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Monday, December 13, 2010

Learning to Teach Virtue

I mentioned a short while ago that raising virtuous kiddos might be a little easier when you homeschool, but also a bit more challenging.

Because I spend so much time with my children on a day to day basis, not only do I have more opportunities to offer them instruction, but I can actually see their personal challenges firsthand and help them to form plans for conquering those challenges. I can help them throughout the day rather than hope that other authority figures that they look up to are giving them the same instruction and encouragement that they need.

There’s a lot to be said for knowing where your kiddos are all the time and what they are doing most of the time. There’s a lot to be gained by having a consistent environment. When children are still quite young they benefit a great deal from this stability. But this constant contact presents its own challenges.

Am I right that there’s a certain amount of relief in dropping the kiddos off at school for 6-8 hours a day when you go off and do something else? Why is that? You’re still their parent, but suddenly they became someone else’s responsibility. As a homeschooling parent, that responsibility is mine. If one of my children starts spouting off rude words or throwing things, I’ve got no one to blame for it and how I react is oh so important. That whole “do what I say, not what I do” thing ain’t gonna fly. If I yell, well they are going to yell. Every time we react to a situation, we are demonstrating to our kiddos how to react to a similar situation. Think about that a minute.

Now think about doing it all day long. And think about how being with your kiddos all the time might make it challenging to raise virtuous virtuosos.

There’s simply no way to pretend that I’m perfect. They see me for who I am. When I have an off moment, well, the kiddos are going to see it, and yes, I’m going to have my off moments.

They are wise beyond their years. They are wise to me.

It’s funny. Sometimes people think that homeschooled kiddos are helplessly na├»ve and out of touch with the real world. It’s true that my children aren’t hip to the latest and greatest on the tube or the airwaves (not to mention the colorful language or the desire for acquisition that goes with it), but they seem to have a very keen sense of things like irony and human nature, things that you actually need to get along with other people in this world. I think I’ll pass on the passing fads and take genuine understanding.

Raising them to be good, yes it’s hard…but it’s also a supreme blessing.

Raising my children has forced me to stretch and grow my own self. I’m still stretching. I’m still growing (I wish my clothes stretched as much). Every time I think I have learned my lessons, I find I’ve got more growing to do. God has given me a great gift, He is helping me to become a better person while trying to raise good people. And that’s a double blessing.

4 comments:

  1. so true.. thanks for sharing this. it is an encouragement to another homeschooling mom like me.

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  2. So true that when you drop the kids off at school, they are someone elses responsibility. But that thought doesn't offer me a bit of relief or peace. We have a sitter come for two hours a week and although she is the most thoughtful caring gal in the world, I am anxious and nervous until I get the call that Michael is home. I can not imagine having to go through that day after day. Some moms will argue that you get used to it, but I know from when the boys were in school, that I am not one of those moms.

    Also, I recently heard from a public school mom that the third graders playgound conversation topic was recently oral intimate activities (phrased to keep this a family friendly blog). CAN YOU IMAGINE!?!? Try keeping up the virtue teaching and fighting that from school.

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  3. Chris,
    Glad to hear from you again:-)

    Modest Mama,
    I agree. I won't talk about some of the colorful things my oldest learned as a 1st grader in a Catholic school.

    Obviously we find that keeping our dear ones near is the way to go. I just wanted to take a few minutes to talk a little about some of the challenges that come with that commitment. I've talked at more length in the past about why we continue to choose to homeschool and how it makes it easier for us to be good parents: http://homeschoolheartandmind.blogspot.com/2009/11/why-i-homeschool.html

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  4. All so true...and I don't think it gets easier either, just different with each age and stage...Thanks for sharing~HUGS!!

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