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« Monongahela | Main | For the the Sake of the Child: Education »

April 17, 2008

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V

You know... as some of my children have reached adulthood, they are well-educated and civilized, and this is good. They've found meaningful work and are independent in adulthood, which was a goal I held as a homeschool parent.

And then, as they launched out into life, they also found love. Great. But what I really love most about my daughter in laws and my daughter's guy? Kind. Kind to me. Kind to the dad. Kind to all the little sisters and brothers in law. Kind to my child who is their partner... I didn't realize until then how central kindness is to every single thing.

So, as a crucial element I would begin with kindness.
Have a care for their feelings and spirit, watch your tongue. Phrase things diplomatically, and even if you have to take a stand and they're unhappy, still be kind. Try to get on their side of the problem too. Find ways to help them save face in defeat. Their dignity is in your hands. Know that.

Another crucial element is to take an interest. Pay attention and try to tune in and understand what makes them tick and who they are. As homeschool parents, we have the luxury of TIME with our kids. Do not underestimate the value of just simple time spent in each other's company.

Then third, let them be who they are. Encourage their strenghts, identify their weaknesses and help them own them and find ways to strategize so they go out into the world knowing themselves and being okay with their unique self.

Fourth, keep a level of honesty inherent. There's discretion and there's lying. Know which side of the line you're on. Kids are intuitive. You don't have to tell them everything, but don't fake them out with crap. That undermines their radar, their trust in their own intuition and you never want to do that. Things that can't be talked about take on an abnormal power. Not everything needs to be talked about, and that's healthy too, boundaries. But if it CAN'T be talked about, that's never good.

Fifth? I suppose we should attempt to teach them something academically. A kid at age 14--this is my list--should be doing basic algebra, slope of a line, quadratic equations, etc. They should be able to write a basic 3 point essay, and capable of putting together a decent research paper, even if they aren't that good at footnoting, they understand the idea and can make a decent attempt at it. That's it. Everything else is free form.

Sixth, sit back and enjoy. When they are grown, which, believe it or not, they will someday be--just enjoy... the political conversations, the range of ideas, their help with various things they're better at than you... encourage them when they struggle, and let them encourage you when you do. We will spend more of our lives relating to our kids as other adults than we did raising them. You did your work. Reap your rewards and don't fight it. It's normal to feel a little rejected when they choose a way that's not ours. But our parents coped when we did. (Or if they didn't, let that be a lesson to you of what not to do.) They loved us anyway.

Okay, that's the end of me. Best wishes to all of us. love, V

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