“The New Beginnings of Homeschooling”
“If you’re interested you do what’s convenient. If you’re committed, you do whatever it takes.” John Assaraf
We are continuing this week with the final four steps to creating a lifestyle of learning, a way of living an Inspired Education. 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 summer and 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 fighting an uphill battle.
If your children have been attending school, public or private, or if you’re one of the many who have brought “school” home, it’s time to decompress and rediscover a love for learning. The perfect time of year to implement these steps is for those who are just starting their summer. By fall it will be easy to get into more in-depth studies.
With An Inspired Education our mantra is to 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 mounds of curriculum. Before you start the course of study loving more and living more will open the paths to learning more.
Here are the final four of my eight steps you can begin implementing:
First four steps http://blog.donnavailinternational.com/2011/06/29/688/
5. Talk through life. Talk with your children, discuss and debate. This builds their ability, as well as yours, to think through things, gain mental acuity and have a broad range of knowledge. Encourage them to listen to debates as well as adult discussions (appropriate for their age of course). You don’t have to be formal about it; perhaps do it at dinner or right after dinner. The famous President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy prepared their children daily. They posted a topic on their bulletin board each day before dinner. Each child was expected to come to the table ready to discuss that topic. Everyone can have a turn and everyone can be open to hear everyone else with an open mind and unconditionally.
6. Stay home more often than not. Let go of the need to be involved in multiple outside activities. Re-evaluate what you’re currently enrolled in and decide if it truly fits with the lifestyle your family is creating. Less is more, especially with children. And if you need a season of staying home then give yourself permission. Staying home more doesn’t mean living under a rock. Opportunities to meet up with friends abound. You will still need to run errands like shopping or going to the bank, and for those of you who attend, church is another place to encounter people you know. Don’t forget the explorations you will be doing as a family that I have written about in previous articles. Trust me, you will not be isolated because you elect to stay home. If homeschoolers took advantage of every opportunity and every activity that came along we would never be home for our academics and would probably suffer from being over-socialized.
7. Share a hobby. Is there something you do or are interested in that you have in common with your children, something you both enjoy doing together? I love to cook and bake and so do my children. From early on I have them helping me in the kitchen, so as they’ve grown older they have enjoyed cooking on their own. In fact, I received a cookbook of decadent desserts written by a master chef, and my children pounced on it baking up a storm. I have enjoyed several desserts from that cookbook and my kids have prepared them all. It’s fun, exciting and very rewarding to do things with the children. We’ve also enjoyed painting together, drawing, weaving and even cross stitching. As they grow they are enabled to explore and engage in any pursuit they undertake with success.
8. Relationships are what matters most. Make the relationship most important above all, including academics. Remember the person is more important than the thing. Sometimes when first getting going, and often throughout the homeschool year, character issues arise. That’s when you close the books for discussions, support and time to think and contemplate. Don’t stress out as parents feeling like you have to “make” them do their work. The more you flow with it and allow the child the space they need, the more you enable them to take responsibility for themselves. These lessons will spill over into family issues, health matters or emergencies. At all times the children are learning, even when the school books are closed. Whether it’s for one hour, one day, a full week or an entire month, the children will still thrive and can continually excel. This is all about living a balanced life and always returning to a supportive environment conducive to learning and thriving. Walk beside, guide, provide, then step aside.
Remember, your environment and habits will grow in supporting you and your family. As you take action and apply each of these steps you will see your homeschool transform from stress and deadlines to happiness and a real love for learning. This has been true for my family over the years, as well as the many other families I have helped to apply these steps. When everyone is fully supported you will love more and live more so you’re going to learn more!
Parents Inspired to Action:
Don’t let time slip away. Start applying these steps immediately. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying it all at once. Choose the two that resonate with you the most and begin. Master them and move to the next two. Work together as a family and allow for everyone to adjust to the new changes. Infinite patience brings immediate results.
Children Inspired to Action:
Be the example by modeling what you want to show up. Start with something fun and keep it interesting. Let the children give input and receive it unconditionally. As you’re committed, they too can remain committed. When necessary, gather the family over some fresh-baked cookies or brownies and regroup for more positive results. Keep up the great work as well as the encouragement.
“A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, Inspired by A.A. Milne
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 coaches you in 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.