Wednesday, May 19, 2010

DOs and DON'Ts for a successful homeschool experience #6

The following DOs and DON'Ts for a successful homeschool experience are being presented in a series to allow for digestion and discussion. After homeschooling/unschooling my own children for over 22 years I've discovered what worked and what didn't work for us was universal. Feel free to add your comments and concerns or ask questions.

#6 DO cut out distractions. A distraction can be anything from housework to obnoxious school officials and relatives. A distraction can also be anything that sucks the life out of you to the point where you have no time or energy left for your young children. Ever hear the expression: don't sweat the small stuff? You need to let it go and concentrate on what is important in your life. Prioritizing will help. If the opportunity for a field trip to your local art gallery arises what would you rather do? Take your homeschooler to see some paintings or do laundry? I guarantee you the laundry will still be there when you get home. Do you have someone in your circle who constantly berates your decision to homeschool and thinks your child won't develop the skills necessary to live a great life? Cut that person out of your life because chances are they are not going to be convinced otherwise and no amount of educating them will change their attitude. Going overboard on lessons, sports, field trips and participation in events can wear you, your family vehicle and your bank account down. Most children are happy with just a few outside interests. Many times in our homeschooling journey our children were quite content to stay home (where they had plenty to do) and enjoy their down time. When they were ready to hit the road for some excitement or a change of scenery we all enjoyed and appreciated it far more than had we filled each and every waking hour with busy work or distractions.

#6 DON'T homeschool the children of other people. Make those parents stand on their own two feet. Over the years I've had several parents ask if I would homeschool their children. This never made sense to me. Why have children if you don't intend to raise them? That includes educating them! Parents who homeschool their children will experience the most amazing journey of their life. Not only will their children learn in relative freedom away from a failed bureaucracy (public schooling) but parents will gain knowledge they never thought possible. Children have so much to teach us and their lessons in patience, bravery, love, creativity and fairness go far beyond what any instructor in a baron institution could possibly dole out. As a homeschooling parent you'll be less likely to miss those infinite moments of gained knowledge that only come with the closeness you'll share with your own child in a more natural, loving and normal environment at home. You may even finally learn the 3 R's that have eluded you these many years after your own public school experience.


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Jennifer said...

I agree, if a parent wants someone else to "homeschool" their child, what's the difference between that and public schooling? Perhaps they may want to consider private schools instead.

Cindy Wade said...

Good point Jennifer. I hadn't thought of it that way. You basically become a public school teacher when you teach the children of others. As parent you'd be giving up control of what and how material is being taught.

cara said...

I agree with your point on prioritizing. Laundry will always be there. It is also important to organize your home school supplies. When things are out of order, it is difficult to stay focused.