Saturday, 20 March 2010

Home education

No, this isn't another post on homeschooling, although when you combine my enthusiasm for that subject, along with the research I've done on it, I'm surprised myself that I don't already homeschool!

This is a post on home education - teaching your kids what they need to know around the home. If you are a parent, then you've likely heard me RAVE about Merrilee Browne Boyack's book on parenting "The Parenting Breakthrough". For me, it's a brilliant manual that I read every year. I think what I like most about it is that it's starts with a parenting style that is similar to mine, but adds 20 years of experience that I don't have yet. Merrilee makes an excellent comment in the book that BEFORE you drown yourself in parenting books, examine yourself and figure out what kind of parent you are. If you try to completely change your parenting style, it won't work. You'll end up frustrated and going nowhere. But you can improve upon your own style. Well, Merrilee's style is along the same lines of my own style - and similar to that of my mother and my grandmother. I like the Dunkley style - it works for me and I've seen the success of it in my extended family also. Of course there are always adaptations for each person, but on the whole I like it. And so reading Merrilee's book is a good place for me to get new ideas and techniques that will gel really well with what I'm already doing.

Okay, that was a tangent if I ever went off on one. At any rate, one of my philosophies is that kids need to do family chores - chores that they complete not for money but simply because they are a part of our family and need to understand that we all pitch in to make the family and home work at peak efficiency. Learning these things also increases a child's independence. Merrliee agrees whole-heartedly, and provides an excellent list in her book about age-appropriate tasks. More often than not, we underestimate our kids' abilities. Can a 2 year old really have chores? Yup, they can.

Because I have all boys, and many of my friends also seem to be on the Y-chromosome band wagon, I thought I'd share a new website I stumbled upon. It's appropriately called "Homeschool your boys." But aside from formally educating your kids at home, there are lots of great tips about how boys learn, things to teach them at home, and a very comprehensive list of chore ideas starting at 9 months! Yes, that's right - 9 months! Of course every kid is different, but the younger you start, the more likely they are to realize that "chores" are a part of living, and not something you impose on them once their pre-school days are over.

Maybe some of the overwhelming nature of homeschooling for me is how much I need to teach my kids aside from formal education. But I'm hoping that if I start one thing at a time, I can get myself organized and get a system going that will work for us all.

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