Are your children learning or simply busy fulfilling obligations? In our homeschool, the academics are only a portion of our work together. If your children attended public school prior to homeschooling, keep in mind that you brought them home to a natural environment where their learning is no longer confined to classes that end when the bell rings. In contrast the entire world becomes their school.
Real success in any area, whether it’s knowledge, character, physical, financial, relational or spiritual; comes only when the whole person of an individual is considered. These areas are greatly influenced by the immediate environment as well as the circles of people that come into one’s experience, such as family and friends to name a few. Homeschooling is limited to the children, it must include the whole family.
As parents it’s easy to feel stress, from peer pressure, self-defeating thoughts such as fear and doubt, “Can I really do this?” or struggling with the need to be the “perfect parent with perfect kids.” Stress can be infectious, so it is critical to be mindful of how you react in your daily routine when stressful thoughts appear as it’s easily conveyed to everyone in your environment, including your children often producing negative results.
If you’re frantically striving to get it all done or pressing through “mandatory” or “general education, you can forget achieving excellence. The only reward to stressful approach is checking items off your to-do list, but at what price? Rather than self-educated, self-reliant kids you end up with the need for praise, approval or reward and a perpetual struggle with the student to get it all done.
To inspire the academic and whole life success you desire for your children they will need your unconditional love, openness and transparency, partnership of walking beside them and mentoring them to express their unique greatness. This will all support them to thrive in the new global economy they face because as their partner you’re nurturing creativity, adaptability, critical thinking, communication and collaborative skills.
Let’s look at the five steps you can take to inspire academic and whole life success in your homeschool.
- Let go of the need to control. Take the position of partner, walking beside your children rather than dominating them. If necessary, acquire more knowledge and training in this area getting the support you need to transition. It’s more important to take one step at a time.
- Determine what success means to your family. Take time to consider each family members highest values and personality identification. Begin with what daily success looks like when you consider those things and create a plan together as a family. Remember, this is a partnership so no handing out rules.
- Avoid over scheduling and provide plenty of time and space for playing, thinking, exploring, recharging and family time. Share meals, time playing together and bonding.
- Align academics with highest values. In AIE we focus on the core then bring in practices and explorations according to the child’s highest values and personality identification. There’s no need to pile on subject after subject. That’s the old way of schooling which is quickly falling to the side as life learners emerge with the skills necessary in this global economy.
- Provide, guide and step aside. Provide your children with the tools, resources and opportunities they need. Then guide them as a mentor and partner. Step aside allowing them to take on the work. It’s okay if they make mistakes or “mess up” because this is all a part of learning. Just step in again to guide, and then step aside again.
I’ve given you a lot of inspired action steps so you can inspire academic and whole life success in your homeschool. Take it one step at a time. Explain to your children as you are making changes. Make them your partners throughout the whole process. Rather than getting stressed or feeling like you have to do it all yourself, participate as partners, listening and honoring each other. Keep the focus on a loving experience rather than being emotional or reactive.
We’re in our 19th year of homeschooling our six children and honestly, it gets better year after year. What makes it great is the love and authenticity that each family member can shine in all they do. Not only are the children learning but we are all growing and learning in our own ways. Homeschooling is only limited to your imagination so stay inspired.
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” –Einstein