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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

great parenting advice…

Seen on Facebook today:


Brave Writer · 1,239 like this.

about an hour ago ·

  • A little parenting wisdom before I get out of the chair:
    It's not always apparent what your children need. Sometimes we open the door too wide and a child flounders, seeing a blank canvas, rather than an enticing opportunity.
    Sometimes we seal the window too tightly, pulling the curtains over the beginnings of a new vision or slowly emerging dream.
    It's difficult to know when to direct: "Sweetheart, you do need to spend one year studying grammar," and when to relax: "Honey, grammar isn't that important this year; we'll get to it later."
    Worse, you won't be able to evaluate when you pushed too hard or when you were too loosey-goosey until your children are grown and they tell you: "Mom, I needed you to provide me with structure. I wasn't mature enough to make myself learn math and I wanted someone to hold me accountable," or "Mom, I resented that you wanted to control what I read or listened to. I wished you had trusted me."
    But for each of these, you'll also have a child who comes back to say, "Thank you for not letting me quit saxophone. I was just bored at the time and you could see that eventually I'd love being in the marching band," or "I'm so glad you let me play so many online games because now I know I want to be a programmer and I would not have discovered that without hundreds of hours on the computer."
    You can't get it right. You can only do what you can with the light currently illuminated in front of you. You'll test philosophies, you'll zigzag from structure to freedom and back again. You'll have one child that thrives when you chuck the workbooks and another who will grieve and panic when you do the same for him.
    What you can do, what you need to do, is to step outside your own skin occasionally.
    Check in with yourself (not just your kids, not just your online homeschool friends). If you have a nagging sense that you are overlooking something important but are afraid to act on it (you are reading all the unschooling stuff, or you're in a group that is dedicated to child-led learning, or you hang with all classical, organized, detail oriented homeschoolers), don't let that feeling go.
    Don't hide from your nagging sense of "not right." Take a risk. Move toward that thing—identify it, talk about it, express it. Perhaps even **do it** for a little while and see what happens.
    If that means you enforce a quiet hour every day despite kids not wanting it, do it.
    If that means you oversee math pages despite the kids not loving the book, but it's all you can afford and you need them to learn math—stick with it.
    If it means you tackle grammar this year because you are afraid if you don't, you'll never do it—order the book.
    If one child wants a schedule even though you told yourself you were unschooling, provide it.
    If a child is breaking down every day over handwriting, and you want to stop teaching it for a year—be my guest.
    If you tried to follow the schedule, but found yourself hating your life and wish you could just paint and sculpt clay with your children—paint and pot!
    One of our Brave Writer moms shared with me her philosophy of education. I loved it:
    Your homeschool should be as distinct as your family is. You are entrusted to toggle between support with structure, and freedom to explore, risk, and follow rabbit trails of interest.
    Both And.
    Not either/or.
    Don't let the homeschool boards and groups get you down.
    Be good to you. And that will help you to be good to your kids.

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