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Parent or Teacher?

Parent or Teacher?

The Roles Of a Homeschool Parent

 

The Struggle

In Homeschooling there are a myriad of benefits. These benefits range from flexible scheduling, to creating family memories, to sleeping in! But in Homeschooling, like anything else, there are struggles and sometimes even pain. The struggle that we want to address today is the struggle parents face, specifically Mom’s, in being their child’s parent while also at the same time being their teacher.

There seem to be several clear differences between being a parent and being a teacher. For example doesn’t a teacher convey knowledge about the world around them? Doesn’t a teacher express facts, and evidence for how and why the world works the way it does? A parent on the other hand disciplines and corrects behavior. The teacher tests and evaluates progress. The Parent makes lunch and manages logistics. There is a difference between a classroom and a living room. A living room is where real life is happening, a classroom is where knowledge is being taught.

A False Conflict

This conflict though is really no conflict at all. This conflict of roles does have it’s own challenges but the two things do not need to be working against each other. Your role should start with being a parent and as a parent to come alongside your children in teaching, growing, maturing, and developing them.

Why is this a false conflict?

A parent’s goals should include, but are not limited to, character development, integrity, developing good habits, passing on values and acquiring life skills for the future. These are essential to good parenting. Along with these goals, attributes and goals is the knowledge that will help them succeed. All that you are doing as the parent is passing on knowledge! The content of parenting is essentially teaching. Parents teach there children in all arena’s of life. Parents have a profound impact on the development of their children because they are passing on to their children all kinds of knowledge. In mot traditional school settings it does not include nearly as much academic learning because they are receiving that from a school largely.

Therefore adding “education” as traditionally understood fits right into the life of the family. When you tell your child to look both ways before crossing the street, you are teaching your child to be safe, wise, prudent. The same is happening when you are teaching them about science, or nature, or history. You are teaching them knowledge that will allow them to succeed in life, well maybe science doesn’t count then! 😉 (just kidding parents!)

The best parents are teachers, and the best teachers are parents.

Cultivating a Life of Learning

How do we then move forward knowing that we are the best teachers for our kids? How do we create a vision and plan for the education of our children?

This is a big question and the answer is far outside the bounds of this post, but we can give you broad directions one where to start and goals you can seek to achieve.

1) Learning isn’t a scheduled time, learning is an attitude.

Children are always learning. Children are learning when you are busy preparing a meal, or rushing out the door for work, or handling a grocery shopping trip. Children are learning through watching, listening, interacting, observing, exploring, discovering, and even getting in trouble. Learning is all the time.

Instead of living in the mindset that learning is primarily taking place during your “Homeschooling Day”, be in the mindset that life is full of opportunities to learn. So when you are having to discipline your child, they are learning. Discipline and life management are just as much teaching as going through your history lesson. If you cultivate an attitude and family culture of learning you will see that you aren’t switching roles all the time, you are staying in one role, the role as parent. The content changes and the manner in which you teach it changes but your role stays the same.

2) Parenting with an attitude of mentorship.

At the core of this conflict between being a parent or being a teachers is the question of how to handle a child that isn’t succeeding in the classroom and knowing how that effects other parts of their life. If a child is lazy in school work should this impact your handling of them with your chores? Does that seem fair?

Establishing a relationship of mentorship with  your children is vitally important to their growth and development. A relationship of mentorship provides several benefits. Your child will be given ‘space’ to grow and even fail because they know that you want them to succeed. It develops a relationship of communication between you and your child. It allows for you as the parent to explain why your child is being disciplined and that it is for their sake that you discipline them. Along with those benefits the one that is relevant to our discussion is that whatever the context, you are seeking to grow and develop their character. Every situation, task, or goal is a context for your child’s character to reveal itself and with those context their is always an opportunity to develop your child’s character.

Mentorship provides the healthy communication and goal-setting that every child needs.

