Recently I was asked, “What do homeschoolers do for continuing education?” It was an interesting question, and after some thought, I had to reply, “Consistently? Probably nothing.” Having said that, I realized that this topic deserves some consideration, because fundamentally, if we are asking our homeschool children to become lifelong learners, then we should be demonstrating that habit ourselves.
Most homeschoolers attend a conference or two every year. Usually, this is where they purchase their curricula for the upcoming year, and hopefully, they will also attend a few workshops. These workshops would clearly fall into the “continuing education” category, but unfortunately, most of these conferences and workshops fall in the summer. Come December, January, and February, homeschool parents are tiring out and in need of a little refreshment. This is where ongoing continuing education comes into play.
As homeschool parents, it’s important to continue learning for a variety of reasons. First, if you are in the learning process, then you will have more awareness of study needs and habits that you can be teaching your children. Also, you will be more focused on creating productive working environments, eliminating distractions, and teaching your children to do the same. But, you will also be modeling the importance of learning new things all the time. When your homeschool children are tired and want to give up, if they see you working to learn a new skill or to understand something more deeply, they will be less likely to give up, and more likely to follow your example.
Another important reason to be in the process of educating yourself in new things all the time is that this refreshes your spirit. It inspires creativity and growth. In fact, some studies would indicate that you are actually growing new neurons in your brain, thus keeping your brain energetic, vibrant and stimulated. Learning new methods or taking on new skills makes you think. The more you think, the more you will engage with those around you in meaningful ways.
So look for ways to continue your own education throughout the year if you are a homeschool parent. Don’t just wait for the summer conference to be reading the books or articles that will help you teach more effectively. Don’t skip over the new skills that you hope to learn “one day.” Take time now to invest in your own mental growth. It will make you a stronger homeschool parent, and it will also improve your homeschool instruction, too.