We homeschool. I am their teacher. I teach them history, language arts, math, science, geography, art, sewing, knitting, to name a few. We have lessons on a variety of subjects that intersect. Most times I simply introduce things and they run with it. In the beginning, I lead and by the end I just facilitate.
And sometimes we make up strange games because that’s what we need. More on that at the end of the post…
This method works for our family. I give them a taste to whet their curiosity, to whet their appetite for learning.
And frankly, the only thing that matters, as their parent and as their teacher, is not what I say. It’s what I do.
Let me say that again.
It’s what I do.
A lot of parents ask me how I do it, raise the five kids, maintain a creative life, and look happy doing it. If we choose a life path that fulfills us, my children are learning to do the same. They are always watching. And they often reflect back what they are absorbing around them.
When we practice a morning ritual, they are learning discipline and gratitude.
When we make a commitment to creativity, they are learning the importance of passion and thinking differently.
When we have outbursts of anger, impatience, and frustrations, they learn that we are not perfect and that’s ok.
When we apologize to them and in front of them, they learn how to make amends and ask forgiveness.
When we let go of the past, they learn how to forgive.
When we make mistakes and fail, they learn how to fall and rise with grace and that a second chance is always there.
When we choose to empathize, they learn compassion.
When we stop what we are doing to listen, they learn how important they are.
When we are honest about needing a break or time to exercise, they learn self-care.
When we ask for help, they learn humility and how to recognize their own limitations.
When my husband and I make the effort to spend time together, they learn how to care for a relationship.
When we inject my sense of humour into our day or to break the tension, they learn that life can be joyful and playful.
When we notice a sky’s colours or the shape of clouds, they learn wonder and awe.
When we greet our day or night by being outside or go for a walk, they learn to appreciate nature.
When we are conscious of how we feed our bodies, they learn to respect and revere their own bodies.
When we focus on how we feel and how strong and energetic we are, they learn beauty is in the function of their body and not the form.
When we give them time to follow an interest, they learn to love learning.
When I say maybe to their wildest imagination, they learn to dream big.
When we travel, they learn to broaden their horizon and to respect other ways of doing and seeing things.
When we slow down and make deliberate choices with what we do, they learn how to value their time.
When we are honest with our finances and we have to make choices as a family, they learn opportunity cost.
When we listen, they learn that they don’t have to shout.
When we are afraid to take a risk to follow our heart and leap anyway, they learn courage.
When we choose love, they learn that it’s a choice.
When we forget to do all these things but try again to do better tomorrow, they learn how to be human.
This would be the advice that I give to all new parents, parents who feel like they are flailing, parents who feel overwhelmed with all the decisions in front of them, parents who homeschool, parents who have their kids in school, parents who feel like they’ve lost their chance with their older children, parents who feel guilty that they didn’t give enough to their children, parents who work so hard in and out of the home.
It’s hard. I get tired. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I scream and yell and hurt. I choose anger and righteousness. But in each moment, I have a choice. There is always a small shift that can be made. It’s never too late. A family dinner at the dining table after a day of impatience and busy. A bedtime apology and a promise to them to try again tomorrow. (You have no idea how many times I have done that one.) Or a dance party where you are the bucking bronco dancing to music trying to shake the kids off of you. A new one I invented yesterday to show them I love them and sorry I may have been cranky and tired while dad is away…
100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now.
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