Homeschool Tip #7 - RelaxHomeschool Tips
- Have a Schedule
- Push Reading First
- Schedule 1-on-1 Time
- Use Technology
- Embrace Educational Standards
- Teach Outside of School
My last piece of advice relates both to your children's experience with homeschooling and your own: relax. Education is a big component of homeschooling, but it is not the only component. Spending time with your kids, nurturing them, building a close relationship with them, giving them a sense of security, shaping their moral character - these are some of the wonderful opportunities that homeschooling affords. I can become so focused on marching my kids through the school day that, by the end, I feel more like a task-master than a father.
Yes, kids need firm direction, discipline, and guidance. But they also need to know that you love them, that you enjoy spending time with them, and that you are proud of them. If your desire to see them succeed academically, musically, or athletically is undermining your relationship to them as a mother or father, then pull back. Take a day off and go to a park. Have a picnic. Announce an unexpected trip to the museum or a movie night.
Most of all, don't constantly compare yourself to others. As a family of six, there will be opportunities that my kids will not have. Our children will not play two sports and three musical instruments. They will not take daily painting classes from a woman with a PhD in Renaissance Portraiture. The only languages they learn besides English will be C++ or Java. That's ok. Homeschooling involves tradeoffs because life involves tradeoffs.
While you shouldn't ignore any area of your child's education and should seek help if there are subjects you feel particularly unqualified to teach, your child does not need the best possible instruction on every possible subject. Whether you choose to homeschool or choose to send your child to the most expensive private school in the country, he will never be the best at everything. If you invest in five hours of private math tutoring each day, someone else will be investing in six. Focus on what matters most and give the non-essentials a seat at the kiddie table. For me, that means reminding myself daily that my primary goal as a father is not to create child prodigies but to raise children who love God and love other people.
If anyone reading this essay has questions about it or about Christianity in general, feel free to e-mail me at Neil -AT- Shenvi.org. I also highly recommend the book The Reason for God by Tim Keller. It is phenomenal. Free sermons treating many of the topics covered by this book can be found here.