Homeschooling our children, gives us the advantage of being their primary influence. Because they are with us most of the day, every day, we are a living, breathing example. They will see that I’m not only their mother; I am a human being with emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. When my family was small in number and I had an emotion other than happy or even-tempered, I would hide from my children until I was done working it out. However, the more children I had, the harder it was to hide. So instead of hiding…I started to live out loud. Of course I use discretion, but if something has made me feel upset, angry, or hurt, it’s okay for them to see me work it out. It’s not only okay, it’s important! After all, we are role models. As a role model we take on the responsibility of being watched and that means being aware and living out our best as godly mothers. However, we are also not immune to stress of money, being hurt in a relationship, or being angry with our spouse, or our children. Living out loud is a great way for them to learn how you handle different emotions, and when you handle it wrong, they can see God’s grace and forgiveness when you make it right. Children have a way of seeing right through to your heart and will tell or show you if you have hurt them, if they feel your heart is not in the right place, or if they feel wronged. They may not say it with such sophistication, but if mutual respect is allowed to be developed between you and your child, they will tell you the way they know how. And this will be enriching their life and teaching them how to be a part of real life relationships. They can learn how to handle hurts, anger and other emotions, that occur in relationships with the security of your unconditional love. Living out loud enables your children to learn how to have healthy relationships… by living it.
Another small thing I know helps our family in a big way is not living rushed or hurried. We try not to be on a tight schedule, and this makes caring for our emotions that much easier, including my own. Since being an example and an imperfect human being, I don’t want to set myself up for failure, since I’m watched 24/7. Children and busy schedules don’t mesh. There are always going to be errands and certain things that need to be done, so take the extra stuff off your plate because calm lives are unhurried.
Living out loud also means that I want my children to be able to see me use my talents and strengths, and that includes doing what I enjoy and want to learn each day. Usually this makes my children curious and they all start to come around and emulate me. They’ll get out a book if I’m reading, yarn if I’m crocheting (even my boys), and a pencil when I’m drawing. They get to see me do something I enjoy each day for myself.
Having this awesome responsibility to our children by living out loud can help us better ourselves as mothers and as persons. Giving to the needy, reaching out to a neighbor who is hurting, baking up delicious dishes for a new mother, and being careful not to judge others or gossip, are all wonderful examples of how we can live out loud for our children and for God.
When learning is done through living, it’s disguised. Children just know that when they are curious, they can find out, on their own or with help, and enjoy the process. When their life is unstructured in terms of “schooling” they are embracing learning throughout their day and I as well! Throughout our day we learn, laugh and play, and do it together! Since time is on our side, endless questions have time to be answered like, “Did George Washington really chop down a cherry tree?” That kind of question always leads into further exploration to find out more about our first president in full detail. Another question that has been asked is, “Where is Italy?” Since being Italian, this one was fun and led into finding out more about my ancestry, cook and eat Italian for the full day, and study all of Europe! The fun part was that we were spontaneous and it was entirely on their timing. By following their interests they retain amazing facts, naturally, without use of traditional quizzes and memorization.
By living out loud, I use life in all it has to offer for our learning. Through its ups and downs, through our relationships, through God’s grace and love, and through the everyday learning experiences that only life can give, we learn every day, all day, without a time to start learning or to stop; they know that learning has no end. The slower pace life we live enables us to put one hundred, percent toward anything we put our minds to, and living out loud lets my children understand how to build loving relationships and how to work through different emotions. When we live with mutual respect with our children, they will learn that we are not perfect, that we are fully human, just as they are, and that we are equipped with all of their same emotions and most importantly, that we were all created by God in His image. This creates a dynamic that let’s our children develop a relational bond with us that is made up of respect, and with that trust and respect from our children, they will be open to hear what we want to teach, and that is how we will be our most influential. When this happens, we will be used by God to share, teach, and inspire our children.
Become a living, breathing example by…living out loud.
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