So much of what we do in educating at home revolves around setting up an atmosphere conducive to real learning. That means we need to be aware of what our children are thinking, what their interests are, and what it is they need to accomplish their goals. But we also need to provide an atmosphere that enhances our relationship with our children. If genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration, then homeschooling is one percent academics and ninety-nine percent relationship! After all, education is a broad term that touches on the heart, mind, and soul of our children including mental, physical and spiritual training. That training is best conducted within the confines of a nurturing relationship with our children.
- Investment. In our home that relationship is strengthened when I take time to listen – really listen – to all that excites and interests them; when I take the time to look into their eyes when they speak to me; when I take the time to pass on that hug of encouragement or touch of understanding; when I take the time (and it does take time) to lovingly address matters of character before they develop into something more than a simple bad habit; when I look at each interruption as an opportunity for giving thanks for such joyful interruptions. In short, when I make an investment in my children.
To be joyful, loving mothers of children, our focus should be on the good of our children – their spiritual and personal growth. If we must stop what we are doing to correct a child, we will feel angry when we are thinking about ourselves and our need to accomplish a particular task. On the other hand, if the interruption causes me to thank God for the opportunity He has given me to bring this child up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), then I can receive that interruption joyfully and lovingly.
Teri Maxwell, Titus2.com
- Love and acceptance. Another important point that helps strength those home relationships and enhance the atmosphere is the surety of an unchanging love. Just as there is no variation or shadow of turning in our Father, our children need to see the same characteristics in our love for them. They need to know that, while we may not appreciate their choices, or believe that they have acted wisely, we will love them no matter what they do. They need to understand, that just like the grace our Father offers us, they have our grace, and that our love for them is not dependent on their performance!
- Contentment. Finally, a simple atmosphere enhancer is our own contentment as homeschool moms. You have undoubtedly heard the adage: If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Children have a way of catching our moods. In fact, the home has a way of thriving or wilting under our moods. Our contentment is catching; our children will live what they see us modeling for them. If we expect our children to be content, then they need to see us content.
Let’s be cheerful! We have no more right to steal the brightness out of the day for our own family than we have to steal the purse of a stranger. Let us be as careful that our homes are furnished with pleasant and happy thoughts as we are that the rugs are the right color and texture and the furniture comfortable and beautiful.
Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Ozarks
We offer other ideas for creating an atmosphere where learning can thrive:
A Learning Environment