Raising Political Kids

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November 6th was an important day in our household as well as in many households across the nation as we marched to the polls to have our voices heard. I truly love election day and I take my responsibility as a voter very seriously. It is important to not only participate in elections but also to be as informed as you can regarding candidates, their stance on issues and the various proposals on the ballot.

As a homeschooler, I used the days up to the election to drive home the importance of voting in this country. We discussed the history of voting, how the election process works and how to become an informed voter. On election day my kids were able to come to the polls and witness their mom cast her vote. That night we turned on the news and watched as the votes rolled in to see the outcome. I tried to make the event as exciting as possible because I want them to be passionate about politics.

During our election night celebration, my daughter asked me whether she should be a Republican or a Democrat when she became an adult. I love that she asked this question because it gave me a chance to talk to them about what my expectations were for them once they reached the age to vote. My husband and I are both pretty conservative Republicans and many people might think that because we homeschool we are going to force our children into being Republicans. This is not true instead of raising our kids to affiliate themselves with a specific party we have chosen to raise our kids to simply be political. I want them to be passionate and active voters who take the time and care to understand the issues. I don’t care what their political affiliations end up being I only care that they treat the voting process with respect and recognize the honor it is to be able to vote in the first place. I want them to stand up for what they believe while interacting positively with those who have different points of view.

Whether you homeschool or not I think it is important to allow children to identify their own political path. It doesn’t matter which party they end up affiliating with; what matters is that they are passionate about this country and the direction it is heading. Don’t label your children instead allow them to find their own individual niche in life. I truly believe that this is the best way to raise children into happy, healthy and productive adults.

 

 

 

 

 

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The World Is A Scary Place

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Life in the United States has become fraught with political, racial and sexual tension. You can’t turn on the television or open a paper without being inundated with all of the anger and animosity being played out all across the country. It’s scary for me as an adult to witness all this turmoil and its even scarier for my kids. My husband and I have chosen to not shelter our children from the chaos of the world instead we have used current events to inspire discussion. Through discussion, we have been able to answer a lot of their questions and we have helped them feel safe in this scary world. I believe that change starts small and that by raising my children to be intelligent, honest, and compassionate people they will become productive adults who can impact the world positively.

Knowing that I am raising good people does my heart good and fills me with hope for the future but still, I am exhausted by all of the anger. What happened to civility? Why can’t people share different opinions with each other and engage in civil discussion? We should celebrate our differences in opinion and work to find common ground. Instead, people are happy to tear one another apart, disown family members, shame one another and verbally and physically assault others. History has shown us so many times in the past the consequence of not finding common ground. It was a 156 years ago when political, racial and sexual tensions ripped this nation apart and started the Civil War. I wish people would stop and think about their actions and reevaluate what is important.

This is the advice that I have given to my children: Treat others with respect and use your voice to calmly express your opinions because nobody understands someone who is yelling. Always try to view the situation from someone else’s perspective and do not let pride, anger or passion prevent you from seeing the truth. If you are passionate about something make sure you have researched your opinion so you can engage in intelligent debate. Most importantly never forget the value of honesty and integrity.

 

It’s not our differences that separate us in this world it is our actions.

                                                                                                          -Hectic Eclectic Mama

Good Parents Homeschool!

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A simple fact in life is good parents homeschool their children. Those who do not engage in homeschooling are neglecting their children’s education. Some of you who are reading this are already getting upset but before you start throwing things at me let me explain.

I am a full-time homeschooler this means that my kids receive all of their education from me and the materials that I provide for them. When you hear the term homeschooling it often means someone who is engaged in full-time homeschooling. Not all homeschoolers are full time, in fact, some parents provide the majority of their children’s education but supplement with classes in a traditional institution or through a co-op. There is another type of homeschooling that is often overlooked and that is the homeschooling parent who sends their children to a traditional brick and mortar institution but actively participates in their child’s education. Yes, that is right you can be a homeschooling parent even if your kids attend public school.

Any parent who takes the time to invest in their child’s education or personal interest is actively participating in homeschooling. If you read with your kids, help them find answers to questions they ask or inspire them to be creative or to follow an interest than you are actively homeschooling. Education should occur in the home it doesn’t necessarily have to be full time because full-time homeschooling doesn’t work for every family but it still needs to happen. Many parents homeschool without even realizing it and they are making a positive impact on their kids. Unfortunately, there are a number of parents who believe that education should only be administered by a certified teacher and they do not engage in any form of homeschooling and these kids suffer academically and socially.

It is so important for parents to take an active role in their children’s lives. Get to know your kids and help them discover their interest and passions in life. Make reading as a family a priority even when you have children who are independent readers. Put the electronics up for a little bit each day and engage in face to face discussions so that you can teach your kids how to have conversations. Homeschooling isn’t about academics alone in fact when you homeschool you are teaching your children how to be productive citizens and how to be good parents in the future. Teach your children to build a nurturing home full of love and a passion for learning.

 

 

What About Physical Education?

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Running to the finish line!

