Talking frankly about family education

by Galina Samokhina

I am often asked whether our daughter studies well in family education, how she achieves academic progress in this or that subject. These questions pushed me to write this article.

Parental concerns about school grades are understandable. I want our child to be, if not an excellent student, then at least good. But here’s something to think about: there are no statistics that children who graduated from high school with honors feel more successful in life or happier than low-achievers or mediocre students. Moreover, many people have surely heard the phrase when you enter your first job after technical school or university: “And now, forget everything you’ve been taught and see how it is really done”.

My answer to parents on the question of our daughter’s progress: “Yes, she knows things more deeply than the average pupil”. Because individual learning has always been, is, and will be more effective than group learning. It is unlikely that someone will argue with this, otherwise tutoring simply would not exist. The question is – what else, except for academic achievement in school subjects, do children receive in a family education? A lot. So much, that if all parents knew about it, the numbers of children attending school would be clearly reduced.

First, socialization.

Yes, yes, I can already hear astonished exclamations, because almost from our children’s birth we say “children need socialization, so we must give them over to the kindergarten.” In fact, children learn by imitating. The daughter learns to take care of her future husband by seeing how her mother takes care of her dad. The son learns the courage, responsibility and care of loved ones by looking at how his father does it. It is adults who set an example of adequate behavior for their children. The young imitate their elders; the older youths – adults. This is the continuity of generations, traditions and foundations. Which parents of “kindergarten” children did not encounter the nuisance when their kid brought home a bad word or indecent gesture? If you want children to adopt the foundations of your family – socialize it at home.

Second, an adequate attitude to domestic work.

When children are brought up in the family, they observe daily how their parents work. Mum prepares and arranges things, cleans and irons, cares for all the family members and pets, mends clothes, etc. The father repairs, builds, does male work around the house. When children study in a family, they see how easy and simple things are done, and are happily involved in the joint process. If children does not see how their parents work, then it will never occur to them that this is an easy and pleasant pastime. Often I hear complaints from the parents of 10 to 13 year-old girls that their kids don’t even want to wash their own dishes. In another situation, however, children behave quite differently. For example, when you arrive at your grandmother’s place for the holidays, you can also often hear: “What a good kid and helper has grown up!” It’s simple – children see how easily and simply their grandmother does the household chores, and are happy to get involved in the process.

Third, general preparedness for life.

By giving children to a kindergarten or school, we give them to a non-existent world. In real life there are very different laws, and it is better to learn them in early childhood than only after university. How to behave in a conflict situation, where is the first aid kit and what should I take from it in different situations, where does money come from and what is it used for, how to telephone your tutor and arrange a lesson, how to cook dinner, how to calm your younger brother or sister while your mother is busy, and much more.

Fourth, individuality.

Yes, individuality grows in peace and quiet, when the child has enough time for their own thoughts and activities. School students almost do not have time for their own world. In the morning – school, then dinner, hot drink, homework, TV / computer / communication with friends (or whichever applies) and … sleep. And where is the time to just think, reflect? To realize the world and yourself in the world, to do what the soul is for. An important condition – to give children solo work, without teachers, without prompts, in silence.

Fifth, motivation.

Children in family education have completely different motivations than children who go to school. If you do not force knowledge into children, they retain their intellectual curiosity. Many have seen the image of a hungry kitten forcibly dragged to a bowl of milk – he resists with all four paws. Same for children. Do not cram – just give them the opportunity to learn, and the children will use it.

Sixth, awareness.

Looking from the child’s perspective, one can understand a lot. Does your child feel confident in the real world? Is this world interesting to your child? School children often face a wall of misunderstanding. Most teachers are only interested in how well they learn the subject, and parents, what kind of grades their child gets in school. Many even punish children for bad marks, and … the child closes up. Their view fades, the world becomes completely uninteresting, and they look for alternatives in social networks or computer games. It’s another matter when a child learns by family education, when grades are not given, or given only at the request of the child (our daughter was interested only in primary school). The child gives school subjects only a small part of their day, and the rest of the time they are busy with the affairs of the family, or their own affairs here in the present.

And now what stops parents from taking children into a family education: “This is a big responsibility!”

Yes, it is true, the responsibility is great, and it fell on you at the time of your baby’s appearance. School creates the illusion that responsibility is not on the parents. But it is worth it for your children to do something out of the ordinary, and sometimes the same school will remind you who is in fact responsible for your child…

“I can not explain physics / chemistry / algebra to my child …” It’s not necessary, because there will always be those who can, right?

“And what if the mother works?” I suggest setting priorities in life consciously and independently.

The main thing is to look boldly at the present, to realise that responsibility for your child came to you with their birth, and to understand that family education does not end with the end of the textbook.

Galina Samokhina
Family Homestead “Sunny Stream”
FHS Dubrovo, Nizhny Novgorod region