I think I have a somewhat unique parenting style in that I’ve made my parenting manifesto abundantly clear to my kids:
“I am not your friend. I am your mother and it is my job to prepare you for a world that will not include me. I have to make sure that the three of you can function without me, but more importantly, I have to make sure that you all look out for each other.”
If I had to judge their progress thus far, I can honestly say that my kids have acquired a lot of life skills: They can all cook some basic meals, clean, do laundry, grocery shop (comparing prices, of course), use the post office, etc. We are working on the ‘getting along with each other’ skill daily. *sigh* But I guess that’s part of being a sibling. Correction: When they are trying to scheme or plot something, they get along just fine. Here’s what happened….
A few days ago I casually asked the girls (separately) whether they wanted to continue with our homeschool journey or return to public school. The middle child (6th grader) said she wanted to go back; the 3rd/4th grader said she wanted to stay home. I actually knew their answers before I asked the question, but I wanted to be certain. More importantly, I wanted them to explain their answers. Yes, I used it as a learning opportunity and I did not accept a simple short answer. See, that’s the beauty of homeschooling: Everything can be used an opportunity to learn (without grades and tests). In a previous post I briefly shared this dilemma and why I thought each girl made her decision. For the youngest child, her reasons are shared by other homeschooled kids. Apparently, some thing changed. As of yesterday the youngest said she wanted to go back to school too! But I could tell by her body language and quick glances at her sister, that that was not her answer…indeed, she’d been compromised!!!!! After her revelation, I concisely explained: You need to make your decision based on what you think is best for you, not what someone else wants you to do. Keep in mind she is 9 years old, but I make every effort to speak to my kids as responsible young people (they are not quite adults) and I do allow them to have input in some very important decisions. Do they always get what they want? Absolutely not. I would venture to say hardly ever but they still have the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process. My parenting style is probably the reason why some kids (including my own) think I am strict (insert uncontrollable laughter here), but I don’t care. I see other kids smart-mouth their parents in public because they have too much freedom and their parents treat them as equals instead of as children.
But anywho, I told the girls they would need to write their explanations for public school / homeschool, in paragraph form – that includes correct grammar, spelling, etc.. The 11 year-old started working on her draft last night and here is what she wrote:
I want to go back to school so I can meet new friends. I think I will do better in middle school than being homeschooled. Having different teachers might help my grades; I’m hoping I will do better in Social Studies. I would also like to join clubs and play the violin.
Not a bad start, but did you pick-up on how she is concerned about grades? I do not give grades (to them) but I do expect them to correct things that are wrong. And the only subjects where I expect corrections are Math and Grammar/Spelling. It’s amazing how school teaches our kids to work for grades instead of working to obtain and apply knowledge. I am not even sure why she said ‘better’ in Social Studies. As far as the club memberships….uh, she’s currently in Girl Scouts, playing soccer, and will be involved in a youth group at church. Does she really think my car turns into the Magic School Bus and runs on imagination? Clearly, we h
ave a lot more learning to do!