A reader named CB sent me the following question(s):
We have 2 daughters, ages 2 and 4, that we want to homeschool, but my wife occasionally has "those days" where the girls completely wear her and her patience thin and she severely doubts her ability to homeschool. It's not that the material will be over her head, but that the 24 hours a day with the girls without any breaks for sanity will drive her nuts. I've started trying to take the girls off her hands for at least 30 minutes every [evening] when I get home from work and for half a day every weekend. In the past I would come home and play with them in the house, but they could still run to her and bug and plead and cry. Now it's a complete removal from mama, outside with the chicks, or in the orchard. We still have a farm that has to be run and I have a full-time job in a mine so my time is limited, but like I said, I'm trying to releive some of that pressure. We've also talked about music lessons, paying a retired teacher for a couple of hours of school lessons once a week, year long zoo passes, weekly library trips, and other stuff to get them out of the house and get mama a break. My wife's other concern is that both of our mom's have told her that they couldn't have homeschooled their kids. They were both good moms when we were growing up, so now my wife rethinks homeschooling just because of that once in a while. Do you have any tips or hints that could help? What else can I do, on top of encouragement and releiving pressure, to help?
Second question is, have you looked at the Ron Paul Curriculum? http://www.ronpaulcurriculum.com/
Since you have experience in the realm of homeschooling, teaching liberty, constitutionalism, etc., would you mind posting your thoughts on the Ron Paul Curriculum? Will/would you enroll your girls?
Thank you, CB
I thought this would be an excellent issue to open up for discussion since multiple heads are better than one. Here are some of my thoughts to get the discussion going.
CB, I believe your wife is in need of coping techniques rather than specifics on homeschooling. There isn't a mother alive who hasn't had "those days" (or weeks or months...) with young kids. You're to be commended for relieving your wife as often as you do.
I would urge her NOT to turn to media to calm kids down (television, videos, computers, iPads, whatever). While this may work in the short-term, it will backfire in the long run by producing zombie children, unable to function without multiple media access. Children need to be taught how to entertain themselves through reading, independent play, etc. This isn't always easy, but the benefits in the long run are tremendous. Obviously in the pre-reading stage, "reading" isn't an option; but make sure you have loads of picture books available, and model reading as something enjoyable. Along these lines, I would urge the adults in the home to turn off the %$@* television as well.
Young children are also in need of strict training. Not discipline, not punishment, but training. They need to be trained not to whine, cling, have tantrums, etc. The book To Train Up a Child is considered controversial in some circles because it advocates the use of a "rod," but it offers some superb insight on the issue of raising young children how to be self-controlled. Skip the "rod" part if you want to -- we did -- but I strongly recommend reading it for training techniques.
I have a blog post from two years ago called Beaten Into Submission that addresses in more depth the notion of training children. Please read it.
As far as Ron Paul's curriculum is concerned, I have never heard of it though it sounds intriguing. While slavishly following a set curriculum works for some people, I don't like the expense or limitation involved in such methods. We prefer to draw upon numerous sources for our material. However a curriculum does offer guidance and is an excellent way not to "forget" something important, so I have no quarrels with the idea.
Okay, now I would urge all readers to chime in and offer CB some help.
(By the way, CB, your website on chickens is wonderful and I would like permission to post the URL. May I?)