Abc’s of Homeschooling ~ Lead By Example

I’ve been convicted lately, that I haven’t been leading by example.

I don’t know why not..I ask my girls to do it all the time!

Princess, you’re the oldest, I need you to set a good example, please.

Drama Queen, you need to set a good example for your little brother.

If you complain about doing school (or chores), your brother/sister is going to start complaining too.

If you want your siblings to stop yelling at you, you need to set a good example and stop yelling at them.

Set  a good example! Lead by example!

When my son was two we showed his eight year old sister that if she refused to eat something on her dinner plate and called it yucky, within minutes the two year old would be refusing to eat whatever item she’d rejected. If, on the other hand, she declared some questionable food to be “delicious!” and ate a bite (even if it seemed forced and over-acted to us parents) her brother would start chowing down on it.

Isn’t it amazing the affect brothers and sisters can have on each other? And even moreso us parents. One of the things I’ve learned (because parents learn too) is that things go better around here when I’m setting a good example. HUH. IMAGINE THAT.

That means being patient and kind, not raising my voice, not being short-tempered, using my manners. It means not acting like school is a chore, and not acting like chores are evil. Attitude is contagious and children learn by example (as we’ve already discussed.) So if I want my children to love learning, then it goes without saying that I need to love learning and love teaching them, too. Because if I act like I can’t wait to get it over with then guess how my kids are going to feel?

I wanted to write this post about the love of learning, but I couldn’t because we’re not really there yet. My kids have moments they love and favorite subjects. At the beginning of the school year we were doing really well with fun projects and crafts to connect with the material we’d covered. By the end of the school year, I’d let things become drab and “let’s just get this done” was my motto.

Well let me just say: THAT STINKS.

That is not the kind of teacher I want to be. That is not the kind of school day I want to have.

I really want my children to love to learn, to be curious, to not want to stop at “just good enough” or just barely done.” I want their brains to be insatiable! So I have to give them that, I have to live it first.

  • I need to be curious, learning, loving it!
  • I need to be ready to get a job done, and do it well.
  • I need to answer their questions and not shoo them away because I’m busy!
  • I need to let loose on the control strings a bit and let them experiment and get creative just because they’re curious.

I recently learned a Charlotte Mason quote (I just downloaded her book Home Education to my Kindle) that pretty much sums it all up for me.

“What is worth beginning is worth finishing, and what is worth doing is worth doing well.” (Vol. 4, pt. II, p. 172)

This sums up the attitude that I want to have toward homeschooling. That kind of attitude is something I really want for my children. And I want them to set that kind of example for others. There’s just one catch…

I have to set that example first.


This post is a part of the ABCs of Homeschooling series hosted by Dawn @ 5 Kids and a Dog. You can view my previous posts here:

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July 1, 2011 12:31 am

This is such a hard concept for us parents. We were raised with the “do as I say, not as I do” phrase, and it has carried over to our lives. It is a hard habit to break but certainly a necessary one to break. I’m right there with you!

July 1, 2011 12:46 am

I was just talking about this with hubby. Our little one is having such a hard time with attitude and kindness and other things. No matter what I do to try to change that, nothing works. I told hubby we need to work on leading by example in kindness, helpfulness and happiness. Those characteristics in us would go a long way as an example for her. It’s so hard when we’re set in our ways but God can change us, if we let him. I’m like you and all happy peppy with extra activities at the beginning of the year.… Read more »

July 6, 2011 9:29 am

So true. I am right there with you. It starts with us and we need to work hard on us to show them the example.

July 8, 2011 1:16 pm
Reply to  Joelle

And it IS hard work! But I AM working on it. I think it’s getting easier as I keep trying, and I’ve definitely noticed a difference since we’ve been doing our “Morning Basket” routine!

July 10, 2011 10:27 pm

Okay, get off my toes already!! Cause it really hurts!! 😀

Oh girl, this was painful to read, because it is true in my own life and I haven’t even started homeschool yet. I need to become a good example for my son and stop just wishin the light bulb would come on for him out of the blue. I have to be the one to turn it on.

Thanks Girl,

July 10, 2011 11:30 pm
Reply to  Groovewoman

Oops! I must have accidentally stepped on yours while tripping over mine. =p

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