Discipline, “the practice of training,” is nowhere more necessary than in the application of education. Whether we are schooling from an all-in-one boxed curriculum, an eclectic mix of sources, or choosing a life-schooling/unschooling option – the practice of training our family to a disciplined education is crucial. So what does it mean to treat this lifestyle of educating our children as a discipline? We exercise discipline to train ourselves to moderate our weaknesses and train our children to behave appropriately. Since we are educating our children, it makes sense that we would use and teach this valuable life skill related to our homeschool world.
Whatever homeschooling looks like in your family, the fact that you have decided to take charge of your children’s education means choosing to apply a particular discipline to your family life. One aspect of that is that sometimes we push on with education even when it’s hard. It’s a simple fact of life that there will be hard days. The world is full of difficult things that need doing, and it takes a well-trained mind to set itself to push through on a hard day. Your kids are watching and living the life that you create, on the difficult days and the easy ones. They need to know how to respond. Our fortitude in the face of adversity is key to the patterns they are building in their own thought processes. Our kids need to see us do hard things so that they know they can persevere through difficulties.
As adults, we exercise self-discipline to get ourselves to work, appointments, and events even when we would rather do something else. By pushing through a homeschool day even when you need a day off, you prepare your children to face rough days with levelheaded persistence.
You won’t always have the option to take a day off, and while that may be a reason to have it while you can, it is also an excellent reason to push through and help your children feel the accomplishment of having done a hard thing. When we exercise the necessary discipline to work through a tough spot, we illustrate how to work hard to earn future freedoms. Frequent reward without responsibility and discipline loses its value and impact and can create a sense of entitlement and ease.
Finally, it is essential to have a disciplined structure to fall back on so that you can pursue your educational goals even when emotions run high. Assuming that you’re parenting and schooling humans, you’re going to run into some very emotional times in your academic life. Parents and kids will deal with emotional responses to each other and the challenges that learning can bring. All emotions are a powerful tool in learning about your child and yourself and are a valuable tool for developing maturity and empathy. But they can also be detrimental to progress when they are allowed to be in charge of a situation. With time, understanding, and practice, you can learn to manage your expression of emotion and respond appropriately to your children’s emotional outbursts. Kids are human and often experience bigger emotions than they know how to handle. Through your example and guidance, your children learn that they can function through their own big feelings. More importantly, that they are safe with you to feel and experience big things.
You will earn rich rewards for your days, and your children will reap a lifetime of benefit from choosing to instill a disciplined view of education into your life. You can learn even when it’s hard, even when you’d like a day off, even when everyone is emotional. Push through. Cheer for yourselves. And don’t forget to take that day off soon!