“The New Beginnings of Homeschooling”
Part One of Two
“To hit any goal you must commit daily. Know that often it looks bleak as you go but it will happen if you stay the course.” – David Neagle
If you’ve already been homeschooling, there are many things to consider as you work to make your homeschool flow better and become more effective. As children get older questions come up through the different developmental stages, and as your life changes you must also adjust your homeschool. If you haven’t started you may have a lot of questions like “What are my legal requirements?” “What do I use for curriculum?” “How do I measure progress?” In the beginning there’s a real need to see how it’s done.
In the beginning it’s easy to dive into the deep end of homeschooling focusing all the subjects and doing masses of work, in essence bringing the “school” home. There’s a simpler way to achieve academic excellence. I discovered through much trial and error that academic excellence is achieved only when children are fully supported in an environment that is conducive to their learning. It’s the same thing for adults. We all have experienced working in a stressful environment versus a calm one. Imagination and productivity flows in a calm and supportive environment. When you’re honored as a whole person you’re able to align with your highest values and achieve better results. The same is true for children.
As I work with families new to homeschooling and those who have been at it a while, the first step we take is setting up a lifestyle of learning. As we progress through the series of building a new educator’s mind I will also address all the questions for the legalities and curricula. This is the absolute first thing to do. Overlook this crucial first step and all you’re doing is fighting an uphill battle.
If your children have been attending school, public or private, or if you are one of the many who have brought “school” home, it’s time to decompress and rediscover a love for learning. Summer is the most perfect time of year to implement these steps for those who are just starting. By fall it will be easy to get into more in-depth studies.
With An Inspired Education our mantra is Love More, Live More and Learn More. It all starts with loving more. You may be surprised that I didn’t start with the academics or piles of curriculum. Before you start the course of study loving more and living more will open the paths to learning more.
Here are the first four of my eight steps you can begin implementing immediately:
- Begin by concentrating on yourself first. Your children have a way of bringing up all those things that you still need to learn. It’s simply a new opportunity to learn. Bad habits, deficiencies — whether known or unknown — can be eradicated with persistence and a burning desire to improve.
- Turn off the television or remove it entirely. This will benefit you and your family in many ways. You’ll have many more hours of time returned to your day. Create a plan that works for the family. If removal of the television is met with objection, make compromises to only turn it on at certain times. Keep it off all week then watch programs as a family on the weekend when you’re free. Be disciplined yourself so your children can be disciplined as well.
- Read, everybody read! Take a trip to the local library as a family. Make it a requirement that everyone check out something, including mom and dad. Remember, children model what they see. When you’re seen reading avidly, it’s only a matter of time before it rubs off on the kids. When they see you working at improving yourself, they will follow your lead. Be sure to check out books that can be read aloud by the whole family. Don’t worry about the little ones. Let them sit alongside you as you read. Pick something fun and adventurous. Some of our favorite books to read aloud have been Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Red Sails to Capri and Where the Red Fern Grows.
- Explore your world together. Take trips to your local libraries or bookstores. Attend book signings and meet the authors in person. Discover what each of you uniquely has to offer and tailor your adventures accordingly. Go to museums or art galleries, especially when artists are there to meet and greet. Become inquisitive about everything and actively engage in conversations with artisans, authors, farmers, scientists, entrepreneurs or any other expert you encounter as they share stories about their life and what they do. You will be surprised how happy people are to talk about themselves and what they do, especially when it comes to encouraging the mind of an inquisitive child. For older children this can often lead to apprenticeships.
I’ve noticed, for myself as well as for my clients, that when a lifestyle of learning is established everything that once seemed impossible suddenly becomes possible and happens with ease. Everyone is fully supported. As you love more and live more you’re going to learn more!
Parents Inspired to Action:
Get started right away. Do not put off until tomorrow what can be done today. Our children are growing fast and these tips can be implemented one by one to simplify your every day. Look over the list above and choose one thing to get started on. Discuss with your family what you’re changing and why. Allow time and space for everyone to adjust as you implement. If the family isn’t as eager as you for change, look for ways to compromise and ease into it in a slower fashion. As you make changes in the most positive way everyone will soon see the results and want more. Patience is a virtue whenever change is involved.
Children Inspired to Action:
As you begin focusing on yourself and learning more share your excitement. It will be contagious and the children will want to join in. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see them immediately jumping on board. Remain committed to excellence in yourself and invite them periodically to hear about all the wonderful things you’re discovering. As they see you change, grow and have more fun they will follow. Be the example. Choose something fun to start with like going to the library. Gather everyone for a family meeting and create a calendar of events that is doable. What museums do you want to see locally? Is there a trip you can take for summer fun that includes learning and discovery? Remind the children you’re all doing this together rather than assigning tasks individually. These shared moments will really bring the family together to create more harmony and treasured memories.
“Live out your imaginations, not your history.” – Stephen Covey
You might be wondering what kind of systems you can incorporate to get the results you’re looking for in your own homeschool and life. What are the daily details to make it happen? Trial and error can take a lot of time. Successful people always incorporate the help of mentors and coaches so they don’t have to re-invent the wheel. If you would like a more systematic approach that includes the details to help you produce real change fast, I recommend joining the Mentor Mastery Inner Circle. It keeps you inspired and gives you the most important things for setting up simple, effective systems giving your children an education in excellence while creating family harmony. It’s easy. It’s affordable. Get started today at www.donnavailinternational.com/inner-circle.html.
Think peace, live love.