Real Education

Before I get on to more important things, can I just say that Julie Chen should fire her stylist over tonight’s outfit? Yes, that’s right, I WATCH BIG BROTHER. And Julie’s finale outfit? She looks like she’s wearing a Snuggie.

 

What do you want to teach your children?

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, but even more so lately. I don’t remember how much I went into it here, but I seriously considered going for complete homeschooling this year instead of using the virtual school. This was because I wanted the freedom to teach my children what I wanted them to learn, including adding things like religious studies (and, in case you are wondering, that doesn’t mean that we would be going on field trips to the Creationism museum where they have Adam and Eve in the Garden with animatronic dinosaurs). Ultimately, though, I chose to stick with the virtual academy because I wanted that paper trail showing that Wyatt started school this year just in case it ever became an issue. Next year, I may feel differently.

The past several days, though, I have been thinking about more than just traditional learning. And a lot of that, I have to admit, has to do with things I am learning to do in my own life.

This is the part where I put my little disclaimer that I’m not criticizing my parents (Hi Mom! Love ya!). Seriously, I’m not. They did so many things right in how they raised all of us, and I have so much to be grateful to them for. And, let’s face it, even with the best effort, we all have things we could have done better.

I want to make sure that my kids develop life skills that will help them become self-reliant. I have reached a point in life where I look back on who I was as a college student and young adult early in my marriage and just think, “Wow, how did I manage when I was so clueless?” I was always really book smart. My parents insisted that I got good grades and threatened to limit my social activities if I didn’t keep up with my studies. They expected a lot out of me in that regard, so I performed. But so many of the skills that I need now? I had no clue.

The really interesting thing to point out, though, is that it was all available to me. My parents are some of the most impressive people that I know when it comes to managing their lives. My mother has always had a garden. She’s always canned food. She sewed everything from dolls to blankets to Halloween costumes to Homecoming dresses as we grew up. My father can fix anything. He took the time to learn about engines and plumbing and wiring so that he can do so many things on his own instead of relying on (and paying) others to do it for him.

All of that knowledge was available to me growing up and I didn’t take the initiative to learn. And, as a parent now, I understand a lot of why my parents probably didn’t push me to learn it all. It takes time and effort (and a whole lot of patience) to teach that stuff to a kid. And when you’re in the middle of it, it is a whole lot quicker (and less frustrating) to just do it yourself. That is the problem I run into with my own kids already. I have so much to do and so little time to do it in that I don’t want to slow down to make them learn how to do it with me.

Incidentally, this is one of the areas where I think my husband truly excels as a parent. As much as it scares the crap out of me on a regular basis, he is always letting the kids be part of what he is doing—even if that means the one-year-old is out there while he’s cutting down trees. Or the three-year-old is rolling a tire around the yard while he’s working on the brakes. Even though I’m the one who spends more time working around our kids, he’s the one who is teaching them more about work because he does it WITH them—I do it AROUND them.

I want to work on this. In the past couple of years, I have been learning to do a lot more things to be self-reliant and I want to make sure that my kids can do them all before they leave our house (unlike my sweet husband, my boys WILL know how to sew on a button so they don’t have to rely on their wives to keep their pants up). I want them to learn how to sew. I want them to know how to garden (and I realize this means letting them do it with me—as much as the thought pains me—and not just in the sense that I try to make them weed it for me). I want them to learn how to preserve food (I canned five quarts of peppers and EIGHTEEN quarts of salsa last week—go me!). I want my kids to know how to fix things so, unlike me, they’ll be able to change tires and oil and whatever else life throws at them.

I want them to be able to take care of themselves because, someday, I won’t be able to do it for them.

What do want to teach your kids?

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5 Comments

Filed under Homeschooling, Kids, Parenting

5 responses to “Real Education

  1. mama2roo

    I want to teach my son about money management–which means I’m going to have to clean up my act! My parents were/are bad at it and I’m bad at it. I hate worrying about money and want him to be confident and effective with what he does with his.

  2. Karen

    I want to recommend an excellent book to this regards. Parenting Breakthrough. It goes through how to teach your kids all the things they need to survive in life (sewing, car maintenance ect) Excellent book!!! Doesn’t tell you what I want to teach my kids, because I want them to learn it all. 😉

  3. Too late for me, but my vote would be hard work, money management and how to sit still while bored. =-)

  4. Nancy

    I vote with Lilola, but then we’re of the same generation -those who were brought up to work hard and not spend more than we have.

    Self-sufficiency is a big one, and I’m glad to see you at least acknowledge we presented you with the opportunity to learn some of those things. Free agency comes into play and all that, you know.

  5. I am still deschooling my kids after 5 years of public school for my eldest. He still can’t tie a shoelace or butter his own bread. There was never any time! The schoolwork sucked up our energy and he always returned home exhausted and mentally drained.

    I want to focus on life skills like cooking, maintaining order, and knowing how to find peace at any given moment (that’s a hard one). I want to teach them to love life and enjoy what they have, without focusing on excelling, competing, or any of the trivial “accomplishments” you are supposed to be doing in public school. As a publicly schooled kid myself, it’s been a learning experience for me, as well.

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