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Special Communication Tips For Homeschooling

Aug 17, 2007
Good homeschooling requires good, solid communication with your child. As a parent, the burden of good communication and a role model for it lies squarely on your shoulders. Communicating with your child involves more than the words and phrases you use. What you are saying will be more effective if you:

1. I'm sorry.
Parents need to acknowledge their own mistakes and express regret whenever they cause their child unhappiness or distress. "I'm sorry I got soap in your eyes," or "I'm sorry I wasn't listening; tell me again," or "I'm sorry I can't read any more stories to you; I have to make a phone call now." By expressing your sincere regret, you are showing your child that you are being considerate of her feelings and providing her with a model of good behavior as well.

2. No.
"No, don't do that; you might hurt someone," or "No, we don't behave that way," or "No, we don't have enough money to buy that." When parents have a hard time saying 'no' to their children, these children may grow up without knowing how to respond to limits. Parents can provide children with some freedom of choice (for instance, let your child pick out his own outfit, or let him decide what he'd like to eat for lunch), but be prepared to set boundaries.

3. That's enough.
"That's enough TV," or candy, or roughhousing, or arguing. This phrase sets limits and paves the way for your child to develop a sense of self-control. Sometimes a "time-out" period is necessary if your limits have been reached and your child isn't responding to the verbal message you are trying to send.

4. How do you suppose she feels?
Asking this question provides an opportunity for your child to consider the effects of her actions on another person, and it gives her the chance to develop empathy toward others. When you and your child read stories or watch TV shows together, look for opportunities to talk about the feelings of others.

5. This isn't working. Can you think of another way?
Considering alternative ways of behaving in difficult situations is one of the steps of problem solving, an important skill that is useful throughout life. Your response to problems that arise in daily life, at home, or at work provides a model of behavior for your child.

6. How to Say It
Communicating with your child involves more than the words and phrases you use. What you are saying will be more effective if you:

Try to speak to your child in a pleasant tone of voice, instead of an angry one.

Speak in a light conversational tone instead of yelling. If you do end up yelling, apologize to your child.

Take the time to really communicate with your child, instead of rushing through a conversation.

Devote your full attention to your child when she is talking to you, and try not to let your mind wander.

Use facial expressions that correspond to the words you're speaking and the emotions you're feeling.

Let your love and respect for your child guide your words and actions.

Let the responsibility of being a parent be reflected in your willingness to take control when it's necessary.

Smile more often than you frown.

Homeschooling gives parents a unique opportunity with their children in many ways. To make the most out of a homeschooling experience, regardless of philosophy or curriculum, good parent to child communication is a must.

While good parent communications skills are learned, here are some easy to follow tips and phrases for any great homeschool experience. You can use these everyday phrases to instill confidence, self-respect, and thoughtfulness in your children.
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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