Back to Back Issues Page
June 20, 2022

If somebody were to ask me what the key is to successful homeschooling, I would answer – GOOD PARENTING. I believe that good parenting includes the intentional formation of healthy routines that will lead to healthy habits for everybody who is part of the household. These habits may very well be determining what type of skills children learn, or not learn, as they grow and mature. In a home education journey, thinking about and intentionally establishing certain routines can really support the vision you have for your family!

As one grows older and observes the world, it becomes easier to see patterns. Many of my friends have completed their homeschool journey by now, and all of us are very proud of our children! Of course there is always room for improvement, and one can only face the opportunities that are there, not those that aren’t.

Thus, it has been my conclusion that no matter whether one has children in school or at home, your parenting style definitely influences (and may even create) the opportunities for growth to occur (or not...). The thing that I observed which has a major impact on what children learn, is how parents are sometimes intentional in forming certain routines.

Not all routines just happen automatically – some may, but most do not. If you want to have clean clothes there must a laundry routine. If you want to become fit and strong, there must be a routine with exercises to build fitness and strength. If you want to have a good relationship with somebody, there should be a habit of communicating regularly to develop the relationship.

Habits and routines ensure progress towards goals and objectives. It provides structure so that one can move forward. If these routines are habits then less energy is needed to maintain them. If these are not happening then the goals will not be reached. In order to move towards goals therefore, it makes sense to establish intentional routines. Let us talk about some examples.

In my dealing with other people’s children, it has been most interesting to see just what defines a ‘normal’ household with ‘normal routines’. Some habits and routines that I am sure many of you have in your family is maybe not so normal in other families. For example: A ‘small thing’ like having dinner together around a table, during which there are some ‘lekker’ conversations about all sorts of things do not necessarily happen in all households. Another ‘small thing’ like reading aloud to your children and then discussing it, is also seen as something unusual, and not the norm.

Now take just these two habits where conversations are happening naturally, and think about how much is happening from an educational point of view:

• Language skills are developed i.t.o. how to express what you think and feel

• You are forced to be clear about what you really want to say

• You must choose not only the right words, but also how you are going to say something

• Thinking and reasoning skills are developing (as children grow older, these will become fierce debating skills) and

• Relationships are built.

The question is then, if this is not happening in a home, what are they MISSING OUT on?

Where are these very important language and thinking skills developed, if at all? Language skills are not easy to catch on later in life, and there is something to be said for the correlation between language and thinking skills, since one thinks with words. Thus when missing out on conversations, there is so much more that is missed in the education of a child. Maybe having dinner together around a table is therefore a very important part of good parenting!

Another example may include teaching your children home-related life skills including cooking, baking, washing clothes and dishes, gardening etc. Just doing these activities have a lot of educational value in that it includes learning how to plan, organise, and manage time; often there is math, science and biology applications happening which can be emphasised; physically executing these activities have many benefits, and it is especially fun when doing it together!

Once again, one can assume this happens as part of a natural routine in all households. But I have discovered it is not normal – and therefore such children are NOT LEARNING these skills.

Is ‘not learning’ not a form of depravation then? Perhaps, one may argue, these skills are all easy to learn in the future. But what about the bad habits that have been formed in not doing certain things? Will those be easy to change in the future? Ask any young adult who have shared a space with others, how big the frustration is when having to deal with somebody that doesn’t have these skills.

One last example – think about how good parents teach their children self-discipline, as part of their normal routines. ‘Normal routines’ meaning simple things like having a ‘getting up routine’ (e.g. making your bed, breakfast, putting on clothes, brushing your teeth), and a schoolwork routine that starts and ends at certain times. I can testify that in doing this children learn self-discipline.

Of course there are holidays and weekends where these routines change and are flexible – this is not a military type of routine we are talking about now. But the stability and expectation of certain household routines provide an environment that encourages groundedness and self-discipline.

All households have routines and habits. The question to ask yourself is – what goals do the routines and habits in your household encourage?

* Does it support your vision as a family?
* Does it support your educational goals?
* Do you perhaps need some other routines to better support your goals?

Think about your goals – which routines can help to achieve them? Then start small and do it regularly, until it is a habit.

Until next time, Willemien

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. – E.B. White”

Want more info?

Homeschooling Guides for Parents (ALL for FREE in 2022)→

Need curriculum?

South African Art Series for Children / Suid-Afrikaanse Kuns Reeks vir Kinders →

Omvattend Afrikaans Graad 1, 2 en 3 →

Copyright © 2022, Homeschool Curriculum Guide

Back to Back Issues Page