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Homeschooling: You Know Your Kids…And Like Them!

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Homeschooling: You Know Your Kids…And Like Them!

By Linda Dobson

DadAndBoy educationAmazing things happen when you change the way education happens.

“Although  many of  first-grader  Betsy  [Goldman’s]  friends  think
learning  at  home  is  a  great  idea,  many  mothers  tell  Goldman,  ‘I  couldn’t
stand being with my kids all day.'”

This  same  sentiment  has  laced  many  a  conversation  I’ve  had  with
mothers  whose  reaction  to  my  declaration  that  I  enjoy  spending  so  much
time with my children is half amusement, half skepticism. How, I see them
wondering,  could  any  1990’s  mother  subject  herself  to  what,  in  their
perception,  is  a  life  filled  with  the  needs,  demands,  and  pettiness  of
youngsters,  void  of  the  rewards  (financial and  ego-stroking)  of  life  in  the
work force?

Might It Be the Education They’re Getting?

What  this  commonly  held  misperception  fails  to  take  into  account  is
that needful,  demanding, petty behavior patterns are  very  often created by
scientific  behavior  modification  training  used  by  the  public  education
institution. (Imagine Dr. Frankenstein’s monster here.) Parents, particularly
mothers,  who  voice  this  common  judgment, fail  to  see  that  children’s
irritating  behavior  is  a  consequence  of programming  designed,  not  for  the
benefit  of the  children,  but  for  the  convenience  of the  institution.  Internal
messages constantly whisper to your child, “Be yourself!”

External  messages  consistently  bellow,  “Conform!”  These  mixed
messages create confusion and, ultimately, conflict in children too young to
reason  or  to  defend  themselves.  Now  you’ve  got  behavior  parents  would
rather not witness, thank you very much.
Remove  your  child  from  daily  behavior  modification,  free  him  from
external  messages  that  contradict  and  drown  out  his  internal  voice  and,
eventually, behavior changes. Provide time, your own life, and the lives of
variously  aged  guides  and  friends  as  examples  and,  soon,  your  needy,
demanding,  petty  child  becomes  a  self-motivated,  self-responsible,  kinder
individual – the kind of person with whom anyone would like to spend time.
And that includes you!

Change the Education, Change the Child

If  something’s  “wrong”  with  our  children,  we  needn’t  look  far  beyond
their  immediate  environment  to  discover  the  source  of  many  of  the
problems.  In Whole  Child/Whole  Parent,  Polly  Berrien-Berends  reminds
parents that “[children’s] behavior is like a windsock indicating the direction
of  our  own  attention.”  This  is  so  hard  to  see  when  there  are  too  many
influences blowing that windsock in too many directions.
Family centered learners simply enjoy spending lots of time with their
children. No joke. The patience you think they possess is certainly a virtue,
but  it’s  a  practiced  one.  It’s  practiced  more  at  the  beginning of  the
homeschooling  journey,  I  think,  when  all  concerned  are  stumbling  over
uncharted  life  paths.  Then  a  strange  thing  happens:  Just  as  you  build
patience  to  a  peak  you  never  thought  you  were  capable  of  reaching,  you
don’t  need  it  anymore.  For  at  the  same  time,  you  become  aware  that  that
which already exists within your children is far richer, more beautiful, and
more important than anything you or the schools have been unsuccessfully
trying to create.

Family Centered Education Changes Things

As you settle into family centered education, you will not be spending
lots  of  time  with  kids  you  can’t  stand  being  around.  The  time  you  spend
together away from school’s behavior modification allows your kids to get
to know themselves as the real people they are, the “new” people you also
get to know. And respect. And trust. And like!
Our children are the  most constant source of  wonder, joy, and  love in
our lives today. Each step of their journey toward independence strengthens
our  mutual  trust,  increases  shared  respect,  and  daily  builds  new
understanding of what it means to cooperate, to support, to be a member of
the first and most important social building block – the family.

Adapted from The 15th Anniversary Edition of The Art of Education: Reclaiming Your Family, Community and Self by Linda Dobson
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Reader Feedback

4 Responses to “Homeschooling: You Know Your Kids…And Like Them!”

  1. kathy says:

    Wow I so needed to read this tonight. The past few weeks have been rough. I am going to be homeschooling my children this fall. I have always worked FT and now work PT until I quit my job next month. My kids have always been watched by my mom and last yr my daughter went to public pre-k. In the last year she has developed behavior problems and become excessively needy. I figure that we will sort of need mommy boot camp before we start full blown into homeschooling. Things like schedules, behavior issues, expectations are going to need to be discussed.

  2. grandma_linda says:

    Hi, Kathy, Thanks for being here, and thanks bunches for taking the time to write! Actually, given your circumstances, I think what you'll need more is a "decompression" time as opposed to boot camp. I checked out your blog (very nice) and see you've got 2 very young kids and you're starting early, which is great. Many have found that if you do your best not to separate learning and life, the happier all are. May I suggest that you consider purchasing *The Art of Education,* from which this post was adapted (it's only available as an e-book, here on the blog, so it's quite inexpensive. The other books I hope you'll try to find at a library or otherwise get your hands on are *HSing the Early Years* and *The First Year of HSing Your Child.* I really think they'll help a lot. Oh, and don't buy any more curriculum stuff, you have plenty, and it will just piss you off when it sits on the shelf, unused and you sell it at a yard sale for 25 cents. [g] All best to you and yours! Linda

  3. Angie says:

    This is beautifully stated, Linda!

    I watched an American Girl movie yesterday with my children, and I was shocked at how hands off Public School parents are, and how toxic that environment is for children. I spent the whole movie exclaiming, "where are the parents? How can they let their children go through this?"

    I have become acclimated to homeschooling. Amen.

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