Your Opportunity

As a Homeschooling family you should not see yourself as playing two roles. You are their parent and that includes the responsibilities of being their teacher. But this is not a conflict in roles. If you become a mentor to your children you will realize that every situation is an opportunity to grow and develop their character. Meaning whether they are doing their school work or playing a family game you can grow and mentor them.

As a Homeschool parent you have the unique opportunity to not only mentor them while they are doing family activities and living normal life but to mentor and grow their minds. What a joy we have as parents to come alongside our children in all areas of life.

The parent and teacher roles for you are one role and that is being their parent. Loving, growing, maturing, teaching, disciplining, mentoring your children to be people of integrity and to share your values while wrestling with life’s challenges. This is your opportunity and although it can be difficult, it is also full of joy and the rewards are worth the challenges that come your way.

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Marriage Before Mission

Marriage Before Mission

by Michael Brooks

Why Are We Talking About Marriage?

In the last WinterPromise Blogging Series we talked about the central goals of a Homeschool family. You can find that post here. In that post the goals were listed in the following categories: 1) Rich Education 2) Growth & Development in Character Traits, Habits and Skills 3) Family Experiences 4) A Joy & Love For Learning.

These are wonderful goals and they can be achieved as a homeschooling family. But Homeschooling is not something that is easy. You know that! These goals will not be accomplished without the foundation of a healthy and thriving marriage. Homeschooling begins with our marriages.

Cultivating Our Marriages 

When you proposed to your spouse you did not propose to anyone else. Not your crazy son that is now eight years old and creating chaos. Yes, we love our children more than life itself but when you committed to live life with your spouse you committed in a unique way to them and not to anyone or anything else. Creating a healthy family culture begins with cultivating and growing your marriages. We want your marriages to be ones that are full of life, vibrancy and unconditional love. This takes a lot of work! This is not easy, but nothing worth having is easy.

Marriage is full of rough spots and mistakes. You and your spouse have both made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes. It is through those mistakes that you learn how to forgive, love and grow with your spouse in the most amazing ways. But how does all this impact Homeschooling?

 A healthy home is the foundation for accomplishing the goals we have laid out for you and your family. A healthy home starts with a healthy marriage. Your children will thrive most when they see their Mom and Dad in love and committed to one another. They will know what marriage and what family is intended to look like. This is the environment that all children were designed to grow up in. A healthy, loving, committed family and marriage. This is why it is so important.

3 Aspects Of a Healthy Marriage

#1 Love

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This may seem obvious. This is why you got married in the first place! You fell in love! The world is telling you that all you need to have is the “just like the movies!” love. Those feelings and experiences do happen and are wonderful but as we all know life moves forward, the new becomes normal, and the connection you have now is a deep intimate connection and not a connection of new romance. This deep connection is for the better! Romance only gets better when you are invested and deeply connected!

Your love should be romantic, but your love must also be selfless and unconditional. Why do we say this? The love you have for your spouse can not be based on how they treat you. Both you and your spouse have said things and done things that have hurt the other one. But those times of hurt don’t need to be situations where you grow apart from your spouse. If you forgive them and work through those problems your love will grow deeper. The sexy love in today’s culture is the one in the movies, but the most powerful love is the one that says “I’m not going anywhere.” When you show that “I’m not going anywhere” love toward your spouse your love and romance will become even more wonderful. This is also a great example for your children!

Love unconditionally and love selflessly. 

#2 Partner and Supporter For Life!

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Everyone has friends that are a huge support for them. Friends can be a great asset, but friends are not your spouse. You and your spouse have decided to go through life taking on every challenge that comes your way.

Challenges take many forms. In the morning when Dad is running late for work, the kids are in chaos over breakfast, and Mom is trying to find the keys that Dad misplaced, that is a challenge. When you have to move because of work, that is a challenge you need the support of your spouse. If the car breaks down and your budget can’t afford it you need your spouse. There are many challenges that you need to overcome and the person you have decided to team up with to take them on is your spouse. You and your spouse are a team. A team that cannot be broken up. When one of you is struggling, the other can lift you up. When one needs strength, the other is there to provide it.

