This fall marks the beginning of our twenty-ninth year of homeschooling! Twenty-nine years ago, with an almost-one-year-old in tow, my husband and I began our homeschooling journey by homeschooling my then-junior-high little sister. At that same time, we began helping those who wanted to homeschool in Ohio but needed a “covering” to report to according to state law during the early eighties. I did not know much about homeschooling in general and teaching specifically at the age of twenty-one years old (despite an elementary education degree followed by master’s work in reading education), but I dug in as best I could. Little did we know that this adventure would become a way of life for us—a parenting and educational method that has brought us countless joys, challenges, and fulfillment.
Here we are nearly three decades later—still homeschooling and still helping others in their homeschool endeavors. Today I bring you tips that we have discovered on our journey—tips to make this “the best school year ever”!
2. Solve Discipline Problems Ahead of Time
If you have heard us speak about parenting young children, you have probably heard us say that we did not believe in starting “school” with a child until he was obedient most of the time. Thus, the reason for many of our children not starting formal education until age eight! Seriously though, the time to deal with discipline issues is before you begin school, if at all possible.
Our theory behind “don’t start school until the child learns to obey” is a valid one: If a child will not sit down at the table for dinner, brush his teeth when told, or clean his room, why do we think he will sit down and do his math, finish his school independent list, or do his science?
This is not to say that you will not have discipline problems as you homeschool. One of Ray’s favorite lines about homeschooling and character problems is that “We have the opportunity to see all of our kids’ faults and discipline problems—and the opportunity to correct them.” Our goal before beginning formal instruction for each new pupil was that the child was “characterized by obedience.” That is, he was known for obedience more often than not.
Obviously, we cannot just not do school this year if our kids are undisciplined. However, we would have a much better year if we really zeroed in on discipline issues and handled them as opposed to going through the motions of school while allowing these problems to continue. There are many excellent books about parenting to help us. There are seminars and video courses. We have the tools available to us to learn to parent biblically and train our children in obedience and character. (See the sidebar for some resources that we offer to help you in the area of Christian parenting as well as a couple other recommendatons.)
Christian Parenting Help
Reb Bradley books and articles
Kevin Leman books—we began with Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours
Our parenting/homeschooling book: The Well-Trained Heart (read first chapter at www.tfths.com)
Our parenting seminar: Character Training From the Heart (call to host one in your church or area—260-597-7415)
Parenting seminar: Parenting Is Heart Work
Our parenting blog—over 500 articles with topical index on the home page: http://positiveparenting3-6-5.blogspot.com/ (Positive Parenting 365—also available on FaceBook)