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Friday, March 20, 2009

Who's in charge here anyway?!

I had the privilege to spend some time with a young homeschool mom not long ago. She has one school-age child (8) and two toddlers (2 and 4). As we discussed how her homeschooling was going, she shared what I've come to realize is a common frustration with many homeschoolers. In fact, it is an issue that sometimes keeps folks from homeschooling. It pretty much boils down to ... who's the parent/teacher/boss in your household?

I will be the first to admit that homeschooling is not for everyone. I would never presume to make that decision for another family. However, it distresses me greatly when young moms tell me they could never homeschool because Junior would never listen to me, or Junior would never accept me as his teacher, or My kids aren't disciplined enough to homeschool. May I respectfully submit that I don't believe homeschooling is really the issue here?

The mom I was talking to described how her child breaks into tears whenever asked to do something he/she prefers not to do (like math or spelling!). She also spoke of how much time was consumed each day in "convincing" this child to follow through on instructions given. It immediately brought back a vivid memory of when I first began homeschooling my oldest. My mom was visiting for the day, and witnessed a similar display from her granddaughter. At which point my mom looked at me and said "well that was quite the Academy Award winning performance!"

My point is this ... homeschooling already comes with its own set of challenges ... please don't add a lack of discipline to them! I'm not referring to your approach or method of discipline, but rather of the concept itself. The Latin root of this words means instruction ... with the idea of providing instruction to a disciple. I love this definition ... methods of modeling character and of teaching self-control and acceptable behavior. Whether we homeschool or not, we are called to "disciple" our children. I remember my mother telling me that her one over-riding goal in raising her children was not to set loose adults on society who had no self-control and were unable to have a positive impact on those around them.

So if you are considering homeschooling ... be sure that the issue of discipline in your household is regularly addressed (not conquered ... but addressed). And if you are currently homeschooling ... be sure that in your list of academic priorities, teaching self-control and acceptable behavior are at the top of the list!

Keep on keeping on ...
~Judy

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