What about physical education? This is a question that I get asked quite often by those who are curious about how we make homeschooling work for our family. Physical education is actually one of the easiest things that I have been able to incorporate into our daily routine. It’s not difficult to get kids up and moving around when you remove the electronics and steer them outside. We like to visit different parks in our area and we have found great places to hike and adventure. Not only do the kids get a ton of exercise but my husband and I also benefit from these activities.

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Beautiful hiking trails

Just today we discovered beautiful trails where simple workout stations were set up at every 1/8 mile marker. The kids had a blast trying out each exercise and jogging from station to station. Within 20 mins we all had a pretty good workout and we were feeling the burn. We will definitely be visiting this park again in the near future.

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Balancing Act

I will admit that it is easier to get our physical activity in when the weather is warm but even on cold or yucky days, it is simple enough to add to our routine. Sometimes we put on the radio and dance around (cardio), we do a sit-up and push up challenge in our living room and when we get stir crazy we walk at our local Walmart making a point to walk up and down every aisle.

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All three of my kiddo’s worn out from their hike 🙂

My kids get a lot of physical education and we are always discussing ways to be healthy and the importance of proper nutrition. We don’t really follow a physical education curriculum instead we have made fitness and nutrition a part of our lives. It doesn’t matter if you homeschool or not getting your kids active while teaching proper nutrition is the best way to set them up to be healthy adults.

How do you incorporate healthy living and fitness into your family’s routine?

 

A Proud Moment

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“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”- Socrates

I think it is probably safe to say that at some point in time all parents second guess or worry that choices they have made aren’t the best ones for their children. As a homeschooler doubt often crops up when our kids struggle with a topic or when we are feeling overwhelmed. While I have been homeschooling for a while now I still deal with self-doubt on occasion and I have to stop myself from having a panic attack.

Providing my children with the highest quality of education is so important to me and this can sometimes feel like a heavy load to carry. I want to make sure that I fill in as many holes as possible so that when they are ready to step out on their own they have the tools they need to be successful.

Recently, I had a very proud moment that helped me push my doubt aside and appreciate the choices we have made to homeschool our children. My oldest who is 11 years old was watching an episode of “Magic School Bus” where they were discussing the rock cycle. He was intrigued by the information presented but wanted to get more information. Without being prompted he began to look through our personal library for books on the topic and pulled up information on the internet. He spent the entire afternoon reading about the rock cycle and when he was done he excitedly educated the entire family on what he had learned.

Moments like these are so sweet and they make me so proud. Our goal all along has been to teach our kids how to learn so that they know how to find answers for themselves. Watching my son explain what he had learned was so rewarding and it was a proud moment for both my husband and I. It’s funny how these moments usually occur when grains of doubt begin to take seed but I am so thankful for them because they calm my fears and help me refocus.

We will continue to provide as many resources as possible so that our kids can continue to learn about the things that interest them. Simply teaching our kids how to safely find credible information online and within our local library has given them the tools they need to be independent learners.

What proud moment have you recently shared with one of your children?

Life Should Be Fair But Not Always Equal

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You may have read the title of this blog post and thought that I was speaking about race, ethnicity, culture or religion but that is not my intent. I am talking about life in general, the importance of teaching kids that while life should be fair it’s not always meant to be equal. Let me explain what I mean. It is not an uncommon to see siblings fight over gifts, treats or even time with Mom or Dad. Often in an attempt to diffuse tense situations, parents will try to level things off by making everything equal but I feel that this sets kids up for failure in the future.

Over the years my kids have shocked others with their ability to accept and even commend their siblings on receiving something extra whether it was a toy, a monetary gift or individual time with mom or dad. The reason that my kids are able to be gracious to one another in these situations is because we have never given in to that urge to make things equal because that often makes situations unfair. For instance, my oldest son helped me with some odd jobs last summer and he made five dollars a week for his hard work. His sister was presented with the same opportunity but she chose to not assist us to earn the extra income. It wouldn’t have been fair to pay her for work that she hadn’t done simply to make things equal. Robert ( my oldest) did the work so he earned the right to the allowance. My daughter may have been bummed because at the end of the summer she didn’t have the spending cash that Robert did but she understood.

We do not set out to create situations that result in one child receiving more than another but when a child steps up and does something above and beyond what was asked of them they deserve an extra treat. Maybe an extra cookie at snack time or a walk in the park with mom. It’s important to reward children for their actions because if you try to make every little thing equal it winds up that you end up rewarding your other children for not doing anything at all and this could result in them always relying on big brother or big sister to earn them their rewards.

In the real world, your boss isn’t going to give you a raise or a promotion at work because he gave one to the rest of the staff. The only way you are going to receive that reward is through your own hard work. It’s important to start teaching these lessons early in life because it well help your children succeed in the future. I can’t tell you how many times I have listened to someone complain that so and so received a raise and they were angry because they didn’t get one too.  I have asked these individuals if so and so deserved the raise and usually, they agree that the individual did something above and beyond at work that earned them that raise.

When you teach your kids that hard work and going the extra mile will bring them great rewards you are giving them important skills that will help them later in life. It is also important to teach your children to be gracious to others and when someone else is rewarded for hard work they should congratulate them and be supportive.  Teaching your kids now that life should be fair but it is not always equal is a great way to build good character and prepare them for the real world.