Updated: May 17, 2020
Using this time to focus on the joys of life
Right now education does not look like anything we have ever seen before.
I understand the frustration and chaos that such major changes in routine, quality of instruction, and having to be all things to all people brings. I want to reassure parents that during this crazy time it's not about checking all the academic boxes, it's about developing your child’s character and focusing on your why. Trust me when I say your child will be fine without the rest of their ‘curriculum’ over the next month or two. What we all need to do is focus on FUN!
Not only fun in the traditional sense, but also this breakdown of fun:
Focus on values first
Unplug from ‘school’
Never underestimate our capacity to learn
Over the next couple of blogs I will explore each of these more deeply.
Focus On Values First
Whether we like it or not, kids are not going to remember much, if anything, about their lessons over the last 3-4 months, especially if they have been in a ‘traditional’ school setting until now. If we're feeling the strain of all of these changes, imagine how our kids are feeling. This is where homeschooling and crisis schooling meet; it is easy to lose sight of the why. Why is education important? Why is it important for my kids to learn?
In the chaos and change of the summer before we started to ‘officially’ homeschool, I lost sight of our why... why we decided to homeschool our kids in the first place. I was so wrapped up in researching styles of homeschooling, learning styles, teaching styles, curriculum, etc. All of these are very valuable parts of the process (which could be a whole other blog), but not the most important ingredient. The most important job I had as a parent was not to ‘educate’ my kids in a particular way, but to raise confident, Godly young men and women who loved to learn and would use their passions and gifts to serve others.
This became our why. These values are what we returned to me time and again when faced with choices and decisions. I often asked myself, will this choice further our values? Will this curriculum or activity meet our family values? It is where we all need to start, and continue to revisit, especially when life gets crazy!
Here are steps that I use to help narrow down family’s values.
After you take 3 deep, slow breaths, consider the following steps. When you think you are done with each step, take a couple more minutes to revisit.
1. Write every word or phrase you can think of that describes what you would like your children to know or become. For the kids, focus on the things you like best about yourself and your family.
2. Parents and older kids, write every word or phrase that comes to mind that describes who you are as a family, or would like to become. Don’t over think this! Whatever comes to mind, write it down.
3. Now look at all lists. Circle all those that are the same. For example, if ‘kindness’ made it on to multiple lists, circle it on yours. Once all the ‘same’ words or phrases are circled, rank yours in order from most important to least important.
4. Now put all ranked lists up on a white board, or on the wall. If it is not obvious what the top 3-5 values are, narrow it down as much as possible. Then have a discussion until you all agree.
You can also do this exercise by yourself, it is a wonderful way to get a new perspective on your why.