I have been homeschooling my children for over 10 years now. I spent just about the same amount of time in the classroom as a teacher. One thing that I learned, while a classroom teacher, was the importance of continued personal development. Granted, most systems require this of all their teachers. And not only in education, but also in business, you'll find professional development classes and workshops that employees are required to take on a regular and on-going basis. This is something that we as homeschooling parents may not always think about. What things are we doing to continue to push ourselves--continuing to develop our skills, knowledge base, talents and interests.
We cannot give our children what we don't have. Whether it's skills, values or information. We must possess what we're offering to our children.
Please don't mistake what I'm saying. This does not mean that if you don't know about, say, Chemistry or Physics, your child won't be able to learn it. If you know this is an area of challenge for you, you can seek the assistance of another or sign your child up for classes (online or in person) or begin research--showing them how to figure things out for themselves. In this example, you take the lead in figuring out a way to learn something that you don't know--a skill that everyone should learn, especially our children.
It is important for me to model the skills I want my children to possess. Learning as a lifestyle. Learning is what we do all our lives. So it just makes sense that I would continue my own growth and development.
[Note: Our desires to continue to strength ourselves and add to our own toolbox should not overshadow that of our children. At this time, they should be one of our top priorities. I'm not suggesting that you drop everything and go 'all-in' on developing you. That time will come again.]
Besides running a household, homeschooling my three, leading and facilitating a homeschooling community, providing massage to a few clients, volunteering in my immediate community, I have many other interests and I desire to continue learning and growing as a person, a woman and a mother. I've found it important over the years to make time for this kind of growth specifically. It's different than my need for a break or for connecting with my friends. It's even something different than learning what I need to in order to instruct my children.
I have many interests so this makes this part of learning easy, in a sense. The challenge comes in making a choice and then sticking to it. (smile) Reading is something I enjoy. I have several books on my night stand presently that I've been reading and gleaning from. I also have several writing projects underway. Just recently, as in last week, I signed up for a few online classes being offered through my library's system (for free!) all in hopes of broadening my knowledge base and fulfilling my need for personal development.
One of the more important ways I'm hoping to add to my overall experiences is participating with others in learning. I've invited several of my friends to join me in these learning adventures. One has taken me up on it! In so doing, I'm looking forward to having someone to discuss and practice with. Learning, for me, is multi-dimensional and including a friend makes the overall experience more enjoyable.
At this point, I'm working on a schedule for making sure all of this happens without burning me out. This, too, is key! I am still seeking to be present with my family and facilitating their learning time. As they are getting older, many of the responsibilities I lead out in they are now able to take the lead on. This has freed my time in a way that will allow me to focus on my own learning.
So how do you make sure you're making time for your personal development? I'm interest to hear from each of you how it works for you. Does it mean classes for you? Perhaps you participate in community learning. Are you into reading--challenging yourself to learn? Do you learn better in a group (in-person) or online (virtually)? What sort of things are of interest to you?
As homeschooling families, it's easy to be so focused on our children's growth and development we forget about our own. I hope this post has reminded you, if you've forgotten. You are important. How you continue to develop yourself is something your children will see and learn to appreciate (and hopefully take on for themselves).
I love comments, so please take a moment to do so. Thanks.