Saturday, July 11, 2015

Educating Children

 I'll share with you what I like and have come to value in educating my kids and as you begin to learn at home with your kids you will find the path that’s right for your family.
   Start slow and steady, don't race or you get burned out  and stressed, I know. I’ve seen moms start homeschooling and want to do more faster and they test a lot and work all day and don’t play enough and  make it miserable for the kids. Then the kids balk at it and dig in their heels and the mom puts them back in school.
   We are never done learning and the journey is what we are concentrating on, not really the finish line. Progress isn't always seen right away, I’ve been doing this for 10 years and it has flown by and my kids like learning and reading and ask tons of questions and search out answers for themselves. They don't believe what they hear until getting second opinions from other sources when it comes to news and political views, so I think we are on the right track.
   Other times moms try too many ideas or too much in a day and they chop and hack away at a lot of things and don't finish any of  them. Too much going on makes the vision(your families goals) get blurry. It’s nice to take time to finish something and bask in the moment, rushing on stops things from sinking in. Like praying then jumping up and leaving before you listen to the answer. Let kids have time for projects or learning, and sit and discuss results or what went good or not good.
Another thing I realized recently trying to teach Aaron to read and Collin to write is that they did not want to try when they were worried about doing it wrong. Teach them that mistakes help us learn, if we are afraid to make a mistake we don't progress(a FHE lesson on repentance and how God made a way for us to get rid of spiritual mistakes is like learning and knowledge mistakes, they aren't permanent). The MTC teaches that people learning a language make 80,000 mistakes and they ask the missionaries a question, do you want to make them here and now or out in the field?
Our kids need to know that mistakes are part of life and to be learned from. You cant skip the learning process, and mistakes are capable of teaching just as fast as successes can. 
   Also remember that there will always be fine tuning and tweaking going on. I approach it with the attitude that I will always be home teaching and so I will fix and add as we go, I have seen moms start and they say to me , “I’m going to see how it goes, if it doesn't work I’ll put them back in school” and when it’s hard they quit and put kids back in school. My opinion is that they are not fixing their problems they are giving up, I think of it as a marriage, marriages have to be worked on and fixed with effort and trials and pain and joy. If we said, as the world likes to say, “ I’ll try being married and if its too hard we can get a divorce” no one would keep homeschooling. I think of home education this way, that I’m going to stay doing it and make it work.
   My first tip, because I have to tell myself it daily, is to realize time is limited and you will not get everything done everyday. So what I do is make a list and a schedule and if something gets left off the day before then today we do it first and rotate through so nothing gets missed too many times. Also, I used to put ‘unnecessaries’ last and we’d never do them, so since art is my kids’ favorite we put it first some days and give it as much clout in our schedule as math. Because to be frank, we are homeschooling so we have fun and like life. Once you find your top interest subjects even if its an unnecessary one, don't neglect it. The kids like to know that what they value is worth supporting them in. 
  Vision- or goals, or plan. Sit with both parents and decide or brain storm about your reasons for home schooling. Write the list down and list what steps to get working on to get the goal met. Keep it and refer to it, use it to keep you on track. There are a lot of good things to learn and like President Uchtdorf spoke about one conference you have to decide between good, better or best. When you  have an idea of the plan then have a family session and ask the kids their goals and plans, secular and religious. They will go hand in hand, one example I always give Aaron is that for him to be a great missionary he needs to learn how to read. And everything the kids learn will be taught to their kids and used to serve people around them. Decide how often to review progress, monthly or weekly as needed. Each child can meet with both parents and discuss and review their week. Ask the kids about difficult things and record them and discuss what is going well and record those things too. Keep a notebook of each persons goals and progress. Discuss year goals and 5 and 10 year goals, if you can.
   Being together as a family daily and learning with and from each other is so rewarding and worth every minute of labor and stress. There is nobody in the world better to teach kids than their parents. It requires love and diligence not a college education or math skills or patience. The saddest thing I ever hear, and I do hear it frequently from moms is the statement, " I like my kids at school, they drive me crazy during the summer. I wouldn't be able to stand having them all the time." Home educating is difficult and a lot of days I feel crazy and probably sound crazy but my kids always forgive me and tell me they love me. I don't have to be perfect to teach them, I just have to be willing to try.


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