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A Short Incomplete List of Do's and Don'ts

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By Beverly S. Krueger

Don't make every moment an educational moment. I know, I know...life is learning and learning is life...but if you're not careful you'll find yourself detailing how electric circuits work every time you turn on a light switch. After delivering a short lecture on the history of oats in Scottish cuisine, you may find your children face down in the their morning oatmeal. Let educational moments unfold before you rather than seizing every moment and making it educational.

Do greet your husband with a welcoming smile and kiss when he comes home from a hard day of work. This is especially important if you have scorched the roof of the microwave during a science experiment or found your toddler experimenting with glue on his father's favorite book.

Do plan time to take care of yourself --body, soul and spirit. There's nothing like spending an hour soaking in a hot bathtub, candles glowing warmly and the tub lined with Hershey’s kisses. Word of warning: don't use floating candles with the light turned off. The last and only time I did this, I ended up in the pitch dark when the candle doused because I made to many waves.

Don't wear yourself out trying to be everything to everybody. Delegate tasks to your children, and don't take them back up when they don't perform them as well as you do. You don't want your children wondering if you spit out pellets just because you've taken to sounding like a screech owl.

Do keep a sense of humor. You could go on a rampage when your first grader decides to use permanent marker to create his own body art the night you've planned to take everyone out for your anniversary dinner. You could. But trust me, everyone you meet is probably going to be highly amused, so you might as well laugh along with them. I'll never forget the time I saw a father discover his two young sons wallowing in a huge mud hole they had created along the side of their home. He ran straight into his home and, by the look on his face, I was sure he was off to get some instrument of torture to beat these two hooligans. It was evident they thought so, too. Back he came dashing out... with a camera. Of course, he did get them in the end when he hosed them off.

Don't worry about keeping your house totally clean and neat. You live in it 24 hours a day and so do your children. Life will go on if your baseboards don't get dusted once a week.

Don't require your children to finish every thing or every book they start. Do you finish a really boring book? Perseverance is a noble virtue to instill in your children, but so is recognizing when you're wasting your time.

Do enjoy your children as they learn. It's easy to get wrapped up in the hassles of daily living. Set aside 15 minutes to just play or read with your kids. They'll remember that time all their lives. I still remember the look on my oldest son's face when he was seven-years-old and we sat down to read together. It wasn't just the look on his face. His whole body communicated delight at spending time with mom, one on one.

Do share your burdens, your joys, your daily struggles and daily successes with other homeschool moms. Support is a beautiful thing.

EHO Reader's Do's and Don'ts

    Don't be afraid of structure. While many homeschooling families revel in the flexibility and "non-school" atmosphere of home, some children do actually require schedules and strict structure. If your child does better sitting in a school desk in a room that looks like a classroom, then do it! If your child needs lists and schedules, then make them. It's your choice so choose what is best for YOU and YOUR children.
    Pansy Mom
  • Don't assume your child(ren)are learning just because they get questions on a worksheet correct most of the time. Do let your children explore their own interest.The major disciplines do not need to be taught daily for children to learn. Don't drag your children to every field trip offered. Do model the virtues you want your children to have. Do enjoy having the freedom to homeschool. Go for it and do your own thing! :)
    Shelly P.
  • Do read WITH your children EVERY day. Reading as a FAMILY before bed each night helps put closure on the day and set the tone for bedtime. By reading books that pertain to our studies even a working Daddy can participate in our schooling. Sometimes Mom reads, sometimes Dad reads, sometimes the kids read. Reading to the family can be very enpowering to young readers. Being read to can be comforting and a special treat to more experienced readers. Even if it's a bad day and no school got done you can take comfort in the fact that your family did do something educational and that you had time to bond as a family.
    Rionach
  • Don't compare yourselves to other successful homeschoolers. Your homeschool is yours and yours only. In general, as a parent you know what is best for your children. Thats the power of homeschooling! It's your schedule.
    Sheryl Shomler

Copyright ©  2003 Eclectic Homeschool Association

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