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Communication Is A Foundation Of Good Homeschooling

Aug 17, 2007
Good homeschooling starts with good parent to child communication skills. Regardless of the educational philosophy or the curriculum followed, the most effective educational tool is good, effective communication with your child.

The burden of good communication is definitely on the parents. Children will learn and absorb good skills when guided by the parent but more importantly, by using the parents as role models.

Kids will do as parents do so here are a few guidelines for good homeschool and family communication:

1. Make the Time.
In today's complex world, it's even more important to make sure you set aside time to talk. That doesn't mean you have to hold a formal meeting. Sometimes the best discussions take place while you're driving the car or puttering around the kitchen.

2. Listen to the Little Stuff.
Kids will talk to you if they know you're going to listen, whether they discuss heavy issues such as sex and drugs, or everyday things like schoolwork. If your kids know you're listening, they are more likely to trust you enough to talk about everything in their life.

3. Listen Between the Lines.
Because a lot of kids find it hard to talk to their parents about things that really matter, parents have to pay special attention to what their kids may be trying to say. It helps to pay particular attention to emotions, not just the emotion itself, but its intensity, too.

4. Ask their Opinion.
Few things please children (or anybody else) more than being asked their opinion. You don't have to ask about important issues all the time, either.

5. Don't Interrupt.
In a national survey, more than half the children said that when they talked, their parents often or sometimes didn't give them a chance to explain themselves. It's a good idea to give your children some extra time to explain their opinion or desires, even if you think you know what they're going to say.

Building a healthy relationship with your child begins with good communication choices you make each day. When you take the time to listen to your child, instead of brushing her off, you are building connections.

When you respond in a manner that validates her feelings instead of invalidating them, you are teaching her to be caring. When you help her to choose appropriate actions, you are helping her to be more competent.

What are some final things to keep in mind as a role model for effective and positive communication with your children? Connect instead of disconnect, assist instead of taking over, listen rather than lecture. Stop firmly rather than grabbing or jerking.

Help instead of abandon. Explain instead of force. State rather than shriek. Smile more, frown less. Think about your relationship in the long run.

Implementing just a few of these ideas can make a huge difference in your homeschool and family environment. Remember, you just have to start and start with a single step.
About the Author
Joyce Jackson is an educational expert and consultant in northern California. For her latest book and information see Homeschooling Easy.
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