Being a homeschool parent is difficult. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that we are around our kids 24/7. We don't send them off to school, where another adult gets to do the disciplining for 6-8 hours out of the day. We don't get that break. Being around our kids all the time is a sacrifice. It takes patience, dedication, and love. Not that parents who send their kids to school don't have these qualities. Homeschool parents just get to practice them ALL THE TIME! And I don't want to start a riot with homeschool vs. non-homeschool; I'm just trying to state the facts.
One of the main responses that I get from others in regards to my homeschooling is this..."I could never do that. My kids wouldn't listen to me." OR "I would never be able to get my kids to do their work." This sounds like a BIG excuse. But more so, it sounds like a MAJOR discipline problem. Your kids don't listen to you?? Your kids won't do what they are told?? Yup...it's a parenting and discipline problem. If your kids don't listen to you or do what you tell them...how are they going to listen to another adult?? Granted, many of these responses are said to hide what they are really thinking..."Me homeschool? No Way!! I need my time away from my kids!" And that's OK! Everyone's family is different!! I don't look down on those who send their kids to school, just like I don't want others to look down on me for homeschooling.
Now back to the nitty gritty. Discipline and virtues.
I have been having a little problem lately with establishing guidelines for how to behave. Discipline is not that big of problem around here. I have expectations and there are consequences to not meeting those expectations. I actually DEMAND certain behavior and hold high standards. Why shouldn't I expect the BEST from my children??
But there are certain behaviors that are difficult to teach. Sure, I can teach my 3 year old not to climb on the furniture...but how do I teach him to be charitable? How do I teach Marco and Isabella faithfulness? These are all virtues given to us by God. These virtues make up our character and are formed along with our morals. It is difficult to learn these behaviors. Even I have problems showing some of these virtues.
So I have devised a plan to teach my kids the following virtues.
Of course, I know that just reading about being virtuous is not enough. I need to teach by holding them responsible for their actions, while rewarding them for displaying good judgment and behavior. I need to teach them by setting an example and by following the rules consistently...not just some of the time. I'm hoping that by the end of it all, I will have instilled a little bit of Godly behavior in my kids and in myself as a parent.
O most loving Jesus, Who by Thy sublime and beautiful virtues of humility, obedience, poverty, modesty, charity, patience and gentleness, and by the example of Thy domestic life, didst bless with peace and happiness the family Thou didst choose on earth, in Thy clemency look down upon this household, humbly prostrate before Thee and imploring Thy mercy. Remember that this family belongs to Thee; for to Thee we have in a special way dedicated and devoted ourselves. Look upon us in Thy loving kindness; preserve us from danger; give us help in time of need, and grant us the grace to persevere to the end in the imitation of Thy Holy Family; that having revered Thee and loved Thee faithfully on earth, we may bless and praise Thee eternally in heaven.
O Mary, most sweet Mother, to thy intercession we have recourse, knowing that thy Divine Son will hear thy prayers.
And do thou, O glorious Patriarch, St. Joseph, assist us by thy powerful mediation, and offer, by the hands of Mary, our prayers to Jesus. Amen.