Changing Habits to Promote Consistency as a Home Educating Parent
by Beverley Paine, June 2016
I think if I had my time as a parent and home educate over again I'd concentrate on developing healthy habits, in myself first and foremost because my behaviour sets the model children will emulate and demonstrates my values too. All too often my behaviour didn't line up with my values and I'm sure that was confusing to my kids as it was inconsistent. Changing behaviour starts with changing habits.
I'd pick areas that are important to me but are fairly simple and easy to change - for example, going for a walk first thing in the morning with the children will send a strong message that physical fitness and activity is important. There is so much learning that happens when out and about - so much to see and notice, chat about. It sets the tone for the rest of the day. It's a great thing to do but oh so hard! I wish I'd picked up this habit early in life. Another daily habit that I've seen work wonders in families is sitting down after a meal and writing in their personal journals - doesn't need to be writing either, it can be drawing, doodling... the act of being together in relative silence is both meditational, reflective and bonding. Again, it's something I wished I'd done...
One way I'd use to do this is to brainstorm a list of 4 of 5 things that I'd like to see consistently happen in my life and pick one and focus on building a habit around that. It takes time and commitment to cement the habit into place which is why I recommend only picking one a time (unless some are really easy to implement). Habits are learned through repetition - creating an environment conducive to easy repetition of the behaviour helps too.
I'm working on creating habits that work for me and changing habits that undermine my values and goals at the moment. All of my life I have been confused by the hypocrisy I see around me - and feel conflicted by my often automatic and conditioned responses. Acting - instead of reacting - requires awareness and effort but it is so worth it. Our children and grandchildren deserve it.
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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