Thursday, March 18, 2010

Traits of a Homeschooling Parent: 2007

This post is in response to an email I received:

In the homeschooling spheres that we inhabit, the variety of mothers is only matched by the variations of homeschooled children: school-at-home moms, classical education moms, unit study moms, unschooling moms, Charlotte Mason moms, etc. And there are moms who work full time and homeschool; some that work part-time and some full-time SAHMs like me. I know relaxed mothers, high-strung mothers, ones with college degrees, some with high school degrees, etc.

We do, however, share traits, inner leanings and quirks that have brought us all to the world of homeschooling.

I've observed that successful homeschoolers (meaning they've homeschooled for quite a long time and have managed to keep their joy) have the following in common:

Successful homeschoolers:

are familiar with different ways of homeschooling.
They know that not everyone learns the same way and that, sometimes, what works for one homeschooling family doesn't work for another homeschooling family.

are flexible.
Sometimes moms are too sick to teach; the kids are too sick to learn; the kids just want to do math all day; a park day goes into overtime; moms get free tickets to a museum, etc. And these successful homeschoolers aren't afraid to ditch books that don't work or change curriculum halfway through the year. It's okay to be flexible with time and resources.

love to learn.
All the dedicated homeschool moms that I know share this trait: the love of learning. If their child is learning about Ancient Rome, the mom is learning with the child, not just saying, "Read this!" and doing something else.

Think of all the good teachers you had growing up. What did they have in common? They loved what they taught.

have some sort of schedule.
It might be schedule down to the minute or just a loose one, but these moms find time for doing chores, going to the library, going to park days and just doing nothing.

have support.
These moms are members of homeschoolnig support groups or use online message boards (or both). They know where to receive guidance, support, find shoulders to cry on, friends to thump them happily on the back for a task well done.

have supportive husbands.
Whether they're just the financial backers or teaching the kids a subject, a husband who supports the homeschooling dream is a treasure.

are compassionate.
These moms know that they are not perfect and their children aren't either. But instead of hating everyone for his/her imperfections, these moms teach their kids lovingly and prayerfully.

make learning a priority.

are dedicated.
Successful homeschoolers are ones that keep focused on why they are homeschooling and know when to take breaks, make adjustments, have a vacation, go on field trips, etc., but who do not give up easily on homeschooling itself.

make time for themselves.
They take time for themselves. Whether they switch babysitting with a friend, ask DH to care for the kids while they disappear for a few hours, or plug in a DVD for the kiddies and go take a bath, these moms know the importance of revitalizing themselves

They don't take themselves so seriously and do not fall apart during the little minor inconveniences or nuisances of life.

are realistic.
Kids are funny, odd and a bit gross. These moms do not expect them to act like charm school graduates.

keep it in perspective.
These moms know that there's no way that there child is going to be 18 and not know how to differentiate a nickel from a dime. They take their time in teaching and don't freak out. As my husband often reminds me, "Homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint."


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