When I was teaching I tried my best to help parents understand that it was really their job to educate their children and they were just hiring me to help them. I got some confused looks. They would say, “I could never educate my child, I don’t have a teaching degree.”
That response is hilarious to me because if you know anything about teaching, you know that most of teaching is about being a model. First, you model the person you want your child to emulate. Then you model a love of learning and the joy of discovery. Kids are natural sponges and they will learn; exactly what they will learn is what’s in question.
Teaching is not about having a head full of information and dispensing it to kids and demanding they consume it and regurgitate it on a test and then declaring them educated. It’s important to know some facts, have some knowledge, but it’s more important to have wisdom. Kids need to know how to apply that knowledge to their lives. (I discuss this more thoroughly in my book, Raising Adults.)
Most parents approach educating their child like they do getting their bathroom retiled. They want to hire a professional, sit back, and then glory in the beautiful results and take all the credit. And if the results are not what they want, they blame the professional and take none of the blame.
Raising and educating kids is not like that. Making sure your child gets an education is totally the parent’s responsibility. It’s up to them to choose the best way that their child is to be educated. They can choose public school, private school, some sort of religious school or they can homeschool. Parents make the decision.
Some parents get it, some don’t.
I remember one parent saying, “While my kid is at school, they are not my responsibility. They are not mine and I don’t want to hear from the school and I don’t want to know what my child is doing.” That parent didn’t get it.
Then I had parents come alongside me, join me and ask me what they could do to help their child learn. That parent got it.
Here are some parents I know who get it!
Cherie and Jeremy
I met Cherie when we worked together a long time ago. She was a gentle, kind and loving soul. I just wanted to protect her from the mean old world. Our lives went separate ways but we were able to keep in touch through Facebook. I was thrilled when she met a man who valued those qualities in her that I so admired. Then they had a son! From the Facebook sidelines, I could tell that he has some of Cherie’s qualities and Mom and Dad are both making sure his gentle and loving soul is protected and nurtured. I see them giving their son experiences to broaden his heart and mind. They stoke his curiosity and are modeling for him a love of learning and joy of discovery. In Cherie’s beautiful photos I can clearly see the wonder and awe in their son’s eyes as he is learning and growing in this big, beautiful world. Cherie and Jeremy get it.
Michael and Katie
Yes, I am shamelessly including my daughter and son-in-law in this list of parents who get it. Just go with me. Katie and Mike’s lives are busy and full of service to others, but they schedule time in their week to spend time together as a family. They have 2 sons and they prioritize getting outside and filling the need their oldest has to move! But knowing that they must balance the body, mind and heart, they make sure they take the boys to the library and spend time reading and learning about the things they find interesting. When the oldest expressed an interest in fish and other creatures in the sea, Katie made sure she introduced him to Jacques Cousteau and taught him about SCUBA gear that Cousteau invented. She even made a paper air tank and flippers so he could “swim under the water” in the living room. Katie uses her artistic creativity to enhance her son’s learning and play.
Adam and Lindsay
I’ve never met two people more devoted to learning than Adam and Lindsay. As individuals, they are avid readers and passionate learners. As pastors, they are both living, breathing resource libraries. In response to any question or concern, they can direct you to a book, a study or a person that will meet your need perfectly. It naturally follows that they chose to homeschool their 7 kids. And having a home classroom as the center and the heart of their home is perfect. They’d probably have it even if they weren’t homeschooling. Their educational choice fits perfectly with who they both are, their personalities and their passions. Their kids are living in an environment where learning is a lifestyle, not something you do on weekdays between 8 and 3.
Katie and Joel
Here I go again, parading my own children out as examples of good parents. Well, it’s because I think they are. One of the ideas that I believe in is to help your child love learning you should find out what they love, love it with them and enjoy it together. It wasn’t difficult for Joel and Katie. I think Joel’s son genetically inherited an interest in dinosaurs. Can that happen? Well, when Manny’s interest became apparent, Katie took it upon herself to learn about all the different kinds of dinosaurs WITH her son. She read books with him, watched videos with him and of course, his father was a good resource, too. They allowed their living room floor to be covered in dinosaurs 24/7. Now, Manny, at 2 years old AND HIS MOM can tell you the name of any dinosaur you put in front of them. I told you, kids are sponges! Give them stuff to soak up! You might learn something, too!
Hope and Josh
Look every challenge in the eye, take it on and find solutions! Hope and Josh are no strangers to a challenge and hard work. They are church planters, parents to 4 kids and a are a homeschool family. Is that enough? The thing I admire about them is their attitude. When they are faced with a challenge they are not stopped. They don’t give up. They do their research, gather what they need and do it. It’s called courage. That attitude is being adopted by their kids. Whether it’s a swimming competition, the struggle of changing gymnastic teachers, learning to clean up your toys or saying the word “giraffe” Hope and Josh’s kids are learning by example to face challenges square on and work hard. Raising kids, and especially raising learners, you can’t let the unknown, your own lack of knowledge or experience discourage you. A courageous spirit, a positive attitude and a stubborn consistency are ingredients to success when raising kids and learners.
There are so many more parents I could include in this list, but my blog would be too long. When parents take their child’s education seriously, make learning a lifestyle and make learning fun and exciting, success is inevitable!
Great job parents!