ConGRADulations :: Life lessons from home and school

by KristinMallon on May 29, 2013

June.  I love it.  Not just because of the promise it brings of summer, but because ‘tis the season for graduations. Graduation represents the peak in the life of the student. It’s not for everyone and not something that comes easily. There are usually many sleepless nights, early mornings, miles traveled, essays, reviews and exams. Graduation is the culmination. It says to the world: “I’ve made it. I’ve done it. I’ve accomplished.”

It’s such a momentous time in a graduate’s life. The fervor. The passion. It’s infectious and I get a renewed sense of what it was like when I first graduated and started my own career. So, you see, I love June!  And, I love the infectiousness of the graduates in my life.

As parents, we want to send our kids out into the world equipped to handle it. Handle the world. Handle the stress, the joy, the peace, the grace. We stress, stretch, and maneuver to ease their paths and come to their aid. We also step back and watch as they take flight. A lot of what they learn comes from their failures and frustrations as much as the successes. It comes from waiting, watching and learning patience. It comes from making mistakes and engineering a new course.

A lot of what children become is rooted in the family tree. One of the most important places children are educated, aside from school, is at home. Home, the heath of life, is a school, of sorts. In this school, the family, Godparents, siblings, and grandparents make the best teachers. My husband and I walked the line on homeschooling for our three kids for a while. Both of us on either sides. I think we both appreciated what was to be learned in the home, but also what could be learned in the school. And so, we sent our kids to traditional school.

So the question became: Is traditional schooling a supplement to what we would be teaching our kids in the home? Or, was the teaching we did in the home a supplement to traditional school. The answer is possible: Neither and Both? Either way, I like that they have traditional school, but as an advocate for homeschooling, I felt the need to “supplement” their institutional education with home lessons.

As a result, our supplementation includes a bit of our own design. On holidays, we take our kids on “field trips” to the museum, aquariums, zoos, special parks or events. As teachers in the home, we “supplement,” their education with other elements that are important to us that include: engineering, movement, language, music, and God. I like this personalized-hybrid-education system. Maybe it’s best this way because we are able to encourage components to a well-rounded education that are important to us, without sacrificing what others may think is important. A family that places a lot of emphasis in the home on art, sports, or drama maybe wouldn’t like our family’s curriculum. They would choose to spend their home field trips at a sporting event or a play.

My kids’ teachers are amazing individuals and inspire me, but I have fantasized about what the ultimate home school would look like. In my uber-home-school curriculum (I would call the Mallon Method or something a little more hip like Sage Schooling), we’d have to continue the blend of home and traditional school that happens nowadays. The prerequisite for graduation would look like the traditional education curriculum and a include something things like this: 

  • How to hang a picture.
  • How to do laundry (wash & fold)
  • How to make a bed ? How to sew a button
  • How to change a tire
  • How to check the oil in a car
  • How to iron a shirt
  • How to cook eggs in more than one way
  • How to make coffee
  • How to use a meat thermometer
  • How to drive a manual car
  • How to write thank you notes
  • How to manage a budget
  • How to use Excel
  • How to wrap a present
  • How to swim the length of a pool
  • How to parallel park 

And, so on…

So hats off to you, parents and keepers of the home. Wow to the graduates of 2013, and wow to the supports of those graduates in the home who supplemented this fantastic education to make them the whole people that they were meant to be.


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