Our effectiveness as parents rests on our relationship with our child. Ultimately, choosing to behave in a way that promotes a positive and close relationship with our children, is what will form the foundation for our parenting success. Parenting success is no small thing. It leads to healthy adults who are more likely to avoid destructive behaviors, engage in fruitful relationships, and be the captains of their own ship, directing their own lives responsibly. Homeschooling can help you achieve parenting success by creating an environment that offers the maximum of opportunity for establishing a wonderful relationship with your child.
Homeschooling helps you upgrade the home environment. For one, it gives you more precious time. There is no school commute. It only takes a few hours a day. If you choose, there is no mountain of homework. What you do with this free time is up to you. In my home, my kids spend much of their extra time working on projects of their choosing. They also play quite a bit, which is ideal in childhood. They often share what they’re working on with me or talk about what they’ve read or learned. They hang around as I take care of household duties, too, and sometimes pitch in. The physical proximity of homeschooling leads to more teaching moments, conversations, and chances for you to present ideas, values, and to establish concrete learning. Physical closeness also gives you a way to sufficiently observe your child’s interests and tendencies and to listen thoroughly to them. This abundant time spent alongside a parent creates a home environment that children feel very cozy and free in. Even highly independent teenagers enjoy having an accessible parent at home much of the time.
Another way homeschooling supports our relationship with our children is the fact that we get to influence their habits in a way that is likely to stick with them forever. It was admittedly easy for me to consider staying home with my children because my mom stayed at home, despite her college education. My mom got up early every morning and headed to the kitchen to cook breakfast and so that has seemed like a natural thing for me to do, too. Witnessing and living productive rhythms and behaviors as children are extremely helpful to us once we become adults. My husband and I have taught the kids by example and leadership that we arrive to scheduled meetings early so we can always be on time and we prepare for the day ahead the night before and we take the time to prepare and eat healthy meals and we do some physical activity everyday and we don’t interrupt each other when speaking, and we apologize when we ought to, and so on. If my kids were to have nothing but elementary school level math and reading/writing skills as adults, at least they’ll know how to: respect others and be pleasant people, plan and take steps to execute their goals, prepare ahead of time, follow-through, stick to their word, go to bed early, wake up early, cook healthy meals, be proactive, be communicative, and hold themselves accountable for their own actions. A huge chunk of the population has no more than elementary school education level skills, despite graduating high school and yet they lack many of the above skills.
Homeschooling usually means kids are more present for and involved in the tasks of daily life, due to being home during the day. This naturally attunes them to your role as parent and provider and helps avoid narcissistic attitudes and the commonly accepted generational and cultural divides. My kids like the music they like, not the pop music their generation likes. They never see my husband and I as old, clueless, and disconnected from them. And if you model empathy for your child, I find that they are highly supportive and understanding in regards to you, the parent. They don’t wonder what my day is like, they see it during the day. I remind them what their father’s day is like and they are supportive of the fact that he comes home tired from a long day of physical work. It helps kids to bear witness to the life of their parents versus living in their own artificial bubble environment. Do not underestimate the gift of letting your kids see you work, especially if you can do it with a positive attitude. When they’re grown they’ll naturally mimic the work ethic, values, and sense of humor (in their own style) that they soaked up from you during all that quality time together. If our kids follow our footsteps into this traditional family life, all the time and experiences at home will provide them with all the guidance and practice they need to do so confidently.
When you’re with your kids all day, I find that it is one’s tendency to relax more and to see your kids as the unique individuals they are. You have more opportunities for being delighted and surprised and impressed by them the more you’re around them. Instead of being rushed for school in the mornings or bedtime in the evenings and using hurried disciplinarian means of parenting, you can take your time to communicate with your child, let them say all they need to say, take breaks as needed, and come to true understandings, compromises, and agreements. You’ll have many more little moments of random quality interactions that will add up over their childhood. Homeschooling helps us teach and enjoy and connect to our kids while we have that once-in-a-lifetime chance.
When we’re done homeschooling, we hope our children see a clear path forward in their lives as adults. When I graduated high school I felt like a child who was suddenly expected to grow up and be mature, even though I had just been forced into a scenario for many years where I had to ask permission to get a sip of water or to use the restroom. Homeschooling allows us to give our children a lot of freedom to practice ruling themselves. We’re still here to catch them if needed, and we provide plenty of guidance, but ideally, they get to age 18 feeling pretty secure in their own ability to tell themselves what to do and to motivate themselves into action. We are our children’s friends, mentors, and biggest supporters. As such we tell them the truth, hold them accountable, encourage them to try, console them when they fall, and congratulate them when they win. This will continue when they’re adults. Instead of us being mere disciplinarians when they’re young and then trying to befriend them when they’re adults, we’ve attempted to create a bond from the start which is essentially crafted of respect but honed through lots of time and practice. Building a lifelong bond with our children is one of the finest reasons to homeschool.