Thursday 14 February 2013

Priorities: Choose LOVE

Today is Valentine's Day, so I wish everyone to be filled with love in their lives and in their hearts.

Valentine's Day drawn by Tiger
This post was inspired by a conversation I had with another homeschooling Mum, Mrs. W, recently.  Mrs. W brought her son home from school after he had experienced multiple difficulties in school -- the usual challenges such as bullying, being academically stifled, educational needs not being met.  She has been homeschooling her nine-year-old son for two years despite oppositions from her extended family and her husband.  In her own words, it's really down to her and her son to prove to all the naysayers that homeschooling is the best thing for her son.

I can understand and relate to her having to face opposition from family, but I was surprised to learn that she did not have her husband's support.  When I asked her why her husband did not think homeschooling their son was a good idea, Mrs. W told me the reason is because her husband is a "traditionalist" who thinks that their son is not learning unless he is seen to be writing in workbooks.  I offered some words of encouragement and comfort, but I couldn't help thinking to myself the following:
  1. some people's idea of learning is dangerously narrow
  2. being schooled is NOT the same as being educated
  3. "conformists" would be a more appropriate term to describe those who do not question the 'that's-how-it's-always-been-done' way of life, even if the-way-things-always-have-been isn't working for them anymore
As our conversation progressed, Mrs. W revealed that her husband said something along the lines of, "You only have one shot at this.  What if you get it wrong?  What if he doesn't learn anything or have any qualifications when he's 16 years old?  Then you'll have ruined his life."

Do you hear what's really going on behind these words?  It's fear.  Mr. W is clearly so overcome with fear of the what-ifs that he would rather put his son back into the drudgery of school (where he had suffered miserably before) than to support his courageous wife to seek a new and better educational solution for their son.  This fear of the unknown is so illogical yet especially crippling to the creative essence of anyone.

If working through workbooks were the only way to learn, as Mr. W thinks it is, then by this misguided and very narrow definition, Tiger hasn't been learning anything for a very long time.  Especially when it started snowing again this week, Tiger has spent most of his time outdoors playing in the snow.

He has not gone near anything that resembles a workbook.  Instead, he has spent many happy hours throwing snowballs,

building a snowman, only to dismantle it by sculpting and burrowing in it,

looking and identifying 'mysterious' tracks,

marvelling at how intricate the ice crystals look on the car window,

and generally living and experiencing the snow and frost.

Is this not worth more than filling out pages of workbooks?  A few years ago I might have felt slightly worried (fear again) that Tiger was not 'keeping up with the school children'.  Nowadays, I see much more value in choosing to project love rather than fear onto my child --a love for life, a love for learning, a love for real first-hand experiences, a love for nature, a love for wonder and freedom....

I hope Mr. W will find it in his heart to let go of the fear that is preventing him from seeing the tremendous opportunity that lies in front of his child.  Choose to be guided by love and it will turn us into the wind beneath our children's wings; fear will only make us become wing-clippers.  This article might just enlighten Mr. W a little bit.

This post is linked up to:
1) All Year Round Blog Carnival: Winter 
2) Hearts for Home Blog Hop #4
3) Homeschool Mother's Journal: February 15, 2013 
4) Hobbies and Handicrafts - Feb 15 
5) Collage Friday- The Literature Fair
6) TGIF Linky Party #63#
7) It's a Wrap
8) Weekly Wrap-Uup: The One with the Video
9) Share it Saturday
10) The Sunday Showcase - 2/16/13
11) Hip Homeschool Hop - 2/19/13


  1. I completely agree. I have learnt that what we do is ultimately incomparable to schools because it is so different. Maybe not better, maybe not worse, but very, very different. And that's okay!!

  2. Fear holds us back so many things, doesn't it? You're completely right that schooling is NOT the same as education. I have a friend who went through a bit of the same thing; her husband was more supportive, but did (in the beginning) have his doubts and only gave the okay to do preschool and kindergarten until they saw how it went. Now he's pretty much sold on it, but those ingrained ideas are hard to break out of.

  3. This is really interesting to me, because I'm a first year homeschooling mom, and there have been lots of moments this year that I've wondered if I'm doing enough.
    BUT, my kids (although young) love to read, and are very inquisitive. They're learning to apply knowledge, and I'm gaining more confidence.
    Thanks for your wisdom and encouragement in this post.

  4. I've always told people who were interested in homeschooling that fear is not the place to homeschool out of. Still, sometimes I need those reminders myself :-) It looks like Tiger had a great week. We've resigned ourselves to the sad fact that we're probably not going to get snow this winter.

  5. Thank you for your visits and supportive comments, ladies. I was troubled by Mrs. W's struggle and lack of support at home. That made me want to write this post to share my support and encouragement to all the parents who are doing their best for their children. :-)

  6. I really like the idea of choosing to project love onto our children. I'm a worrier, and I worry (of course) that I'm going to project too many fears onto my son despite my best efforts not to. But that idea of choosing to project love in those moments is a good tool to try.

    It looks like Mrs. W's son had a very educational and fun time in the snow! I hope her family comes around and sees how good this is for him soon. That must be so hard to keep going in the face of opposition.

  7. I so agree! Kids learn so much more by doing than they do by having something they are totally uninterested in shoved down their throat.

    Suburban Farm Girl

  8. Excellent post! Thank you for sharing this story and the point of the value of love in choosing learning projects for our children with us over at Share It Saturday!

  9. And excellent post. I agree so strongly with everything you have said. I hope Mrs W continues to believe in her self that she can do this because she can. That she faces opposition from the person who should be supporting her the strongest is sad and hard. But I think that this will make her success all the sweeter. Good for you for the support you were able to give her.

  10. I totally agree. It's so easy to parent out of an unconscious fear-based mentality. Society contributes to this anxiety at every turn if we don't remember to lift ourselves up and tune into the truth that's in our own hearts. Well said.
    Lucinda (visiting via Collage Friday)

  11. Thank you for your visits and your very uplifting comments. :-)

  12. This is so true: "Being schooled is not the same as being educated." I totally resonated with this post - well said!

  13. Hey Minn, fancy meeting you here! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your supportive comment. I just read about your latest arrival. Congratulations!

  14. I agree with you. It's hard for a lot of people to break their minds out of the mold that society presents as education. Your son learned so much more from his hands on snow week and benefitted so much from being able to truly be a kid...much more than any workbook could have done.

  15. Oh it would be so hard to homeschool without my husband's support. I waited until my daughter was in first grade to get it.

  16. Even after 12 years of home schooling I am still finding that my view of learning is widening. Thanks for a great post and thanks for linking up to Hammock Tracks. I hope you'll return this week.


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