School starts today. We at IndED will be taking the next few weeks in preparation for our year start on September 11. By now, most have decided whether or not they intend to homeschool for the 2018-2019 school year, and if you are staying with “conventional” schools, you probably still know that part of your job as a parent is to foster a culture of life-long learning and independence in your son or daughter.
So we’re going to offer three simple pieces of advice in approaching education so that you can get the most of your school year:
- Behavior is not the purpose of education. Reject the “whole child” paradox. First, a singular focus on behavior and emotional well-being is not anywhere near accommodating the “wholeness” of children; and secondly, if the behavioristic approach of modern school systems teaches students simply to do what they’re told as opposed to seeking truth and goodness, then the essential parts of their whole (moral imagination, character, intellectualism, communication skills) are being ignored.
- Discipline, on the other hand, is about working through challenges and mastery of important basic skills. If you’re like many of our families, then you find that in a conventional 8-3 school setting, there are alternating bouts of being behind or being bored, maybe depending on the subject. Make sure that through it all, your son or daughter is learning self-discipline. The German Philosopher, Friedrich Schiller said: “Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily.”
Working through even tedious tasks has value. Even more valuable is finding the kernel of the interesting and taking time at home to explore an idea further. If your child has a decent reading schedule, then make sure they are reading not only what is assigned, but also something of high quality that interests and challenges them. If they don’t have a decent reading schedule, get in touch with us.
- Time is our greatest challenge. We’re all working hard, and when the kids are working from 8-3, it’s harder and harder to get time with them to learn how they see the world and help them become part of it. Don’t load up the schedule with sports, music, and numerous other activities. Take time with them just to be with them. Actually…play Fortnite with them if that’s what it takes. Preferably, though, you should find activities which help your family engage in the community. If you’re involved in a Church, those types of activities are great. If you’re not a family of faith, find Civic organizations or service organizations to engage in. Clubs, Scouts, etc. The best way to invest time with them is conversation. Take as many opportunities as you can to get them thinking and wondering about important ideas and how to parse through them.
School is not, and should not be, the center of your world. You owe no allegiance or fealty to it. Your kids are your kids. YOU have a lot to offer them, even if you’re both busy. In the end, education of your kids is your game. There are a lot of wonderful people in the local school system who dedicate their careers to making sure your son or daughter has a safe and productive time in the local school. Build strong relationships with as many of those people that control their environment as you can, and know that in the end, you are the one in charge: always.
Don’t know what “whole child” really means? Need to explore options? Would like to make connections with the homeschool world without being a homeschooler? Curious what the possibilities are? Just reach out to us, and we’re happy to sit down and talk about what we do.