Monday, January 23, 2006
You're probably thinking of someone like this too, right? Someone that made you think, "Man, my son isn't reading as well as hers." or "My house isn't as clean as hers." Or a million other things.
And you probably discovered her when you were new to homeschooling. When you were
already feeling uncertain in your new endeavors. You were already putting high expectations on yourself. You were constantly analyzing to be sure you were doing everything right. And as a result, you tend to be a little over-sensitive about what other's are accomplishing around you without giving enough credit to yourself.
So, it's really important that you remember (as a new homeschooler or a seasoned one) these basic principles that we all so easily forget:
"The 4 Basic Principles That Conquer the 'Super-Moms' Syndrome"
Principle #1: We always see other's through glasses that make them larger than life. When I was a teenager, there was this lady in our church. Her hair and makeup was always perfect. She lived in a big, expensive home. She was very stylish and her kids were so cool. I always wanted to grow up and have that.
But I don't anymore.
I'd rather have my house that gets messy 5 minutes after it gets picked up, my hair that falls down into my eyes as I pick up my children, and my face that only gets makeup on Sunday. Why you may ask? Well, here's why. I'm happy. I love my family, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.
The lady I had idolized as a teen? She still has her perfect home and impeccable style. But, she has a marriage without love and children who are stuck up adults who ignore her totally.
I had seen her through glasses that made her larger than life. In the end, she's not any bigger or greater than me. In fact, she probably wishes that she had my life!
So, if you start to think about someone else who seems to have the life you want, STOP LOOKING! Instead, sit down and make a list of 100 good things in your life--from the air you breathe, to the heat in your home, to the kisses from your child. I guarantee that you'll feel better about yourself that you ever have before.
Principle #2: Everyone has their own unique gift. Everyone has their own unique ability and we tend to notice in other's the abilities that might be our "weak" ones.
For instance, if you think you're house is always messy, you'll seem to know all these people who have perfectly neat homes.
For an example from my life, I have a son who struggles with speech and it seems like every other parent within a 100 mile radius have children with perfect diction. But you know that's not the way it is. My son might not pronounce every phonic sound correctly--yet!--but he has so many other gifts that hardly make that one seem important.
For instance, no one notices his speech. They always comment, though, how loving he is. Just running up to people and giving them hugs. And he has fun no matter what he does. Can you believe one day I actually heard myself saying, "Ryan. Stop that. Not everything is supposed to be fun." I had to step back and slap myself. Then I said, "Never mind. Mommy was wrong. Have as much fun as you can." And I learned a lesson from that.
So, forget about what the homeschooled Jones' are doing. Discover your child's unique ability and relish in it and develop it and learn from it.
Right now, at the end of your list of 100 things that you're grateful for, list 10 wonderful qualities or abilities for yourself and each of your children. Work on acknowledging, praising, and being thankful for all of your gifts. And don't forget to thank God that you got the greatest kids ever born on this earth.
Principle #3: It doesn't matter what others think. I know, it seems easier said than done. But I guarantee that if you've actually taken the time to write down your list of 100 things that you're grateful for and 10 wonderful qualities of your child, that you won't care what other people think because you will know and appreciate what you have.
And, see, it really doesn't matter what other people think.
What matters is what's important to you. Your core values. Your beliefs. Your ethics. How do you want your children to be as adults? Hey, write it down right now. 5 things you want your child to be as an adult.
Okay, I'll do it right now too for Ryan who is 6 years old--but do yours before you read mine:
A loving husband and father
An honest, ethical entrepreneur
Faithful in service to God
Kind, thoughtful, and helpful to those less fortunate
Thankful and content for what he can do and what he has
Now, I'll bet that you had similar types of things. Not, "makes $1,000,000 by age 30" or "wins he Miss America contest".
Focus on developing and rearing your child to have those 5 qualities, and I'll guarantee that the fact that Mrs. Smith's daughter who is 2 years younger than yours is reading book three times as difficult. Geez, that's a real life skill. You see what I'm getting at?
Principle #4: When you say "yes" to one thing, you are always saying "no" to something else. Have you ever heard that before? I heard that from an owner of a successful multi-million dollar business. That was the simple rule that he used to prioritize his life. When he sat at his desk with phone messages to return, he would literally think, "If I say 'yes' to calling this person, what will I be saying 'no' to?" When someone would asked to do something, he was able to say "no", knowing that if he said "yes" to that project, that he would be saying "no" to extra time with his family.
This principle applies to everyone whether they are conscious of it or not.
Mrs. Smith who is working so hard to have her child advanced in reading is saying "no" to some other educational area. Or, Suzie Homeschool Super Mom up the street who has her immaculate home is saying "no" to time with her kids or family or something else.
The same applies to me. I've said "yes" to this homeschool site, so I've had to say "no" to things like having a perfectly neat house, laundry always done and put away, and a 5 course home-cooked meal on the table by 5:00 every night.
Only say "yes" to the things that are important to you.
(See, you don't know it, but I've been gone for 20 minutes. My daughter came downstairs crying, and I stopped to take care of her. And I've also acquired a set of ear muffs made from pipecleaners and pom-poms.)
