Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Homeschooling and Relationships

Homeschooling and relationships for me seem so intimately related.

Over the course of our homeschooling journey I believe you cannot have a successful home school if you do not have a successful relationship with the child or children you are homeschooling.

So much of our day is spent in the company of child and parent and I think it matters not what type of curriculum choice you make, that ultimately it is the relationship factor that will prove the success or failure of this journey.

There are so many choices within the sphere of home schooling. There are so many opportunities to teach with different methods, all of them offering the 'best' way according to the curriculum or lifestyle of learning you choose.

I have seen and heard from other bloggers and in real life friends how some of these now grown homeshooled children respond to their own Home schooling adventure.

Sadly some of them are  bitter about the experience they have had and choose not to perpetuate in their own eyes the disadvantages of their own past.
However I see within my own circle of friends that it seems the children would like to continue on this journey with their own children in the future.

Some of you may know that at the start of our own Homeschool journey that it was NOT the curriculum or the academic success that drew us to this lifestyle choice BUT it was the closeness and the relationships I could see within both of the families I had been introduced to.

We came to know these families a little and the more I knew them the more I coveted the same for our family. The idea of being able to spend time with our children everyday, to not send them off during the 'best' parts of the day when they were bright and  happy and only being left with the 'left overs' at the end of the day was a huge bonus to us.

Never in all the days we have been homeschooling have I regretted this decision or wished we could have done it differently, NOT ONCE.

I look back however and see the changes we have  made in our Homeschooling choices though and I can see this as a positive thing. To remain completely the same but, with an ever increasing family with many and varied children and their personalities and complexities, seems to me to invite staleness and open the door to breakdowns in relationships.

For as I see how we do homeschool now as opposed to how we used to, I also see a greater and increased relationship with each child. As I contemplate this I see what a blessing we have in being open to the changes and adjustments of the changes we have made.

Now we may never cover EVERYTHING that a child needs to know, but seriously I don't believe a school environment does either. We do have  the opportunity to foster within our children a true desire to know and learn but never at the expensive of relationships.

For without the importance of  relationships; first with God and then within the family, that will then extend out within the community, and thus how the children relate in the world, I see that we will have failed in our homeschooling endeavors.

Because you can be the smartest person in the world, have an incredible IQ or academic achievement but without love and compassion and a desire for true service to others I believe I would have failed to give our children what they need to fulfill their life purpose.

We have grown as a family, our interests have expanded within this homeschool adventure. When we took our precious Kynan and Braedon from the Christian school they had attended for 3 years and 1 year respectively we continued to use the 'canned' curriculum they had used. However this was not my idea of home schooling, where the children spent loads of time in front of workbooks while I did other things non related to their lives, except to keep the marking up to date etc.

Over the years we have developed our own unique style based upon the styles of learning we have been exposed to, and which I believe God has shown us as they way forward for our family.
We moved to Charlotte Mason which really still is the backbone of our family culture we have been influenced by Montessori and the controversial (which I have a post half done on) Waldorf style of learning. Although I believe that Montessori and Waldorf are very similar in lots of ways.

Our lives and homeschooling, because our lifestyle is so interrelated to our educational methods and how we interact as a family, reflect this in the day to day interaction and interests we choose. Homeschooling is a lifestyle choice and we ALL learn each and everyday if we choose to.

Within the framework of each of the above educational styles I believe that relationship's are encouraged and enhanced  that benefit not only our children but us as adults as well....for we all have the capacity to continue to learn throughout our lives. I do see our learning to be more free flowing and sometimes I think unschooling as they children develop and expand their own personal interests.

How can we not encourage that creativity and quest for individual knowledge that is a reflection of the gifts and talents that God has endowed each of our children with.

So as I came to the end of my ramble I am once again so very, very grateful for the opportunity we have had to know each of our children better, to help them in the path of learning and to know that I have given all that I can to help them understand their role in life.

I am so thankful that I can count our children as some of the best and most cherished friends in my life ♥ because I know that as our adventure continues that relationships will be one of the most important educational goals for us to share with each precious blessing we have the privilege of  raising.

Blessings to you and your homes,


Marqueta (Mar-keet-a) said...

Dear Gae,

What a beautiful post; you said it so well. I agree that we'll never cover everything we wish we could, but the more important thing will be the bond that our children develop with us and with each other. That will be of eternal significance.



Emily Fay said...

We began our homeschooling adventure too because we wanted our children to be close - all of us to be close. It was the relationships of our family that came first in that decision! And what a joy it has been! It is truly a blessing! Thank you for your dear post dear friend!

ccc said...

I too am so pleased that my children stay home with me. I love home schooling them. They, too, love being home and many have already expressed that they too will home school any children that they have.
One of my daughters has a lofty goal of having fifteen children! She even has a list of baby names that she is going to pick from :)

Tiffany said...

Beautiful testimony of love! What an example this is for so many, Gae. I hope to do a "Share your Homeschooling Journey" linky some time this summer. I always love to read other people's stories. I think we can gain so much from sharing. God Bless you and all of your precious family relationships!

Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website said...

PLEASE "ramble" to your own heart's content, my friend, for it is WE who benefit and are blessed by the sharing of your thoughts! I am greatly interested in knowing more about Waldorf, so I hope that you will get to finish that post some day. I read something pertaining to "reading" and "Waldorf" that I really liked and am very curious to know about this methodology. I believe it was Charlotte M. who said that in the end, how much the child knows is not what matters most, but how much he cares! You have illustrated this so well by blogging about your beautiful family life. What you present is "real" with ups and downs and challenges and trials, right along with the blessings and joys and adventures. And, through it all, there is a "constant"...that being, the LOVE in your family.
Though I have only been blessed to know you through your writing, that LOVE is TANGIBLE and it uplifts and inspires me in my own daily family life journey. Thank you for reminding me that it is all about "relationships".


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