I have always been fascinated by the concept of homeschooling since I was a kid. Some of the kids in church that I played with were homeschoolers and the idea of staying at home and receiving education was considered awesome for someone who had gone to a traditional school. As I grew older, I have seen and learned more about homeschooling that had not only fascinated me but made me want to homeschool my kids in the future. So when I learned that there was a homeschool conference happening, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. So, on October 22, I woke up very early after just about a few hours’s sleep and prepared myself and the little boy for a full day’s learning experience.
The first part of the program was talks from keynote speakers for the day. The second part, which was after lunch, was the breakout sessions to which I was able to attend two sessions. For this post, I will be trying to summarize my key takeaways from the speakers. I was not able to fully take down notes as I had to divide my time between listening, taking down notes and keeping the little boy busy who kept on running away from me, by the way. 🙂
So, here are a few takeaways that I got:
From Deonna and Joy:
Model what you teach and what you want your kids to learn.
The basic foundation for learning starts at home. And whatever a child sees and lives with in the home, it is what the child becomes when he grows old. In short, you cannot teach a child to do something when he doesn’t see it being done by the same person that told him to. For example, you cannot tell your child to eat his vegetables when you, the parent, doesn’t eat vegetables as well. As parents, we need to set a good example to our kids. For them to learn, they need to see us do the things we tell them to do. And we have to be consistent in doing these things.
The difference between discipline and punishment.
Spanking has long been a controversial way to disciplining a child. There are a lot of misconception regarding spanking as a form of discipline. It is not child abuse, it is not merely punishment if this is done correctly. And I truly believe that there is a right way of doing this. I myself, including my siblings, were spanked as a child and I would say that we turned out alright as adults.
4 differences between discipline and punishment:
- Train for correction and maturity vs. penalizing an offense
- Future correct deeds vs. past misdeeds
- Love and concern vs. attitude of hostility and frustration by parent
- Security vs. fear and guilt
In summary, as the adage says, “spare the rod, spoil the child”. We need to discipline our kids, not punish. And in doing so, we have to keep in mind that we don’t discipline in anger. As parents, we have to makes our kids understand what was done wrong and how to correct it. We also need to make our kids understand that for every wrongdoing, there is a corresponding consequence to it. At the end of it, we need to still provide the assurance that we still love them. We don’t just punish kids and leave it as is. That will definitely instill fear. And that is not something that we want out kids to live in.
“If you stand for nothing, you fall for anything.”
This would probably be one of the most important takeaway that I got from Deonna and Joy. It actually got me thinking. As individuals, what do we stand for? What do we believe in? Where does our faith lies? As parents, what kind of foundation do we want to instill in our children?
If we ourselves, as individuals, don’t have a strong foundation of our faith, we can easily be swayed to believe in anything around us. As parents, before we can be a model, before we can teach and train our children to be what they are destined to be, we need to establish a firm foundation of the path that they would take.
From Andrew Pudewa:
I was not able to fully listen to the 4 relevancies that he discussed as the little boy got bored but I was able to take a few notes about the 3 laws of motivation (which I hope I got right) and the 2 secret weapons of motivation.
Here are two of the three laws of motivation that I got to note down:
Children like to do what they can do.
As what Andrew Pudewa said, we need to give our kids opportunities to do the things that they can do. And as a parent, giving opportunities is very important for our kids to learn. To relate to this, my son loves cars. He prefers his toy cars over anything else in his toy box. Next to this would be music. So apart from buying toys, I bring my son to events. I’ve brought him to two car show events already just this year (well, three, if you count the time when we checked out the Philippine Army’s exhibit earlier this year and they had army trucks on display). Another thing is, we have brought my son to my brother’s choir events previously as well. And during Sundays, the little boy loves the praise and worship part of the Sunday service. What am I trying to say here? My son is just 3 but has already shown interests in a few things. And while he is not yet into trying to decipher how to build a car or being a choir master for that matter, exposing him to what interests him keeps him motivated to learn more.
Right now, the little boy attempts to sing along his favorite shows and he has been fascinated with the wheels of his toy cars (as well as the wheels and other parts of real cars on display). In terms of music, he has his xylopiano toy where he practices producing different sounds. And to be honest, the little boy is starting to produce good melodies. He’s not just hitting notes just because he can do so. 🙂
Children hate and refuse to do that which they believe they cannot do.
If a child think they cannot do something, no matter how much you let them, they won’t. It will just be a cause of frustration on both the child and the parent. Apparently, children prefer punishment over failure.
2 Secret Weapons of Motivation:
Concentrate on the positives
I take it that this doesn’t mean that we ignore the negatives. But as much as possible, we try to find a positive side in everything we do.
Power of a smile
Smile brightens up everything. We cannot motivate our kids to learn if we don’t smile at them.
From Bo Sanchez, I learned a few points about the different types of parenting hat. Unfortunately, I only got two noted down (I think there were 3 hats discussed) as I had to bring the little boy to the restroom for a nappy change 😛 . Anyway, here are my takeaways from Bo’s message:
2 of 3 Types of Hats
- We only wear this hat for a short period of time. As our kids grow, this hat needs to be outgrown as well.
- We need to have a family culture, a culture with which our kids will carry on when they grow older. How?
- To build a culture, we need to be the culture. We as parents need to lead by example. This point goes back to building a firm foundation.
- Rituals build family culture.
- Once the controlling hat has been outgrown, this is changed to a coaching hat.
- As parents, we have to allow our children to make mistakes. We provide instructions but we give our kids leeway to decide. At some point in their lives, we have to start trusting them to make the right decisions.
(I think the third one was consulting hat but I don’t have notes on that so I am not going to include it here.)
At the end of the day, what we want is for our kids to grow up as successful individuals but we also have to understand that as our kids grow older, we have to start switching hats. We want our kids to learn and to be able to spread their wings when the time comes, not stifle them by trying to control them.
At the end of the morning session, I have realized that being a parent is not just providing for our child’s needs, occasional wants, spending quality time with them and all that. Being a parent takes a lot of hard work, a lot of transitions, a lot of trials and errors along the way. At the end of the day, we need to ask ourselves, what kind of parent do we want to be to our children? What kind of foundation to we want to instill in our children? How do we want our kids to grow up? The morning session made me think a lot but it also made me excited and motivated to become a better parent for my son. It’s a big task but I believe I can do it. 🙂
Did you attend the Philippine Homeschool Conference? Any takeaways from the keynote speakers? I would love to hear what you’ve learned, too. Let me know in the comments below. 🙂