So, as I was saying, say "yes" ONLY to the things that are most important to you. And know ahead of time what you'll be saying "no" to before you say "yes"!
Principle #5: Take advantage of every possible tool. That's right. I don't lift a finger (well, hardly a finger) to clean my home as I have cleaner's come twice a week to take care of that responsibility for me. And to solve my meal preparation dilemma? I purchase items that can be thrown in the oven and get side dishes that are quick and easy.
You can do similar things. I have a homeschooling friend who takes one day a month and cooks all day to makes meals for 30 days that she freezes and uses one at a time. And I thought she cooked from scratch every night!
Having difficulties organizing? Don't fight it. Buy something that organizes your stuff or forget it. It really isn't that important to waste time stressing over!
Use all the tools you can, and leave everything else to collect dust.
So whatever happened to that super mom?
Hopefully by now you've done the exercises or at least skimmed enough here and there to know that there is no super mom except the unrealistic giant you've created in your mind. Instead, you should have a full, realistic view of the gifts and treasures that you possess and a new appreciation for all you get done and how you can enjoy doing what you do a little more! If you've done that, than I wasn't wrong in saying "yes" to this project! Release your worries and enjoy life!
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A wise man once said, "We can teach our children to have courage, faith, and endurance and show them how to learn, and they can teach us to laugh, to sing, and to love." In other words, each family member has valuable lessons to teach the family.
When a family homeschools, this reciprocal relationship is magnified. Homeschooling participants are affected by more than just the person who sit at the homeschool table. All generations create and reinforce the bond between family members. Home schooling families spend their time laughing, learning, playing and living with each other 24/7.
You can choose the best curriculum to promote an intrinsic love of lifelong learning. The homeschool curriculum is flexible. The parameters are determined by the best teachers available, the parents, who know and love their children.
Learning never stops in the homeschool environment. The parents are not just lecturers or observers. They are active participants who expand, explain and encourage their children to be inquisitive and explore the specific areas that interest them without the constraints of arbitrary rules set up by an outside source.
Another benefit to homeschooling is that the parents model and reinforce valuable behavior and deemphasize undesirable behavior in a natural manner.
Historically several generations lived in the same home. Everyone benefited from this multi-generational living arrangement, coming away with valuable lessons that cannot be taught in a book. Plus most of the time there was the added advantage of the multi-grade/level schoolhouse for the formal education.
Presently we often put the older generation in nursing homes when they get too bothersome (only to visit them on holidays), and we settle for a failing public school system that has been tasked with being everything to everyone but alienates most participants.
Homeschooling is the best of both worlds. It's good for both the family and for your children's education.
The benefits of home schooling are limitless. As a parent who homeschooled three children, I feel that homeschooling is the greatest gift a parent can give their child. Try it. You�ll like it!CLICK HERE for Home Schooling
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For many people, homeschooling is either the best option or the only option for teaching their children. This is due to various factors: conditions of the school systems, temperaments of children, vast learning abilities or disabilities of children, and a wide spectrum of other factors such as school-family incompatibility, multiple intelligences in which certain children learn best under circumstances and environments that are not offered in either public or private schools, as well as religious convictions and beliefs that are not tolerated in the public school system (specifically, Christian beliefs such as creationism). These are all valid and unquestioningly solid reasons to homeschool your child. With the wide selection of homeschooling programs, curriculum, and both state-supported and/or Christian endorsed programs available, the opportunities are endless for a parent who wants to homeschool. The very best thing to do is to check out your resources with your local community in mind.
Homeschooling support groups should be available in your area. Do a search online or get a community events and organizations calendar from your local library. Ask neighbors and friends. Most of all, ask around to different churches. There are so many churches today that are offering a "covering" program in which homeschooling parents may fall underneath their program "umbrella". The church will help you with record-keeping such as test scores, your daily homeschooling journal, and vacinnation records for the state.
Secondly, discover what it is you want to accomplish through homeschooling. Does your child absolutely NEED to be homeschooled for specific reasons or is it a choice that you and your family feel strongly convicted of as a necessity for your child? Either way you look at it, you are justified in your choice. However, be sure that your child will BENEFIT from being schooled at home. As a homeschooling parent, you have now become teacher. Organization and discipline are important disciplines you will need in order to be a successful teacher and to have your child be a successful student. If you need additional help and need to hire a private tutor, for instance, never feel ashamed by any means. Doing what's best for your child is the only thing that matters.
A third factor to consider is the TYPE of curriculum you will want to use. What will be your teaching philosophy? There are a number of internet and print resources that can help you learn more about the different homeschooling pholosophies that exist, such as: Montessori method, Charlotte Mason method, Eclectic method, Classical Education method, Distance Learning, Waldorf Education method, and Unschooling. Do a search online and find out as much as possible about each method and perhaps find a fit that suits the needs of your family the best.
Overall, homeschooling is a wonderful way to teach our children in a culture that may not be as supportive with our children's education as we would like. Homeschooling is not for everyone, but by the same token, neither is public education. Doing what's best for our children and their start on a lifelong education is most important.
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