Communication in Parenting Home School Kids

Our two sons are 17 months apart in birth dates, we are very close as an adult family. We are comfortable having thoughtful and engaging conversations with each other. We're OK, in saying the unpopular comments about things that you worry about. They too, say things that are not be taken as the gospel because we "know" each other like best friends. We all say stupid things sometimes and we apologize and move on.

Our friends comment to us that they see how close we are as a family. We talk on the phone at least once a week, then we'll leave the conversation and carry on with our respective lives, knowing in the certainty of acceptance that "the conversation" is safe until  brought up again. You always hope that your children will like each other?

When we started this crazy and loving story we talked at length about after  bedtime quiet began. "Growing a citizen who thought about stuff and tried to make a difference" we both piped up. This style of citizenship was an important part of raising two small boys that became men. How would that look in your head if you were parents? How would you define this if you taught it?

My hubby and I talked about what we would teach and how. We asked ourselves these questions, they may be important questions you might want to use to decide on this subject yourself. Please go ahead.

  1. What does a good citizen look like? Write down your ideas of what makes a good citizen? Would this be someone who has a high degree of honesty and shows leadership? Would it be the way your child votes? How will your children learn about this decision of yours?
  2. What does a good Dad look like? If we'd had a girl and boy, this would start off differently, but in our case, we were raising boys to be men who respected women and stuck up for his principles. Not bend to the popularity of fist over mind.
  3. What makes a person care about the environment, the small creatures who can't speak up in a language human's understand. How would this person behave to speak up when no one else does?
  4. How will this person make a living? Pay for his own bills and keep a lawful life earning respect among his peers. How will he learn about the world?
We wrote this questions down and talked at length before we made any decision to share the idea of home learning with our sons. Well before we announced a meeting of the family to make an special offer to our sons, all of 7 and 6 years old, we began asking questions of our sons like "Jon, if you could do your schooling at home, would you like to do that?" or "Paul, what do you like the most about your kindergarten class?" The answers were predictable. At first, they had no idea it was an option to do schooling at home. They asked a lot more questions of us. We were prepared, we told them, we were new to the idea of schooling at  as well, but maybe if we work together we can do it!

Nature walks and projects that grew in importance about all things that buzz, howl and growl were obvious places to start. These projects grew into more involved full scale presentations by Gr. 7 aged boy on what war had done to the countryside and what they thought of war. 

Big stuff for a 12 year old, but with an open slate to make opinions we heard some very interesting responses.

We were certainly not wealthy and often we were down right poor, but for the most part our sons didn't know what poverty was until they grew older and the cruel world of consumerism caused many family meetings around this topic.

We had a schedule for exercise, entertainment and field trips! But we left the schedule when life presented us with new learning opportunities at every turn in our path. We began home learning in 1994. The Internet was just really starting to become a thing everyone was talking about. But few of our home learning families were hooked up and online. 

 Sorry for the quality of these photos, they are photographed by me and simply popped into this post, but they serve to show the variety of learning that we did, it was simply life. We left no stone unturned in our venture to create learning as fun and a life long activity!

 We believe that children want to be involved and valued for the effort they put in to everything we did. Now this is not to say that our sons were little angels and never were unhappy. But we did some very important things as we lived through those early years and it was talking and communicating our concerns and our successes.

We tried to expose our sons to as much as we could afford to travel and see new areas of our continent. But the fact of the matter is that when Mom or Dad stays  home full time to teach the children, they are not adding income to the family bank account. Tax wise, they are not contributing to our old age pension. These things come back to haunt you when you are my age. Its a factor in my life right now. 
 Our program was driven by Mom, but their father, Rick was a weekend teacher lending his valuable set of survival skills to the list and regularly took the boys out to the wilderness to learn how to make a fire from scratch, to build a shelter and what to do if found themselves lost!

Life gets in the way and in this case, I broke a foot and was limping around for a couple of months, but we continued on and the boys watched and learned valuable caring lessons on what happens when you brake a foot!

We used every learning opportunity available to teach and to lend our experience!

 The boys were a part of everything, they learned about how to take care of a car, math calculations are required when discussing gas mileage and keeping track of all expenses. We issued them a weekly stipend of income earned for real work around the house and on the property.

Lifesaving lessons were a required part of the plan, and learning to be comfortable in and out of water was a must for us! We've always lived near water of some sort. Both our sons earned all the certificates of swimming lessons.

But most of importantly, both partners must  be a real, live part of the plan. Otherwise the Parent/Teacher gets burned out and the whole plan crumbles.

You can see the intent learning going on here, so much that neither of the boys realized I was snapping photos!

If home learning is what  you want to do and you're not afraid to stand up for your rights as a parent in BC, to teach your own kids, then feel free to email me at carli the quilter at gmail dot com if you want some help or just to ask about resources, I sat on the BC Home Learning Assn Board of Directors and can help you if you need it, its all confidential and will not be shared in this blog.

We have fought hard to keep the right to teach at home in the BC School Act. Its there to protect your rights.

Most important in this very long post, is the message that as a couple, home schooling is not easy, its stressful sometimes, its demanding and most of everyone you meet will have their own opinions on home schooling! 

 Find the time to take couple time too!

Hope your day is a lovely one with lots of learning going on!



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