How fun was it painting in Assignment #4? Time for your next task:
Assignment #5: Gaining Vision
Fold a regular piece of blank paper into half and then half again and half again. Unfold the paper flat and you will have 8 “boxes”. Now, take a minute to jot down what you think is generally important for your children to know by the time they are 18 years old: one general idea in each box. If you find two things that fit in a similar category, such as “cook a nutritious meal” and “grow a veggie garden”, then name that box with a title, such as “Practical Skills”. Just brainstorm it and don’t try to make it perfect. This is a “worksheet”.You can arrange it in priority order later or add more stuff. You are now just trying to “drain your brain” so you can look down the road to the very near future (you’ll be amazed at how fast it comes!) when your children are going to be finished with their upbringing and their education under your tutelage. You want to feel pretty well satisfied that you have “covered it”. You don’t want any big glaring gaps—”Oh why, oh why didn’t I teach them to read” or “My goodness, didn’t I ever teach them not to burp out loud?!”, for example! That’s why we are looking ahead.
It is remarkable that you can choose what to teach a 6 year old. They are so pliable and teachable. But a 16 year old is “baked”. They are set in the patterns you gave them (or you allowed public school or other adults or institutions to train in them). No flexing and re-teaching and changing them. You’ve had your chance at it and they are their own people now, actually by about 12 to 14 years. They have opinions now. They can be taught, of course, but it isn’t quite so easy as training a little one. So you want to get it right.
You want to mold them, give them good habits, make the most of this unique opportunity to nurture and train your child. Don’t get scared out of the job. It is yours, even if you choose to send them to public school. God put that responsibility for your child’s upbringing squarely on your shoulders. You can use whatever resources you need to, and if you feel that another school can do the job to your satisfaction, then so be it. But, most of us realize that public school is not turning out the kind of people we were hoping for our precious children to become. So take the job—it’s yours anyway!
Unfortunately, I missed the boat when it came to teaching my older children “Personal Finance Management”. I don’t have any reason or excuse, except that I just somehow spaced it. I am naturally very thrifty and “make do”, so it never occurred to me that someone could just spend money flagrantly without budgeting, balancing their checkbook or setting goals, or something like that. Some of my children were naturals at finance, so no harm done. Others, well. . . let us just suffice to say, not all children are natural financiers. What would have taken us 15 minutes once a week to learn at age 10 or 12 years, has to be taught by overdrafts, late fees and the other methods the banking world uses to teach us what our mother neglected. Perhaps those kids will marry accountants and all will be well!
Add to your worksheet for a week. Leave it out where you can see it, think about it, and jot things down. Remember, it doesn’t include everything, it is not detailed, it is not in priority order and is isn’t neat. That’s okay. When the week is over, stick your worksheet under a new page divider in the back of your Teacher’s Planner entitled: “Vision” (which means seeing the whole overall picture before they grow up too far to implement it.) From here you will work to refine your list until you have something you feel good about.
Each day, at the end of homeschool, or in the afternoon while the kids are playing, you are going to sit down for a few minutes and flip through your Teacher’s Planner. You are going to look over your Vision worksheet and jot down one or two more things. Just reading over it daily is going to start your brain working on thinking about what you want your kids to turn out like. You are going to notice a teenager at church, or one of your children’s friends’ big sisters and you are going to say, “Yes! That is where I am headed”. And that will give you the power to go “backwards” in your vision to see what little things have to be done now, to create the end results you are dreaming of.
For me, how my children act, teaching them to be kind, caring, loving people, is the ultimate goal.
Now, try Homeschooling Assignment #6.