Homeschool Essentials

Whether unschooled or highly structured, religious or secular, all homeschools encounter the same challenges. All successful homeschools exhibit the same essential qualities. This weblog will help you understand and apply those qualities, minimize frustration, and enjoy more success sooner.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Being All They Can Be

Sadly, few young people ever reach this level of needs. With safety in such short supply, and threatened at every turn in most schools, students expend their energy assuring survival. At home, though, we can provide the opportunity for them to scale the heights, to fulfill their destiny, to fully answer their calling. Peer groups compound the injury by punishing differences. By definition, self-actualization must be different for each individual. Neither teachers nor parents can predict the calling for any particular child. Only as they grow and explore their own talents and gifts can they discover their destiny.

Twenty years ago, I thought I had such foresight, but time taught me otherwise. My nephew announced an intention to go into accounting and business. As I perceived his talents and temperament, nothing seemed less likely to offer success and fulfillment for him. I cannot speak to his fulfillment, but he has spent the last two decades working productively as an auditor. It quickly became evident that, my wisdom notwithstanding, he had picked his profession well. Humbled by that experience, I watched my own children grow with intense interest. My oldest, a boy (now a man), tinkered with mechanisms so much it seemed obvious he would choose engineering. Nope. He majored in History, gained experience in business, and now works in information technology. Increasingly chastened, I gave up predicting, even mentally, what paths my two daughters might take. For each it is an ongoing story, but for now, one seems headed toward social work and counseling, the other toward modeling, with a strong interest in signing for the deaf.

Trained as a teacher, experienced in working with developing children, a close observer of talents and gifts, and yet I couldn’t predict the paths my own children would choose! Had I designed their education to produce the outcomes I thought most likely, it would have served them ill. Fortunately, before I could commit that mistake, I had discovered the Five Essential Qualities, and that knowledge prevented me from further damage.

Given the proper conditions, your children will seek out their true calling as certainly as moths attracted to the light. The proper conditions, put simply, consist of assuring their first four levels of needs are met.

Later we will fill in the details of providing a safe, rich learning environment which enables students to discover their gifts. We’ll also examine how to identify their learning styles so that we can help maximize their ability in all areas. Learning styles dictate how they learn best, not what they can learn.

Now I just want assure you that, contrary to popular belief, children are driven to learn from their first moments. At the same time, we see that our best efforts will be in cooperating with this need, rather than frustrating it. To do so will require new thinking for many of us, new willingness to believe in our own children, new ways of looking at learning. If we can make the transition, success we literally cannot imagine can be ours, in our children’s success. They can be and do things we cannot imagine, things far beyond even our greatest hopes. But we will have to be willing to let them be themselves. This will prove one of our greatest challenges.

Children naturally need and desire to learn. One of the questions that recurs frequently is how to restore the love of learning. We must recognize that if they no longer love learning, then we or someone else must have taught them to disllike it. Dislike of learning does not come naturally. Like the children in Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s song, “they have to be carefully taught.” Rekindling their love of learning requires that we remove and counteract tthe influences that have taught them to dislike learning. I call that process de-toxing. We must however continually realize that we are the strongest influences upon our own children. If they dislike learning, we most likely have been instrumental in teaching them that unhappy lesson. So we must begin the search to rekindle learning in our own attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.


Blogger Let's Homeschool said...

Love all of your insight and I am very grateful for all of the books you recommend! Thanks!

2:11 PM  

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