January 19, 2013

How to Be a Good Homeschooling Mom

My dad, a retired business professor, often emails me Harvard Business School’s “Management Tip of the Day.”   Even though I am not in the workforce, a homeschooling mother is something of a manager and I have often gained great insight from applying these tips to homeschooling. 

Recently one of Dad’s forwarded management tips was entitled “Don’t Be a Bad Boss” and it really got me thinking.  It linked to an article in the Harvard Business Review called “Are You Sure You’re Not a Bad Boss?” which reports on some recent research done on what traits or behaviors get bosses fired from their management positions.  I found several items on their list of failing behaviors to be very applicable when viewed through the lens of homeschooling. 

Here then, are a few “Bad Boss” qualities we homeschooling moms better watch out for:
  • Failure to inspire, owing to a lack of energy and enthusiasm:  I know from experience that this never goes over well with the kids.
  • Acceptance of mediocre performance in place of excellent results:  Well, this one does go over well with the kids, but it’s probably not a good thing for their education in the long run.
  • A lack of clear vision and direction:  Lots to think about here.  Do you know where you’re going with this homeschool thing?  Short term?  Long term?  Do your kids know? 
  • Failure to improve and learn from mistakes: this might seem kind of obvious, but I know I’ve been guilty of continuing to do something that wasn’t working just because I thought we “should” be doing it or because I paid a bunch of money for it.  
So, if we turn that around, we would have to say that a good homeschooling mom is one who inspires her children with her positive energy and enthusiasm, does her best and expects the same of her children, has a clear vision of the overall purpose of her homeschool which she shares with the children, and is willing to change when she makes mistakes or when things aren’t working.   I like that definition.  I think it is achievable by any one of us, regardless of our circumstances.  I think those qualities of attitude and perspective are far more important than what curriculum we teach, how we teach it, and how much we paid for it.  Or how many grade levels ahead our children are or aren't. 

What say you?  What makes a good homeschooling mom?  

Sarah (Birrd) is valiantly trying to be a good homeschooling mom to six young children on a small farm in Oklahoma.  She loves fresh squeezed orange juice, buttermilk waffles with real maple syrup, and fresh farm eggs.  Get to know her at her personal blog, Tales from Toad Hall.  

6 comments - Add a comment below -:

Jessica Smith said...

I LOVE the definition!!!

Mama Rachel said...

These are awesome reminders!

I would caution new homeschooling moms, however, that expecting "excellence" out of tiny ones is NOT good for them. When my kids are small, I mostly focus on inspiring them, having fun, and building strong relationships.

Then when they are older (teen years), and are ready to do harder things, expecting excellence is a WONDERFUL tool.

Great post! I love it! :-)


Aimee Jongejan said...

I was ready to cry until I read "Mama Rachel"s post -- I have young children. Well, a 4 year old and a 9 year old. Sometimes it is all I can do to get through the day. I focus on helping them love learning, getting the basics down, and building character through gospel study and learning about applying values to our choices.

Birrd said...

I agree, Rachel, that it is not prudent to push the little ones too hard and we shouldn't expect too much from them. But I do think it's good for them to try their best.

Birrd said...

oh, Aimee! I never meant to make anyone feel like crying. I think you must have misunderstood me. It sounds to me like you are an excellent homeschooling mom: just from what little you wrote I can tell you are doing your best and you have vision. It's usually all I can do to get through the day as well. I'm glad Mama Rachel helped you feel better and I'm sorry I made you feel bad!

Jenn said...

Thank you for this posting. Lately I've been rethinking homeschool a bit and needed to be reminded why I love it. Thank you!