As a home school parent, you're aware of just what a hard job parenting can be. You seek to help your home school child develop into a well-rounded individual, both educated and of high moral character. Perhaps you have the educational part covered, but would like a little help on the morality issue.
Often, home school children hear about the importance of being moral. Many are told they should be moral because that's the way God wants it. Many are raised to believe they should behave and live in moral ways without fully understanding why. Still others believe the reason lies simply in the fact that their parents wish it. Though it is undeniably important to endeavor to live up to the expectations of God and parents, home school children must develop their own sense of morality. They must discover right from wrong and build moral conviction, starting with a firm foundation of parental and religious guidance. With this guidance, the home school student can begin to develop a firm sense of moral self, making the right choices and decisions without supervision and guidance.
To help your home school child filter out all the negativity the world offers to develop a good, strong, moral character, start with prayer. Spend part of your day in prayer and reflection, determining your values for everything. Reflect on things from the basics, like television watching, to major things, like telling lies. When you have a firm hold on your core values, you are better equipped to impart them to your home school child.
Become a model of moral behavior. All too often parents, including those who home school, say one thing, yet do the other. Avoid telling your child that lying is wrong while asking her to tell the person on the phone that you're not home. Children often pay much more attention to actions than words. Since you home school, your child will spend more time with you than if she attended school. Use this extra time to show her, by example, how to live a moral life. Don't, however, beat yourself up when you make mistakes. Remember, perfection is not a realistic expectation.
Let your home school child see that you are human. Tell him stories about yourself as a child or young adult. Let him in on your moral failures. Children really listen to and learn from these types of stories. Also, this type of discussion may open the door for your home school student to feel confident about confiding in you.
Talk about consequences. In addition to biblical and moral reasons for avoiding certain things, there are very real consequences to face when you stray off moral paths. For instance, having sex outside of marriage can lead to unplanned pregnancy and serious disease. Likewise, smoking can lead to life-threatening health problems. Talk to your home school children about these consequences.
Always keep the lines of communication open with your home school child. The most effective tool a home school parent has in raising moral children is communication. Never stop talking to your children, even when you feel they're not listening. They actually absorb more than you might think. Most of all, listen when they talk back.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mimi Rothschild is a homeschooling parent, author, children's rights advocate, and Founder and C.E.O. of Learning by Grace, Inc. She and her husband of almost 3 decades reside with their 8 children in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Rothschild co-founded Learning By Grace, Inc. because "our current system of education has broken its promise..." Learning By Grace, Inc. delivers Internet-based multimedia education to PreK-12 children in the United States and throughout the world.
Rothschild has authored a number of books about education published by McGraw Hill and others. Her Home Education News Blog contains feature stories on alternatives in education.
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