Your spouse is the friend and teammate you have for life.

#3 Communication

The issue of communication is central to the success of your marriage. To accomplish anything you must communicate. To work through a fight (which probably started at least partly because of bad communication) you must communicate. To face a challenge as partners in life you must communicate. To help each other become better Fathers, Husbands, Mothers and Wives you must communicate.  Communication is vital to the health of your marriage.

Communication starts with communicating in the first place. Men have the stereotype of sitting on the couch, watching TV and ignoring their wife and family. Although there are lots of men that are responsible and engaged in their families that don’t do this, the reason men tend to have this stereotype is because often men don’t value simple, reliable communication and conversation. Husbands and Wives both need to communicate.

Now that you do communicate you need to learn healthy communication. This can look different for so many couples but here are a few questions you should ask yourselves as a couple.

– Does the way I say something hurt or disconnect with my spouse?

– Are there topics that my spouse needs me to talk about that I would not normally think about?

– After a fight do you establish where you both were wrong, apologize, and then problem solve where you can better communicate in the future?

– Do you enjoy talking and laughing with your spouse? 

– Do you communicate your love and commitment in a way that encourages and connects with your spouse? 

This is not a comprehensive list. This is not a complete study on communication. There are great places to find that information: your church, another healthy couple, great books and blogs. But hopefully this list has gotten you started thinking about how you can better communicate with your spouse!

A marriage thrives on healthy, gracious, and committed communication.

Summary: Healthy Marriages Encourage Healthy Families

So why are we talking about marriage? We hope that this has made it clear how much we value marriage! A healthy marriage is the foundation needed for a successful family. Whether you Homeschool or not you need a healthy marriage to raise your kids in.

Your kids will move out and move on in their lives. You will always be their parents but those relationships will change and your responsibilities will take different shapes. At the end of the day when the kids are gone it will be you and your spouse. All this started with your marriage and when things change your marriage will still be there.

You don’t want your marriage to be built on raising your kids, you want the raising of your kids to be built on your healthy, thriving marriage. 

Helpful Resources

Here are some helpful Blogs about Marriage!

Dave Willis’ Blog – They have great lists, articles, and tips to a joyful marriage!

Fierce Marriage – You could spend a whole day reading and exploring this great website and just scratch the surface!

Michael Brooks

WinterPromise Publishing

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Mission Defined

Mission Defined

by Autumn Scott

Defining the Objectives for Homeschooling

Why do we homeschool? . . .  What do we hope to accomplish?

As families that homeschool, what we hope to accomplish isn’t always clear.  There are so many things we can do that defining what is the most important goal for our homeschooling is difficult.  You may even feel overwhelmed by it.

Here are some goals that all homeschooling families wish to accomplish:

  • Rich Education
  • Growth & Development in Character Qualities, Habits and Skills
  • Family Experiences
  • A Joy & Love for Learning

 

Let’s look at these four goals in-depth.

Rich Education

Many choose to homeschool for the wealth of opportunities of learning and freedom to move at the pace of their child.  As we all know children do not develop at the same rate.  Some kids are eager to learn at an early age and absorb everything in sight!  Other children take more time as they are more interested in being outside and being active — these are your active learners.

Active learners may surprise you and though are a little slower to begin as a younger student may end up being your most curious child later on.  These learners require more time and shouldn’t be pushed into learning if not ready — never fear they are learning a lot!  Active learners will quickly catch-up.  Giving them more freedom to learn at their pace will make them more excited to discover learning!

Now we mentioned freedom when talking about active learners, this is the best part of homeschooling!  You can often choose what to study based on the interests of your children.  A more interested student will remember more about what they learned and be excited to tell others what they’ve learned.  What a rich opportunity for your child!

