Friday, 22 March 2013

Mother and teacher

I am probably the biggest advocate for homeschooling who is not actually homeschooling :)

I explored the idea with a lot of thought and prayer in recent years, and came to the conclusion that it wasn't in the plan for our family yet.  And so I bundled my children off to a fabulous French language school, with the main goal not really education, but learning a second language.

But I think I threw the baby out with the bathwater.  You see, one of the most fabulous parts of homeschooling is that you can include so many different things in the "curriculum."  Reading, writing, math and science for sure, but also music, art, dance and drama.  But even more important: spirituality (religion, scriptures), life skills, morals and character.  At public school, they barely get the second category of arts, and get almost nothing in that third, most important category.

I've always regarded it my job to educate my children in those areas, and I do work hard to help create an atmosphere that will teach, mostly by my example, the importance of values, morals, and character.  I try to have some sort of chores schedule set up to teach them life skills.  But I realized the other day that I can be doing so much more.

You see, my kids (and I) have come to regard any time spent at home as "free time."  In other words, being at home means playing whatever they want.  If I were to suggest sitting down and learning something specific, the griping and complaining I would get (and possibly outright refusals) would be epic.  But here's what I realized: this home is my dominion, and I take my job as mother very seriously. I do not let my kids eat junk food all day, because it is my responsibility to make sure their bodies are healthy.  Too often we place importance on the physical aspects of life because they actually are matters of physical life and death.  Too often we let the spiritual/moral aspects slide because they aren't matters of physical life and death.  But I am realizing they are indeed just as important, and I need to place more emphasis on them.

How will this play out in day to day life here?  I have no idea.  That's still forming in my mind.  I have had some ideas, like saying "now we are going to sit down together and learn some of the songs you're learning in Primary on Sundays."  Or "now we are going to sit down and read aloud together."  It may also include me sitting down and practicing my own music while they play, or calling everyone together for a service opportunity.  While playing Lego is certainly fun for them, and builds their brains, it is not the be all and end all, and I am not a mean mother if I "interrupt" their play time.

(I've got the vision, now I've just got to implement it!)

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