How to Have
Better Homeschool Days
(& a Better Family Life) By
'Tuning' Your Kids (& Yourself)
My husband is 42.
He started learning the violin after we bought one
on a whim in a little violin shop in Prague, Czech Republic.
Do you know how often a violin has to be tuned?
Every time you play or practice.
A piano can be tuned once a year or so.
A guitar, every few days.
But a violin has to be tuned every single time you use it.
In many ways, a violin is just like our family life and our homeschool day -- not to mention our kids and ourselves.
We have to be 'tuned' every day.
Motivation, emotions, and the desire to act and pursue our aims are like eating.
Yesterday's meals (or motivation, desires, and positive emotions) are insufficient for today's needs.
They have to be rekindled on a daily basis.
Because if you or your kids wake up in a funk (which happens, right?)
It's easy to get stuck there all day -- unless you intentionally 'tune your instrument'.
We might get tempted to think (like my husband did about his violin)...
"This is dumb!
Why do I have to tune my instrument every time?
Why can't it just stay in tune?"
When you study human psychology and personal development, you learn that --
--this is simply how we work as human instruments.
And until we learn and adjust our actions accordingly, we'll keep playing 'out of tune' instruments...
...all the while wondering why family life and homeschooling are so unpleasant.
(You can watch how this directly ties into motivation at 8:42, and specifics for 'tuning' at 9:37).
This is truly one of the MOST important skills you can teach your children and students...
How to 'tune' their instrument.
Because what good is the 'best education' in the world if your children have a broken mindset?
What good are they if they know all the information in the world, but are miserable, anxious, or depressed?
Or they have all the skills necessary to change the world, but have no motivation?
Who cares what you CAN do if you never feel like doing it?
All because their focus was on 'school' and 'assignments' and they never learned how to 'tune' themselves on a daily basis.
One of the MOST important things you can do with your home education is to learn how to start your days right.
See yourself as an instrument, and 'tune' yourself every morning.
And when your 'little instruments' wake up, teach them to 'tune' themselves (even if those 'little ones' are now teenagers... it's not too late).
Our most important job as a parent and education mentor is to teach our children the skills they need to live a happy and fulfilled life.
When you do that, you set them on a path that leads to the destinations you REALLY want for them -- which ultimately includes WAY more than grades, curriculum, tests, or diplomas.
When You've Chosen Your Path, You've Chosen Your Destination... Aka How to Avoid Train Wrecks and Other Nasty Things
Why does 'tuning your instrument' each day matter so much?
Because how you live each day is how you live your life.
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing" -- Annie Dillard
Each day is establishing habits -- good or bad -- of living.
Whatever habits our children establish on a daily basis are setting them on a path that leads to a specific destination.
After working with youth and parents for 22+ years, my husband has seen lots of 'train wrecks'...
Phone calls or emails from distraught parents whose teen has done something drastic or devastating.
Without fail, these are the results of (inadvertently) choosing the wrong paths (through small daily actions)...
...the long-term result of not 'tuning their instruments'.
And it's not their fault. They were never taught how.
Habits (warning signs) of distress, overwhelm, and anxiety lead to the 'train wrecks' of depression, panic attacks, and suicide.
Habits of distraction, diversion, and amusement (bread and circuses)...
...lead to the train wrecks of addiction, chronic irresponsibility, and failure to launch.
Most parents (especially, but not only homeschoolers) are often so focused on their child's academics and curriculum...
...the things many schools and parents mistakenly worry about most...
That they miss the warning signs of the impending train wrecks.
They wrongly believe that as long as assignments are turned in...
...and grades are good...
...and tests are passed...
...and they're on track to graduate...
Then all is well.
But this is a HUGE mistake.
HOW your child learns MATTERS...
Do they love it or hate it?
Are they engaged or apathetic?
Are the self-motivated or have to be nagged & reminded?
Are the improving their skills and developing mastery?
Do they pursue their passions or interests? Or are too busy 'doing schoolwork' for things that matter to them?
Do they understand WHY they are learning what they're learning?
Does it have relevance and context in their personal life?