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Homeschooling Parents are INVOLVED Parents

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Homeschooling Parents are INVOLVED Parents

By Linda Dobson

homeschoolingWhoever first said, “Actions speak louder than words” was a very wise soul.

As a homeschooling parent, you can be a living model of the enjoyment of learning for your children, not simply its loudest cheerleader. “Kids are talked to death,” says Carol Narigon, a homeschooling mom for more than a decade. “They get a constant barrage of chatter from their teachers, television, radio, theirs friends, and us.”

Homeschooling Lets You Get Involved

Instead of talking and talking about fractions, get out the measuring cups. “If you play with water or rice or sand, it only takes a few minutes to learn 1/4 times 2 = 1/2,” Carol explains. “Worksheets take much longer and still don’t show a child why fractions are important. To cement the knowledge, bake some cookies and divide them equally between you.”

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There are other ways that homeschooling parents show instead of tell. “Don’t try to make your child learn things you wish you had learned,” Carol warns. “If you want him to play a musical instrument, learn to play one yourself, or get out your old violin. Take piano lessons together. Yes, he’ll probably learn it quicker than you; let him help you.” Carol continues: “Don’t be a stage mom. Take a theater class or audition for a play yourself. Join a softball team instead of insisting your child play T-ball. Don’t live through your child, but show him a well-rounded, fulfilled life through example.”

Homeschooling Lets You Become a Role Model

It’s also wise not to tell your homeschooling child to do things you don’t want to do. “Instead of asking why she doesn’t write a letter to grandma, write a letter to grandma yourself and ask if she’d like to include a note or a picture in the envelope,” says Carol. “Do it regularly. It will pay off later if she moves away from you.”

“The most important lesson of homeschooling is that parental involvement is essential to a child’s academic success,” former Secretary of Education William Bennett told Becky Mollenkamp for “Learning from Homeschooling Families,” her August 2002 Better Homes and Gradens article. “Homeschoolers are able to wear the education hat most of the day,” Bennett continues (yes, Mr. Bennett still have some learning to do about homeschooling). “But all parents can put that hat on for at least a few minutes a day.”

I think homeschooling parents would agree that there will be things you don’t know. But when you and your child proceed as learning partners who are constantly increasing your ability to find information, you will both discover the answers together. Instead of donning a “teacher” hat as Mr. Bennett suggests, you can choose the facilitator hat. Ah, yes. As a homeschooling parent, that’s the one that becomes you!

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