The purpose of a stake and shelter circling a young sapling is to give it protection and support and equip it with internal strength and nourishment so that it will be prepared for the days ahead. Moving our children from babies to adulthood is similar to moving a sapling from the greenhouse shelter to the open garden. Continue reading »
Take a moment to describe three people you know. Perhaps your kid’s coach, your neighbor, and a close friend. Tally up the negatives and positives. What do they indicate? Actually, they say a lot more about you than the people you’re describing. Research indicates what we perceive in others has a lot to do with Continue reading »
Interesting problems and exciting risks are life's calisthenics. They stretch us in directions we need to grow. Children are particularly oriented this way. They think up huge questions and search for the answers. They face fears. They puzzle over inconsistencies in what is said and done around them. They relentlessly challenge themselves to achieve social, physical, or intellectual feats that (from a child's perspective) seem daunting. They struggle for mastery even when dozens of attempts don't provide them any success. It's a testament to courage that they continue to try. Continue reading »
(or What History Teaches Us About Parenting)
The parent I would become was changed by history. Or at least by revelations history can offer.
At 18, I signed up for a college history course simply to fulfill a requirement. Although I’ve forgotten the professor’s name, I’ll never forget the man. He taught us to look at all of history using one pivotal question: "What happens when people are deprived of (or otherwise separated from) the consequences of their words and actions?" Continue reading »
What kind of heroes do I want my kids to have?
It's a question I've been pondering, lately. Because children do have heroes -- people they admire, desire to be like, emulate. I know, we homeschoolers tend to hope that we will be our kids' heroes, but it is pretty inevitable that somewhere in their tween years our offspring will become fans of someone other than just Mom and Dad.
Who children idolize can significantly influence the kinds of people they become in the future. Continue reading »
No matter how many times someone claims that humans are naturally selfish and aggressive, they’re wrong. We’re constructed for compassion. It’s easy to tell. Our bodies function best when we’re in a state of cooperation and caring. Research shows this in our skin, our brains, nervous systems, our hearts. Research also proves this whether looking for physical, emotional Continue reading »
The reputation of homeschooling has progressed to the point that in addition to the occasional vitriol, I frequently get compliments for homeschooling my kids. The compliments often come from other moms who say, "I could never do that."
There are many reasons they say they couldn't do it, but maybe the most frequent one is, "I'd kill my kids."
What they mean, of course, is that they would not get along well enough with their kids to be able to get through it. The conflict and distress would be too much; parent and child would be at each other all the time. Continue reading »
Every once in a while in this homeschooling journey, by some miracle -- you are able to see that you did something right.
That happened to me, recently, in an unexpected way.
It was testing time. Standardized testing time.
* Insert ominous theatrical music here.*
Yes, in years past, I have seen testing as the time that informs me of all the ways I am failing as a homeschool mom. Of course it's not that, but that’s still how it felt. If my kids scored well, I scored well as a homeschool mom. If they didn't, well… Continue reading »
Kindness is taught in many schools alongside the ABCs and the multiplication tables. And when asked, most parents would probably say we already are teaching our children to be kind every day. But are we? Or rather, how can we do this more consciously and more effectively? Continue reading »