Posted tagged ‘parenting’

Looking Forward

May 2, 2015

I’ve known since I was in high school that I planned to homeschool my children someday.  I probably assumed it even earlier, but I think the decision was conscious and concrete in middle or high school.  My own experience of homeschooling was so wonderful that I had no intentions of letting my kids miss out on what I had.

That intention has never wavered.  It was an important question I asked Sir K before I got engaged, especially because he was not homeschooled.  He responded that I myself was a good argument for the lifestyle, and he has supported my desire from the start.  I’m very much looking forward to the day when I begin teaching my own children, while at the same time I am still a bit intimidated by the enormity of the task.

I probably have a head start of a lot of moms who weren’t homeschooled themselves, and quite a few of those who were.  That head start comes from being the daughter of a homeschool mentor.  My mom has helped numerous other moms get started, whether they were starting at the beginning or pulling kids out of school systems.  I also got to see a lot of the inner working of her eclectic system (although we incorporated from some of the more well known prepackaged curriculum, my mother did all her own planning).  As the eldest, I was trusted to check my younger siblings’ work when there was an answer key, and in high school she even let me check some of my own work.  Not like I was going to cheat by then, I really wanted to know the answers!

Mom also included me in the process of choosing curriculum for myself and my siblings.  Letting me help choose my own materials meant that when I had a strong negative reaction to one history textbook’s confusing page layout, she was able to look for other options before the school year began and not wait till the second week when I was suffering through my lessons.  Part of helping children learn is being able to choose curriculum that suits their individual learning styles, and I got exposure to that early on.

Even with all this background, however, I still sometimes think “how on earth am I going to get started!”  What I remember of homeschooling is mostly the last five or six years of it, not the first.  Teaching a child while also keeping track of smaller children sounds like fun of the exhausting kind.  On the other hand, I know from experience how wonderful homeschooling was, and I would never think of quitting, especially not before I’ve begun.  I know that when the time comes in a few years, I will rise to the occasion, just like I did when facing what seemed like tough problems or subjects in my schoolwork.  I’m not always going to swim well, but I know I have a support system that won’t let me sink.

Those few years are going to go by faster than I can keep track.  You see, I can already number them.  Five years from now, I will be making kindergarten plans.  Yes, Sir K and I are expecting our first this Fall.  While various members of both families are exhibiting characteristic excitement or enthusiasm, Sir K and I are already praying for parental wisdom, and I am thinking of the sweet days to come when I can gather my nestlings on the couch for reading time.  You see, as I’ve said many times and probably written at least once or twice, homeschooling is not an educational choice for me.  Homeschooling is a lifestyle, and it’s the best one I know.

Perceptions

July 17, 2012

“When I first met you guys, I thought you [my parents] must be strict because all your kids were standing so quietly.”  –approximate quote from a friend of my mother’s

Yep, we found out months later that a lady at church had at first thought my parents were strict. Just because all five of us were so well-behaved! So, quiet children equals strict parents?

I would have understood better if she had thought we were intimidating.  My family numbers seven, which can be intimidating all by itself, and then we are all tall – the twins are growing like weeds, but discounting them, five of us between 5’8″ and 6’2″ could appear intimidating to an outsider.

But strict?

We never had a list of rules in my house, and we didn’t have a chore schedule (although we all did help out with tasks like laundry and dishes), but what we did have was relationship and respect.  When Mom asked us to do something, we generally did it willingly because we wanted to help her.  When she told us not to do something, she usually explained why, and we followed her guidelines because we understood (to whatever extent we were then capable of) that she had our best interests in mind.  And no, we wouldn’t have used those words at the time!

One of the first things I remember about going to church as a young girl was being quiet.  While we weren’t told that children were to be seen and not heard, we did understand that when grown-ups were talking, we should be quiet.  For sermon time, Mom usually brought crayons or pencils and paper for us, and we busied ourselves quietly.

It helps that for the most part, all five of us got quiet genes from my engineer father.  We aren’t driven to make ourselves the center of attention, and we are perfectly comfortable with being quiet for minutes on end if necessary.  For some kids, this seems to be a harder concept, although a perfectly reasonable one to learn.

Why should quiet, respectful children (of any age) indicate to someone that the parents are strict?  I suppose this shouldn’t puzzle me, having observed other families, some of which have boisterous children and some of which do not.  The number of rules parents have and the way parents enforce them (or don’t) varies widely from family to family.  But it does make me wonder what other perceptions my family has raised in people’s minds, and whether we are living up to them or living them down!


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