Yesterday I discovered that my 6 year old daughter believes everything her martial arts coach says. I took her to her training session and saw how she and other little kids sat around listening to the coach intently, taking in everything he was saying. Literally everything. When we drove home and talked, I learned something revealing.
Nina’s Note: Our older kids have been seriously involved in Magic The Gathering game lately. They go to weekly local play sessions and participate in tournaments. They also play at home almost every night. Initially, I thought it was a waste of time. Now I realize that the game is beneficial to the kids and can be extremely useful for our homeschooling. It helped my kids develop better social skills and reduced their performance anxiety. By playing together, they bond with each other and with their Dad and learn to work as a team when they help each other and teach the game to their younger siblings. My kids also show great improvement in their reading, math, and strategic thinking skills. So I asked Kon – who himself is an avid player and who introduced the kids to the game – to write this article describing the game and its benefits.
Sometimes homeschooled children want to go back to school and their parents wonder how to keep them interested in home education. This problem usually happens when the child previously attended school and misses his or her friends from there. Friends who go to school can easily provide the necessary outside influence.
Even though I unschool my kids, I never tried unschooling on myself until I started BJJ. Here is what I learned.
The information we give to kids about careers is often feel good unrealistic nonsense. When you daughter says she wants to be a famous singer and she does not have a musical ear, why do you tell her she can do it if she works hard? She will most likely never become a singer. Year after year, thousands of aspiring young singers show up for auditions with great expectations, only to learn that they don’t possess the skills they thought they did. The same goes for sports: only select few make it to the top, so if your child has average athletic abilities, why do you let him believe he can be a professional athlete?
Maybe it’s different for you. For me, the best memories of my childhood were those moments when something unexpected, spontaneous happened – something that would break out of a schoolchild’s monotonous routine. Like skipping school or playing on the streets with friends after school. I have fond memories of these moments, but I don’t have any lasting memories of school classes or after-school activities that my parents put me in.
I don’t think that homeschooling is necessarily superior to schooling. True, many schools have problems, such as too much sedentary time indoors, political brainwashing, poor quality of instruction, perverted sex ed, bullying. But if you can somehow find a nice private or charter school without all these problems, then everything will probably be fine. Absent these negative factors associated with most schools, the homeschooling model is not necessarily superior to the school model. It’s just that these two models serve two different goals, so you need to pick the model that is best suitable for your goal.
I am anti-college. At least I am against college in the traditional, brick-and-mortar sense. I think attending a formal college is a waste of time and money. But people sometimes call me out for it, asking how I can be anti-college if I went to college myself and even had one of these unemployable majors, in Art. Well:
We have meals twice a day, in the late morning and in the early evening. So our breakfast has to be filling enough to make the kids happy until dinner (well, they also eat snacks during the day). Here’s a recipe for Cheese Frittata with veggies that we make every day for breakfast. The kids love it, because it looks and tastes almost like pizza, only much healthier and without the crust.
Our kids are expected to perform basic house chores, such as picking up toys, making their bed, helping to take care of the younger siblings, and helping out with other things when asked. But we also pay a small amount every week to our older kids for performing extra help.