Friday, December 19, 2008

Homeschooling Dilemmas #1--Catered-To Kids

Most of you already know that we plan to homeschool our kids and there have been some heated debates on this blog in the past over this issue.

Recently I've been pondering some things regarding homeschooling based on some observations. I know it's a busy time of year and you are all busy getting ready for the celebrations but my mind just doesn't quit and I wanted to share some of my thoughts on this issue.

I'll start by explaining that I heard this story recently but can't remember where I heard it. A grown homeschooler, beginning her first real job, had trouble adjusting and knowing where to fit in because everything had been so "tailor-made" for her needs by a very dedicated and thorough homeschooling mother that she was used to everything being exciting and fun. Buckling down to work for a boss who gave orders, instead of fun assignments, was very difficult for her.

This is probably a very rare problem with most homeschoolers due to the fact that many homeschooling families incorporate lots of work, household chores, and strict disciplined schedules into their daily routines. Indeed, all of the homeschoolers I know are being taught to work hard and serve others. Many employers/colleges specifically target homeschoolers because of their solid work ethic in a world where many young people have no concept of how to work.

I raise the issue simply to remind myself, and other women planning to homeschool, that it's something to watch out for. In trying to be good mothers, and good teachers, we do have a tendency to build on our children's gifts, interests, and delights. I think we should encourage them in these areas but also seek to impart to our children the importance of shouldering the load when we really don't want to and working on something even if it's unpleasant. This applies to all parents in the aspect of discipline, and yet it's especially important for those of us who will be in charge of our child's education. We should seek to help our children build the character qualities of discipline, perseverance, diligence, serving, humility, being teachable and working hard.

How do I plan to guard against "Catered-To Kids?"

*Routine household chores
*Teaching all of the subjects necesary for their grade level, even if they don't particularly enjoy them
*Biblical discipline and instruction (I'm listening to a series done by the author of "Shepherding a Child's Heart" right now at Teaching my children to submit properly to authority is the first step in helping them understand that the world doesn't cater to their needs and desires
*Training in life skills beyond the basic cleaning chores (caring for small kids/babies, changing oil on the car, raking leaves, gardening, budgeting, menu-planning, bargain-shopping, sewing, wood-work, care for pets, etc.)
*A balance between fun learning and "not-so-fun" studying
*Giving them a well-rounded background (music lessons, Phys. Ed activities, art classes, skill tutoring (example: Grandpa teaching them to make something out of wood), even if they aren't particularly interested in each thing)
*Teaching and exhorting them to love and follow Jesus. Jesus made Himself nothing and came in human likeness. He poured Himself out for us. If our kids love and follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit will help them to be humble, teachable, servant-hearted, and diligent.

If you are a homeschooling mom or were homeschooled growing up, I'd love to hear some of your own ideas on combatting the Catered-To Syndrome.


Beach said...

I am a home schooling mom of a 15 yr old and we do a lot of the very things on your list. We live in Texas and there are only a hand full of subject requirements here. However; we have added Geography, Bible, and Spanish to our curriculum. We have daily/weekly chores, helping with younger siblings, she is also learning to cook and bake, and we stay on top of good socialization as well.
Good luck on your journey with home schooling, we absolutely love it!!!!
:) Heather

jesse said...

i think this dilemma is for all kids in our day and age. In an age of specialization and two full-time working parents, kids often only do the things they want to clear through college. I love your thoughts on how to combat it, and think challenging your kid to try new things and even things they aren't interested in is very important. Also, setting discipline parameters and sticking to them, even when it's not fun is important.

Anonymous said...

One suggestion is to set time limits on assignments and to have them get things done within certain time parameters instead of just open-ended assignments.
It's important to learn to meet deadlines.

Phoebe said...

I homeschool as well and think your list is awesome. I might even print it out, if that's okay! My girls are still young (7, 5, 3 and 1) but like you, I'm constantly reading up on and thinking about things - homeschooling included!! It's good to be aware of things and to have a plan!

I've read your blog for a while but I don't think I've commented before. You are such a wise, mature and Godly woman with a BEAUTIFUL family!! Thanks for all you share!

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