The more I get involved in homeschooling and as my kids get older, the more I come to realize that only about 10% of homeschooling success is about the scholastic education of my children.
The rest is about forming a strong bond and relationship with my family. It’s about teaching our children an appreciation for life and each other by example. It’s about learning to let everyone be who they are and learn who they are on their own, yet live together in harmony by offering mutual respect.
As I make our educational and life goals, I’ve noticed that they don’t include studying subjects. They don’t include good grades. They don’t include the number of workbook pages our kids are able to do. Our goals focus on life satisfaction, self-esteem, confidence, resourcefulness, adaptability, compassion and love. When we make these things a priority, the number one way to prepare our children for academic and life success stems from our relationships with them. (And to some degree, the relationships my husband and I have with ourselves.)
Homeschooling comes easy for us, I think, because we make it a top priority to be good to each other and respect each other. Whenever there is some kind of struggle in our house over our children’s education, it boils down to a power struggle or a personality conflict. Educational issues are hardly ever isolated. The homeschooling part of our journey seems to miraculously unfold before us. After some reflection, I realize it’s because we work so hard to keep our relationships strong – with each other, with ourselves and with the world. When our relationships are strong, and we all feel supported, the academic part of all of our educations fall into place gently.
When I hear references to how hard homeschooling is, I want reassure everyone that as long as they have a good relationship with their children, are willing to be flexible with each other, are respectful and not controlling, and take their children’s views into consideration (while keeping their own views clear), that homeschooling will be SO much easier than they had ever anticipated.
Making changes in life is always hard. Especially when that change is as big as where and how to get an education. With homeschooling, the change not only occurs as an academic approach, but as a whole life approach. And that can be a little scary. But if the essential element of strong relationships is in place, the change into homeschooling really isn’t that bad. If it is, it’s time to start asking questions about whether the relationships with the children, with one’s self and with the world are strong ones. I betcha, if someone’s struggling with homeschooling, there’s a relationship somewhere that’s the root of the frustration.
Tammy Takahashi lives and learns with her three children (7, 5 and 2) and supportive husband in California. She serves as the editor of the California HomeSchooler magazine, a bi-monthly publication for the Homeschool Association of California. She contributes to magazines such as Home Education magazine, Live Free Learn Free and Life Learning magazine. You can read more from her about education and homeschooling at: JustEnough. And you can email her at tammy @ jabober(dot)com.
Tammy Takahashi lives and learns with her three children (10, 7 and 4) and supportive husband in California. She is the author of Deschooling Gently: A Step by Step Guide to Fearless Homeschooling. She also serves as the editor of the California HomeSchooler magazine, a bi-monthly publication for the Homeschool Association of California. You can read more from her about education and homeschooling on her website. And you can email her at tammy.takahashi @ gmail(dot)com.