Homeschooling is more than “schooling.” If it were simply about academics, we could easily replicate what goes on the public or private schools. But for most of us, the reason we homeschool involves intangibles, conviction, philosophies that are hard to express, a want of “something better” than what is available elsewhere. Homeschooling is also about “home.” We are not simply teachers, although we are certainly mentors; we are also parents — parents with the responsibility to train our children. The training of our children, in all areas of life, revolves around our lifestyle.
Several veteran homeschoolers seemed to have arrived at the same conclusion at about the same time: This is about more than “school.” This is about life! Their families are different, their interests different, their bents different, their academic emphasis is different, their methods are different. One family has a more Charlotte Mason foundation; another classical. Several are big into unit studies; one has a Principle Approach background. All have made time and space to observe their children and help them follow their interests. All seem to have found themselves at a place where they can say: “Hey, this is what we do! It’s great fun! Our entire family is involved. The learning doesn’t end.” Learning has become their lifestyle!
Homeschooling is such an abundant opportunity! How blessed we are to be able to spend time with our children, to enjoy them, to learn about them and from them, and to encourage them in their life pursuits! We are blessed because we have an opportunity to provide a real education that fits each child versus a generic education that ends with a piece of paper that says “finished.”
We are blessed because we have an opportunity to train them in the way they should go, to help them find the particular work they have been created to do. We are blessed because we have an opportunity to teach them that learning never ends!
How can you foster a lifetime learning mentality? How can you provide your children the direction they need to find their niche?
- Trust! “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
- Teach your children “how” to learn so that they will be prepared for any path they choose.
- Let them pursue life with you. Let them follow Mom and Dad in your interests.
- Give them time to explore their interests. Some fascinations will come and go, but by the time they are ready to choose a direction, hopefully they will have some idea of the path they wish to take.
- Keep your eyes open! When you see your child expressing an interest in something, feed it!
- Don’t push it, of course, but provide books, kits and materials that will encourage your child. If the interest wanes, no problem. Another is sure to surface.
- Don’t fill up on scheduled activities (sports, music, 4-H and the like). While some of these activities have their place, unless it is your child’s current “passion,” give your children the freedom to find their own interests.
- For older students, just ask! They may surprise you with interests you didn’t know they had!
This is not another method with a detailed scope and sequence, a set of recommended curricula or a how-to manual.
From the FPEA Guide to Homeschooling in Florida. This article is adapted from a posting at homehearts.com/ teaching-toolbox/learning-lifestyle (accessed September 29, 2011).