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8 Ways to Raise a Selfless Child

8 Ways to Raise a Selfless Child

Unfortunately, narcissism is all around us. The pressure to succeed (or even simply keep your head above ground) causes many people to lose their altruistic nature. The end up becoming just another rat in the big race to the top. It’s important for parents to stop this trend in its tracks by instilling selfless values in their children that may be contradictory to society’s view of “success,” but will ultimately lead to true happiness.

To avoid raising a narcissistic child, parents should do the following:

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1. Learn to say “no” and mean it

Giving in to a child’s demands every time they throw a tantrum simply teaches them that they will always get their way if they complain enough. Adults know that in the real world, this simply isn’t true. Children need to learn from a young age to delay their gratification, or even resign themselves to the fact that; this time, they won’t be getting what they want. This will teach them to respect authority, thus helping them avoid trouble in their careers later in life.

2. Teach them basic manners

I guess this should be obvious, but there’s a difference between being simply indifferent to others and being friendly to them. In today’s society, there’s a misconception that it’s somehow “okay” to be rude to people in some positions (like assuming a custodian will clean up after you because “it’s their job”). However. the truth is it’s never okay. Teach your children to appreciate the efforts of others that go toward making this world a better place, no matter how prestigious their position may or may not be.

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3. Teach them to manage frustration

Everyone gets frustrated once in a while, but not everyone handles their frustration the same way. Minor setbacks can be annoying, but they shouldn’t completely derail your progress. Unfortunately, there’s another misconception in society; especially in schools, where earning an “F” means you’re stupid and will never succeed. We must instill in our children the notion that failure is not a dead-end, but is simply a bump in the road on the path to success. Children need to understand the only way failure can stop them is if they let it.

4. Teach them life isn’t always fair

If life was fair to everyone, we’d all win the lottery every time we played it. Of course, that would mean we would all split the prize pool and end up getting our money back. (How’s that for a metaphor?) Really, though, there’s no supreme being that decides who has a good day and who has a bad one, no matter how much it may seem like it some days. What we can do for our children is help them recognize the times when things are going well, or well enough, and remind them of these times when things aren’t going so great. The hope is to instill in our children the notion that, in the long run, what we gain in this life is solely up to us.

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5. Be kind to everyone

I alluded to this before, but I feel the need to reiterate that we need to teach our children to respect every single person we come across in our lives. We can do this by modeling kindness to everyone we meet – from the well-dressed businessman to the poor homeless man outside the convenience store. Don’t dismiss someone over a prejudicial thought. You never know who can walk into your life and change it forever. Teaching children to respect everyone will lead them toward a life of open-mindedness and incredible experiences.

6. Travel with them

Speaking of experiences, you should show your kids there’s more to life than their home and local community. Other towns, states, and countries all have minor and major differences in the way in which life is lived. It’s important that children understand this from a young age. It will help them gain worldly perspective. More importantly, they won’t grow up thinking the universe revolves around them. Showing your children other ways of living will open their minds to the myriad possibilities for their future.

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7. Read with them

If you can’t travel at the current time, read with your children instead. Read all sorts of texts: picture books, nature books, novels, kid-friendly newspapers… anything you can get your hands on! First of all, your children will carry a love of reading with them throughout their lives. Secondly, they will gain vast knowledge about the world around them, becoming less self-centered in the process.

8, Do chores with them

The sooner children learn that life isn’t all fun and games, the better. Children don’t innately understand that hard work pays off. They don’t get that their house looks nice because you’ve spent hours cleaning it, or that they can have a nice vacation because you’ve sacrificed time and energy throughout the year. Give them a list of chores, but help them through it. Take a picture of their room before they clean it, and compare it to how it looks after. Give them something concrete so they understand how their efforts have positively affected their lives. They might hate washing the dishes every night, but they’ll understand that it needs to be done – and why they should be the ones to do it.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm5.staticflickr.com

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

Supplies/Resources

Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

Email

Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

Ebooks

Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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E-Courses

When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:

Youtube

Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

Reference

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