This is a guest post from Sarah Faulkner. She is a homeschooling mom in Washington state. She has five kids, ages 14, 13, 10, 7, and 3.
My oldest children are in Cub Scouts, which seems stupid to me, and a total waste of my time. When you are around your kids 24/7 you don’t need anything extra to build togetherness. I have a strict policy about not getting involved, so my husband, who is not home 24/7, handles all scout requirements. I only show up for the big events. Socially, I am a bad mom.
While I was attending a mandatory meeting, a friend mentioned she enrolled her homeschooled, 10-year-old scout in online public school. She said, “He needed accountability. He wasn’t doing his schoolwork.”
I’m sure that choice doesn’t solve her problem. The problem is the parent’s struggle to see clearly how they have raised their kid, and who their kid is becoming in that environment.
I know because I struggle with that stuff too. Understanding my children’s personalities on a deep level changed my relationships with my kids and helped me to see everything with more clarity. But more importantly I am learning to sort expectations that seep in from society from behaviors I have taught.
1. Decide what success is for you. You taught that to your kids when they were little.
When your kids were young, you taught them how to do work — any kind of work – by teaching your morals and values through the way you corrected them. We adults correct in children what we feel is most important.
What is important for me is acknowledging one another, and taking action if needed without grumbling or complaining. This was my primary goal when the kids were young. But through example, I also taught them to question what is being asked to determine if it should be done at all.
So when I ask a child who hates science to do science, I should not be surprised that he evaluated the task, and deemed it unnecessary.
2. Your child follows the model you set. Listen to learn what you actually taught.
It is really hard to know what you teach by osmosis. My mother worried that her poor eating habits would teach me to be fat. She ate at night when I wasn’t around. Now, I struggle with night time eating.
It’s really hard to listen my kids and realize they are reflecting back my values. It’s even harder to accept what I’ve taught and learn to teach around it, or work with it. But if I want to change the values in my child, I have to change mine, and I don’t always want to do that.
3. What is important for parents to learn: Stop worrying.
The biggest worry for me is the I-really-don’t want-to-royally-screw-my-kids-up worry. Am I messing them up by stepping out of the box too far with our homeschooling?
I know that I can choose worry about looking socially acceptable, or I can try to just breathe. But that’s really hard for me. I told him I didn’t want him to resent me for not insisting that he learn science. His response was, “When I need to learn it, I will Google it. ”
He’s right. The pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge. He got that from me.