Is your life an endless succession of small things? Do you let the minor things become the majors?
Marriage is major.
Parenting is major.
Faith is major.
Homeschooling is major.
But each of these major things is comprised of so many smaller parts that it’s easy to get caught up in every. Single. Thing. The minors. What’s REALLY important?
You’re a homeschool mom.
That’s major. Homeschooling is a vocation, a lifestyle, a family choice often based on strong faith (but not always, and that doesn’t necessarily matter). It takes time, money, patience, love, and intestinal fortitude when you reach those early adolescent years and that yellow bus drives by every morning, just begging you to push your kid up the steps. You haven’t done it yet, but you could. The decision to do so or not is usually based on where you view the majors and the minors.
Major: The Three R’s. If they can READ and WRITE and do MATH, you’re doing your job.
Minor: Cursive First, D’Nealian, or Manuscript. Let me tell you this. IT’S YOUR SCHOOL. Use whatever works for your individual child and ignore what your sister/friend/neighbor/homeschool group leader is doing.
Major: A good grasp of the flow of history and where your child’s life is in relation to the world.
Minor: A Classical Education utilizing all of the BEST books on the Great Books List and memorizing how to draw a world map by heart. None of these are bad things, but they are minor. Your curriculum choices should be based on not only your worldview and teaching style, but also on your childrens’ learning styles and individual abilities. Some kids will never read the Great Books. If they CAN read BOOKS, good for you.
Major: Your children complete school work to be educated human beings who can function in today’s society and hold intelligent conversation with whomever they meet.
Minor: Getting into that super expensive homeschool co-op that’s more like private school, because your children MUST have the BEST school experiences possible. Oh, wait. They’re homeschoolers. Do your job, teach your kids, give them rich, varied experiences in your local area and beyond and they WILL receive a fantastic education. It doesn’t have to force you to get a weekend job to pay for it.
Don't let the endless succession of small things crowd out great ideals out of sight and out of mind. Charlotte MasonClick To Tweet
Major: Meeting the academic needs of your special needs child.
Minor: Devising a rigid study schedule with inflexible lesson plans and no downtime built in so he can “keep up with” his brother. This WILL cause you extreme stress as you see your child unable to meet the schedule you inked in your planner. It will make you feel inadequate as a home educator. It will make you complain to your husband, stress out over testing, and push your child unnecessarily. You need to allow him to work at his level and challenge him only where and when appropriate.
Major: Eye contact, answering an adult when spoken to, respect for authority, not interrupting
Minor: “First time obedience”, saying “Yes, Sir” and “No Ma’am” every time when responding to a parent, always calling adults with Mr. or Mrs. These things, while they can be good, aren’t always necessary. I’ve had kids who were not capable of first-time obedience (or able to deal with punitive measures for each and every little infraction) to the extent that we opted out of joining a really great co-op due to their heavy behavior policy. Kids aren’t machines and special needs kids can’t conform. Period. They don’t get away with anything, but we handle discipline differently.
What is my job as a (homeschooling) parent?
- Teach them faith in God, humanity, and themselves
- Expose them to as many different people, lifestyles, ideas, cultures, and creativity as possible
- Provide rich, varied learning experiences
- Meet them where they are and challenge them when appropriate
- Give them responsibility so that they will learn to be responsible
- Insist they be respectful of everyone
- Hold them accountable for their actions
These all apply to any parent, of a child in any educational situation.
Parenting doesn’t change when we homeschool, nor does it change when our children go to a physical school. Parents are still the primary educators of children and these are all our responsibilities. “Don’t let the endless succession of small things crowd out great ideals out of sight and out of mind.” Charlotte Mason was a very wise lady.
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