, or we’ll run the risk of them hating learning or feeling a failure if we push too hard. But there is a discipline. The fact they like learning doesn’t translate in a rose garden, (or maybe yes, because roses have thorns). I mean that there will always be things we like more or we like less (for some it can be math, language, reading, writing, science, history). That is why plenty time outdoors, keeping lessons short (and not introducing them until six or seven), demanding full attention, picking the right readings and methods, employing games for math, and giving children time and space to explore and develop their interests will help us to reinforce and demand discipline in those not so pleasant tasks, and will not choke their natural love for knowledge without resorting to prizes, punishments and many artifices as the only resource to learn, but in a natural manner (if you take longer in this you’ll have less or no time for that which you like).
That is why I coincide with Charlotte Mason in habit formation, short lessons and alternating between something more bookish with something more physical, and in logical consequences and intrinsic recompense instead of punishments or arbitrary rewards.