Saturday, July 26, 2008

Developing Individuality in Children

"Keeping in mind that individuality is inborn within each person, how then do we develop individuality in our children?  One of the most important benefits of minimal socialization outside of the home is daily opportunity for the child to explore and develop the gifts within himself.  Daily, uninterrupted grace-based routine at home cannot be surpassed for a quality educational environment which has been arranged for individual family members.  The frequent complaint of boredom usually results from children who do not spend enough time at home with purpose and direction.
Parents need to be careful to provide many creative, stimulating outlets for the children so that their lives truly become centered in the home.  Deception enters in when we think we are denying our children’s needs by remaining at home, but when, on the contrary, a pattern of indulgence has been allowed to take root.  It is healthy for preadolescent children to remain in a happy, purposeful, environment that does not continually experience disruption.  In this way they become strong in who they are and have the opportunity to acquire purpose at a young age."
Taken from The Science, Art, and Tools of Learning by Marilyn Howshall

How true have I found this to be in our own homeschooling experience and what can I do to foster this in my children?
I know that when we have a plan for the day and when each child has an interest or an activity they are pursuing on their own, they are more content and our home is peaceful.   Purpose and direction really seem to be key here. 
"Parents need to be careful to provide many creative, stimulating outlets for the children so that their lives truly become centered in the home. "  When I first read that I thought she was speaking of stimulating outlets OUTSIDE the home – speaking against activities outside of the home.  But, yes, when I re-read I understood that she was reinforcing the idea that our children need to be creative and stimulated at home in order for them to desire being at home and that there is value in the home for them.   I can so see the other side of this – if the child is only creative or stimulated or challenged – feels a purpose – outside of the home, whether as part of a class or an organized sport, a friendship or project, then he returns to the home where there is only an empty routine of school books and chores, how much will he desire to leave the home once again to return to that excitement of discovery or direction that the outside activity offered him?   This child will grow to be the man or woman who constantly seeks to be out of the home for one reason or another, still seeking after that feeling that only comes when they are out and busy.  Instead, how much better is it when we find our fulfillment inside of the home;  where home is seen as providing purpose and direction, and then the things we do outside of the home, whether as service projects or ministry or fellowship, are all an overflowing from what is happening inside of the home instead of a substitute for being home.
How much I need the LORD’s direction in seeing each of my children as individuals and encouraging them in each of their unique ways and interests; allowing them the freedom to grow in their own way, within the safety, security, structure of our home.

This was originally posted @ on July 26, 2008

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