You as a parent also have the ability to have your student progress faster through topics they understand.  If they are struggling with a topic then you can spend more time on it.

This flexibility makes for every moment your student is learning more rich and rewarding for them and for you!  They will remember more of what they’ve been taught and know how to use what they’ve learned practically.  It will also nurture a spirit to learn new things and grow as a person.

This makes for an easy transition to our next goal for homeschooling but before we do I want to briefly touch on the subject of the parent — you!  As the main parent for homeschooling you may feel ill-equipped to teach.  You may feel that since you don’t have a teaching degree nor have you ever taught before that you won’t be able to homeschool.  You probably know that certain subjects are not your strong-suit.

So what do you do?  You mustn’t feel that you need to know all the subjects and understand them completely to teach your children.  Part of homeschooling is discovering together!  If you kids see you learning along with them that will inspire them to learn more as well.  Beside you will have more joy in learning yourself when you’re learning and discovering just like your child.

Growth & Development in Character Qualities, Habits and Skills

 Now we’ve talked about the rich opportunity in education, but there is so much more!  As homeschooling parents we think about all the other things our child could learn.  They could learn to garden, spend the afternoon learning to cook with grandma, going hunting or fishing with dad, learn about car maintenance, or play their instrument at church or for a event.

Homeschooling also makes possible character growth.  You know your child’s weaknesses but what about the things they could grow in — like patience, leadership, sharing, and helpfulness.  Or if they struggle with lying or laziness.  These are just some of the parts of you child’s character that you can talk about and help them grow in.  You can also tailor your learning to help and challenge them to grow in these areas.

You also talk about good habits — oftentimes good habits are learned along the way as you homeschool.  Students learn disciple to get their work done and done well.  You can also help them to learn to ask questions and communicate when they’re confused or frustrated when they are not understanding a task.  Another good habit to have them learn is helping to complete chores around the home.  This is a great help to you and it will make their free-time all the more valuable to them once they’ve completed their work.

Family Experiences

More time together as a family has many benefits.  Your kids will learn more ways to get along with each other and share.  Your children will learn to help each other without being told — they’ll help on their own.  They will play together more and take their learning to their play.  They may build a western fort in the backyard after learning about the American West!

Memories

Yes they’ll create these too — and with you!  You will have experiences and moments you’ll never forget and neither will your children.  Take them on a nature walk and bring some fun snacks.  Visit the beach before the school year and get the kids excited for next year’s school with some nature observing.  These memories and fun family experiences will inspire kids to discover!

As your children get older this desire to learn will only increase and they will soon be doing it all on their own!  It is a must to encourage!

A Joy & Love for Learning

We’ve touched on a couple times how homeschooling develops a joy and love for learning.  This is essential to homeschooling.  So many kids just try to hurry through learning and hate it; there is no joy!  This is one of the saddest things to witness in a child.  There is some much to discover and explore about our world and our history.  We can learn much from our past and grow to appreciate all the Lord has created in looking at his creation.

Nothing should hinder or stop the student from developing a love for learning.  If this requires going slower or going faster or skipping something altogether(and covering later) then do it!  Your child will grow to appreciate the things they don’t like as much through their love and interest in other subjects.

Every day focus on inspiring your children to learn and discover.  Help them to learn also how to do it on their own.  This is an essential tool that they will use all the time when they are older.  When they are young participate with them in this discovery as they grow they will become more and more independent in their learning.  This is a priceless gift to the child and yourself for what is more rewarding to see than your kids’ excitement when they learn something on their own!

Our Mission Defined
Now we know what our mission is to give our children a rich education, inspire them to learn, make family memories, create educating experiences, growing and maturing in their character, working on weaknesses, and nurturing curiosity.Now go!In our following blogs we will go into detail about how to do this and how we can help!  Check us out next Friday!

Autumn Scott

WinterPromise