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Maximizing the Opportunities of Homeschooling

by Win and Bill Sweet

          Your family is free to function without loss of control over a major part of your lives when you choose homeschooling for the children. As a result, a whole new world opens up before you. This freedom presents opportunities far beyond the obvious ability to personally manage your children's academic education. Reviewing some of the additional options available in this amazing new frontier will help you maximize the benefits of your homeschooling opportunity.

Respecting Individual Rhythm Patterns
          Every individual has a unique life rhythm pattern which affects daily living. One example is the sleeping rhythm. The homeschooling way of life creates the opportunity for children to go to bed and get up according to their own sleep clock. Doing so eliminates a common (but usually undetected) cause of stress, thereby freeing physical, emotional, and mental energy for more efficient, enjoyable, and productive attention elsewhere.

Preparing for Life, Not for Tests
          Pouring facts and academic skills into children has become an obsession in our culture. Average children spend much of their lives being force-taught academics they don't need, aren't interested in, and aren't optimally ready to learn. Families that choose homeschooling do so, in part, to lift this insidious burden from their children's shoulders, saving them years of wasted effort and time. An ideal principle of learning is that it be by invitation only—the children's invitation. By following this principle, any academics necessary to prepare for their adult lives and careers can be learned at the right time and by using a fraction of the time and energy normally spent during childhood.

          This savings allows an opportunity to develop non-academic resources with which children can function well in life during childhood and on into adulthood; for instance, acquiring valuable personal awareness, understanding money and investing, developing skills beneficial in handling all relationships—including their future marriage—and pursuing interests that are enjoyable, fun, and can help enhance natural talents. These examples are only a small fraction of the important preparation for life that children commonly never have an opportunity to experience.

Accommodating Gender Differences
          Men and women are different, and so are boys and girls. Yet our culture generally gives little conscious attention to accommodating these differences in children. The choice of homeschooling carries with it the space, time, and opportunity for necessary flexibility and attention to properly nurture and accommodate the gender differences.

Doing Nothing is Doing Something
          When our grandson, Ryan, is sitting quietly, staring off into space, we are very careful not to interrupt or disturb him. Important things are going on in his consciousness and mind. Deep in our culture is the belief that in order to be respectable people, children and adults must keep busy producing achievements that can be visibly measured.

          The many tempting field trips, group activities, and other advantages available to homeschooling families can easily become overwhelming. Fortunately, your own homeschooling experience provides the opportunity for you to choose how to balance some traditional productivity with plenty of quiet independent time and space for each child.In this freedom, many developmental pieces will fall into place that are not visible to the observer. Although it may seem like the children are doing nothing, in reality, day-dreaming is an extremely valuable part of childhood. Doing nothing is doing something.

Avoiding Learning Disorders
          The mounting stress in our society parallels the mounting numbers of children being diagnosed with learning disorders. At the unique Sudbury Valley School in Massachusetts not a single student has been diagnosed to have a learning disorder in the thirty years of its existence. Why? The school is structured so there is no stress in the atmosphere and the children are allowed to learn at their own pace and within their own interests.

          Learning disorders are not usually inherent in a child; they are more often caused by the disabling effect of a stressful environment. Many children are pushed or pulled from one stressful situation to another throughout the day. The homeschooling lifestyle has built into it the opportunity to provide a completely stress-free environment for your children, with time for plenty of meaningful and playful learning experiences that enrich all of life, for life.

          America is one of the most non-touching countries in the world. Touching provides vitally important nourishment, assurance, and validation. Recent research has shown that the mania among children (and some adults) to listen to loud, often cacophonous "music" comes from touch deprivation. Teenagers who suffered from touch deprivation and have later experienced a reversal of this in their lives have then gradually turned down the volume and chosen more soothing music. While this makes a tremendous difference in the teens, how much better to start when the children are very young to provide a conscious touching environment.

          Your family's homeschooling lifestyle can provide ample opportunity, not only for an abundance of touching, but also holding, and hugging. Couple this physical closeness with abundant genuine attention and then enjoy the positive results in your family living.

          Every person longs to be honored and valued; however, children seldom experience this deep longing of the heart in typical days. But you, as a parent of homeschooled children, have a wonderful opportunity to consciously and consistently honor your children, giving them a precious personal experience. The children who truly feel valued for who they are, rather than for what they do or do not do, have no self-esteem problems.

          As you maximize the opportunities of the homeschooling choice, you provide your children a unique academic education, as well as a special non-academic wealth that will greatly enhance their todays and tomorrows.  






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