May 3, 2013
Nobility, honor, courage, magnanimity, generosity… as a homeschooling mom, these character traits are music to my ears. Who doesn’t want to raise a child that can hold a meaningful conversation while respecting the person he is talking to and holding a friend’s baby, while defending his faith? We’d also like him to defend his country, be loyal to his wife, and work hard because it is good and right. (I just can’t imagine why so many people think homeschoolers are a little Type-A:-)
We don’t have high expectations, do we?
Homeschooling families are a diverse bunch. Each homeschool holds to its own specific combination of philosophy, priorities and outcomes. Each of us prefers to read certain types of literature. Some put a high value on music education, while for some, the scientific method rules the roost. We all look to round our children, but let’s face it, we have our preferences… As a matter of fact, these preferences usually drive the decision to homeschool in the first place.
In spite of our differences in technique, we do have much in common. If there is one theme that runs through every conversation I have with homeschooling families (moms and dads), it is the desire to raise children who exhibit honorable character traits in both their personal and professional lives. I love talking to like-minded people who place so much value on this piece of their children’s developing minds and hearts.
Once we get past discussing our mutual commitment to character training, the conversation often drifts into frustration. Parents today, homeschooling or not, know the end result they seek, but they have no road map.
In times past, for good or otherwise, young people learned how to train their children from their parents. Your household had rules, which generally aligned with the rules in other households. You knew what would fly (going to a ball game with a friend’s family) and what wouldn’t (going to a party at a friend’s house – where their parents wouldn’t be there.)
Today’s families are often operating on a drifting foundation. Many parents are still trying to get their arms around their own belief system… they haven’t shaped their own thinking. Is it then any wonder that they don’t feel capable or qualified to teach their children about what is good and right?
Confusing? Yup… but also a significant opportunity!
Homeschooling is the perfect environment for us to hone our own character while we do the same for our children.
Three things to keep in mind:
1) No matter how far behind you feel, you are still ahead of your kids. Take comfort in knowing that you have experiences that have taught you the good and right. Take those as a starting point and work from there.
2) Ancora imparo – “I am still learning”. This is my life’s motto… I find it encouraging that no matter where we are in life, we still get to learn and grow. We never have to be stagnant. Work on your own development alongside your children. They will respect you and your values more when they see how thoughtful you are about your own character.
3) You have resources… use them. Use curriculum if you need some guidance. Or, you can try a more expository approach to character training. Word study is a tool I use for my own research, learning, as well as Bible study.
My hope for you is renewed confidence in your ability to train your children up in integrity. Later this month, we will talk a little bit more about word study as a framework to train your children’s hearts while you build their brains.