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Almost one-quarter of home school students are enrolled one or more grades above their age-level peers in public and private schools.

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Good Communication

Good communication... You never know how much you need it until you realize you haven't had it...

We recently heard of a man who was really down on his luck, and looking for any kind of work just so he could buy some food. He went door to door, asking if anyone needed any odd jobs done. One homeowner finally had compassion on him.

"Tell you what. I've been meaning to paint my porch for a long time, but just haven't had the chance. Here is the green paint I bought for the job... If you will do really good work in painting the porch for me, I'll not only pay you, but take you out to dinner, as well!"

Well, the man could hardly believe his luck. He entered into his momentary career with an enthusiasm usually reserved for cheering his favorite football team. In less time that you can imagine, he was finished. Every inch was painted green, with great attention to detail, and pride in a job well done. Mounting the front steps, he knocked on the door.

"Excuse me, sir, but I have finished the job."

"You have? But... how is it possible? I would have thought it would have taken you three times as long to complete!"

"Well, sir, I worked as hard and as fast as I could."

"Uh, yes. I see..." Astonishment, nay, bewilderment was on the employer's face.

"Oh, and, sir?", the man politely said. "You did make one little mistake."

Still puzzled, the homeowner replied, "I did?"

"Yes, sir, you did. That wasn't a 'Porch' out there... it was a Mercedes."

Communication between parents and children is always of vital importance. But I have found that when you homeschool your children, there are multiplied opportunities to communicate.. and to miscommunicate... and learning to recognize the difference needs to be one of our absolute top priorites.

Let me give you an example from our home. Last year, Isaac was a sophomore in homeschool high school. Things were rolling along, school was progressing, and I was starting to pat myself on the back. We had carefully selected materials for the courses Isaac was pursuing, and I was confidant that they were both challenging as well as interesting.

Then one day, he walked in and sat down next to me. The look on his face let me know that all was not "right as rain" in the Waring home. But I was really not prepared for what he said when I asked him what was wrong.

"Mom, I just don't like school!"

Ah! Shock! Horrors! My son not like My school? What was there to not like? I mean, after all, I had told audiences all over North America how to make school come ALIVE! for their children, how to instill a hunger to learn and an excitement to know... "How could you do this to me?" , I ranted.

Do you notice the person I was focusing on in the above paragraph? That's right - me. I was so intent on my own failure as a homeschool mom, that I completely missed what Isaac was needing to communicate.

Fortunately for me, our family has spent a lot of time working on the skills of listening, asking questions, trying to clarify what is being said, and not walking away in moments of frustration. So - after a few minutes - I calmed down, took a deep breath, and began to ask Isaac a few questions.

"What is it about school that you're having a hard time with?"

"Well... I don't know..."

"Is the work too difficult for you?"

"No, not exactly. It's just that it's pretty boring..."

"Boring? What is in this material that is boring?"

"Well... I'm not sure, Mom. But it's just kind of, you know, boring doing all of this stuff by myself."

Aha. The light went on in my head: the key word is not "boring", but "myself."

"Do you think it would help make school more interesting if we were to spend more time together interacting with the things you are working on?"

"Oh, mom! That would be great!" Relief evidenced by a big smile... and the sun came out on our homeschool again.

You see, I had forgotten that Isaac really prefers social interaction to solitary studying. In recognizing his academic abilities, but not his learning preferences, I had neglected to schedule in enough time for sitting and talking together about what he was learning. Praise the Lord for communication. And praise the Lord for the perseverance to get to the heart of the matter rather than taking Isaac's complaint at face value.

Dear friends, make sure that in your home, when your children say "Porsche!" they don't mean merely "porch."

Diana Waring has been married 25 years, has three of the best children in the world, has homeschooled forever, and has a passion for encouraging parents to enjoy their homeschooling/parenting adventure.

© Diana Waring -  Used by permission.

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