I would like to propose a question. With homeschooling being a lifestyle and not a matter of cutthroat school hours, what do you propose is the best homeschooling environment?
Any negative influence can affect a child’s ability to learn and love to learn. As a family we have chosen to focus upon the positive, uplifting, educational, and constructive versus anything negative or destructive. The areas that greatly influenced our home are the following:
TV, radio, movies, and Internet: Children are greatly influenced by what they see and hear. One of the greatest decisions we made was to turn the TV off. The other was to turn the radio off. Some of my fondest moments are when we are driving and discussing issues that are important to my child. Another great decision was to heavily monitor the Internet and set hours of use. And, lastly, we choose to not live by a double standard in our home. We would watch only those movies we felt comfortable with our children watching. The children’s minds were free of emotional baggage that allowed them to learn. And WOW to the conversations! Something quite different from our own childhoods.
I recently saw a quote:
The words you say can be forgiven but they are never forgotten.
These include the words we speak to others and the words we speak to our child. The way we talk about our children to others helps our child to develop their self-identity. What you say about them is what they perceive themselves to be. So speak about them in a way you want them to perceive themselves.
The way we talk to our spouse affects how our children talk to each other. If you are demeaning, unkind, or ungrateful, your children can be as well. If in a heated moment, we make the statement that one is “going to leave,” it affects the child’s sense of security.
Also the words we use in speaking and encouraging them affects future results. Using words that set up false or unrealistic expectations can be detrimental. We need to be specific in our praise and we should be able to talk about the consequences of good and bad of behaviors and actions. It is kinder for us as a parent to explain to a child, than to have the world do the teaching for you. They can be very mean about it. This is one of the reasons I like lists so much. By having these lists, we not only see what we want to work on but what we have accomplished thus far.
Some people learn best with background noise and other don’t. With my eldest I could go about getting household things done. She was very self focused and driven. My second child loved having me beside her and could not have any distractions before her. My son on the other hand needed music or noise in the background to help him focus. We found that Baroque music and earphone work wonders.
For some children it is best to be on the floor in PJs. For others it is more productive to have them dressed and sitting at the table. Autistic children often find that they focus better sitting on a large bouncy ball. In our house it all depended upon what was going on for the day and the distractions. What worked best for us was a morning routine with getting dressed, breakfast, chores, family devotional, and sitting at the table or by the fireplace. School at the skating rink did not work. (Aw, but you have to try it once!)
Our children not only need to see us being productive, honest in our dealings, and accomplishing what we said we do, but they also need to see us having fun, being grateful, and enjoying life. Some of my fondest memories are wrestling with my son, singing and dancing in the kitchen, taking walks in the rain, and building snowmen. Homeschooling is a big task. Simplify.
By removing things that are not needed, it allowed me to simplify and not feel constant self-inflicted guilt. There are all kinds of ways to clutter up your life. I distinctly remember the first time I cleaned out all the stuff I placed under the stairs. You know, out of sight out of mind. What an amazing sense of freedom to have that out of my life! That was just the beginning, thanks to Flylady.com. There is definite difference between disorder and disgusting.
These are some of my random thoughts. What things have you provided or changed in your homeschooling lifestyle that has brought positive results?