We know that kids learn by observing us. As parents one of the best things we can do is to practice what we preach. Want your kids to be polite, then be polite yourself. Want them to learn about the importance of gratitude, be grateful. Want them to love reading, then read.

The Hypocrite Meter

Kids are a lot more intelligent than we give them credit for and their hypocrite meter is spot on. When you tell yours kids how important poetry is, yet they have never seen you read a poem; the message is clear: ‘it’s not that important’. They see that it’s not important in your life so why should it be in theirs? 

As a homeschool mom I realized early on that it’s hard, if not impossible, to teach something that I’m not interested in. For me, classical music and art history were both challenges because while I appreciated both, I didn’t have a love for them (mostly because I had never really tried). The first time my kids heard me playing classical music was the first day I tried to incorporate it into our homeschool mornings. I was pretty proud of myself for incorporating it, but ha, the joke was on me. The moment I turned it on I think I actually saw blinking red lights and sirens going off on their hypocrite meters. That was pretty much the end of that. I realized that if I wanted to instill an appreciation for classical music I had to do that hard work; learn to enjoy it myself and I had to table it until I did. (I’ve done some work and we are trying it again tomorrow, fingers crossed).

So much of being a good parent is demonstrating growth in ourselves. Education doesn’t stop when we finish high school or college. Showing, not telling, our kids this is one of the best gifts we can give them. If we want them to have a life-long love of learning, then we better show them that we do. 

Active Learning Project

My challenge is to always have an active learning project going on. At busier times that may be something simple and at others a bit more involved. Right now, that’s simply reading the classic novel, Jane Eyre, which I know may not seem like much as many people read it when they were younger. But for me it's a big deal. While my kids do see me reading a lot, they are educational books on education or personal growth or healthy living. They have never seen me reading a novel. Mostly because I’ve never had any interest in reading them. School pretty much killed my love of reading…reading only to write lengthy papers analyzing the text to death or taking a test simply to check if I have actual read the book. 

Why do schools do this? Ok, that's a whole other topic, but at Acton Academy, as with my homeschool, we take a different path. It really wasn’t until a few years ago when I realized I did actually really enjoy reading (when there were no tests to be taken or analysis to be done, aside from my own reflections). So right now my active learning project is simply to enjoy reading one of the great classic novels. Granted, it’s a long book and may take me the next year to finish, as I do have this other little learning project going on…learning how to open a new school 😉 But slow or not, I’m enjoying it and demonstrating that to my kids.

Mentors, Community, and Family

Of course, it’s impossible to love and appreciate everything, even when you do the hard work and give it your all. This is where mentors and apprenticeships come in. Get help from the community around you, reach out to the artist, pilot, writer, and boat builder who are passionate about their crafts and share your passions alike. I have said it so many times, but I do believe it takes a village to raise a child. Let’s be that for each other. Just don’t forget it starts at home.

At Acton we believe it is part of our responsibility to support the family in a way that they can strengthen their relationships. In today’s society there is little support for family, and that’s both sad and hard, as everything stems from the family first. A child’s learning doesn’t end when they leave school, it extends to (or should I say starts with) their family life and the community around them. So, at Acton we believe it is a part of our job to make that the best it can be. When you join Acton Academy you are not simply joining a school, you are joining a supportive community that wants not only amazing things for your child, but amazing things for your family as a whole.

"The school, not the home, is the substitute, and it's highest function is to compliment the family."

- Raymond & Dorothy Moore, author of "Home Grown Kids" (and many other books)

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