Give Your Children a Foundation of Language and Literature

I have recently realized how important it is for children to have a strong foundation of language and literature in order to be successful in life for themselves and more importantly to be well educated, productive members of society. This is goes against the current trends of parents encouraging their children to master math, science, and technology so they can have good paying jobs as doctors or working for Microsoft. I recently read an article that discussed this phenomenon of parents not allowing children major in liberal arts. You can read the full article here, it’s in the Washington Post written by Steven Pearlstein; Pearlstein quotes Debra Humphreys regarding the phenomenon: ‘“I have heard from many different colleges that there is now a considerable — and disturbing — amount of parental pressure against the liberal arts,” reports Debra Humphreys, a senior vice president at the Association of American Colleges and Universities.’ Don’t get me wrong, I understand the struggle of paying a mountain of student debt and only being able to land a job where you didn’t even need a degree.

When I was in my 3rd year of my undergraduate for English Literature I was working at Safeway, where I had been able to advance to office manager and hiring manager. I was continually interviewing recent college graduates with a four year degree in English Literature, and they were here interviewing to be a cashier along with a few high school drop outs. This made me decide to change my major to Business Administration, without any influence from my parents, so I understand why parents are encouraging their children to not “waste their time with a Liberal Arts Degree.” However, I now know that I have been able to be successful in sales, business, and in my personal life more from my three years of studying liberal arts than from what I learned in my business classes. img_6116

In the mandatory psychology, sociology, and literature classes I was able to gain invaluable insight on how people from different walks of life respond to events differently, on what  motivates people, and how to see issues from another person’s perspective.  I developed interpersonal communication skills, public speaking experience, and critical thinking. I can see the implications that my choices have on my future and my children’s future based off the experiences I have read and studied in history. The knowledge and skills I learned studying for my liberal arts degree have helped me to develop lasting relationships with my peers, bosses, vendors, and customers and this has helped me to be successful both in my professional and personal life.

Recently I have observed an extreme lack of education in language, literature, and humanity. Due to this lack of ability to communicate with each other, as a society, we have become angry with each other. We are no longer learning about the importance of society, diversity, history, literature, and the arts. All of which I believe play an important role in bringing us together a society and as people. We are losing that connection. We are losing our ability to reason, think critically, empathize, and communicate. I know I don’t have a lot of influence over my peers, but I do have an incredible amount of influence on my children, and so do you. Give your children the gift of language. Give them the gift of literature, history, and the arts. Teach them to love books, to love to learn, and to love to understand others. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Dr. Seuss, “The more you read, the more you know, the more you learn, the more places you’ll go!” Build the foundation while they are young, and you’ll be amazed at all the places your kids will go.

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Homeschooling on the Go!

 

We don’t have a typical set up for homeschooling, so we have revised traditional school with what we call Homeschooling on the Go! The idea is to create a culture in our family where continually learning is just a part of every day life, you don’t sit down for school and learn for 5 or 6 hours and then turn your brain off; there is always something new and interesting to learn. We started this in our family partly out of necessity and partly because of how much of a difference it has made in our own lives.

For the first year and a half of our marriage, my husband and I were both in school full time and working. We would come home from work every night, make dinner, get our daughter ready for bed and then hit the books! We were so excited when we had finally finished our degrees and could live a “normal” life of just going to work and then coming home and not having to study. We went along like this for about a year, we found some shows we liked on Netflix that we would watch together or when it was nice outside we would go on a bike ride. After we had caught up on all the TV shows that were all the rage when we were in college that we didn’t have time to watch back then, we realized TV wasn’t all that fun and we missed studying! We missed learning and growing and having discussions about our homework! How I Met Your Mother is hilarious, but there’s not a lot to learn from that show, aside from learning that Neil Patrick Harris is hilarious!

We discussed getting our Master’s Degree, but to be honest, we already had a pile of student loan debt and we wouldn’t make that much more in our chosen fields with the higher degree, so we sought elsewhere. We downloaded audible (my husband drives a lot for his work so he could listen to books while he was driving) and we found some great personal improvement books. My favorite one to this day is Dale Carnegie’s  How to Win Friends and Influence People I would highly recommend it to anyone! We also listened and read books on health, body language, political and financial books, and one of our favorites, Spartan Up by Joe Desena. We also downloaded books to teach us new languages, which is probably the most fun activity we do together now, is to practice speaking in Spanish or Mandarin!

20151004_115146From this experience we realized the most important thing we could pass onto our children is the love of learning. Children are born with an innate desire to learn, I believe the most important thing we can do is to not kill their desire to learn. If we as parents are continually learning new things and show our kids how much we love to learn, they will likely follow suite.

This backstory brings me to my point of Homeschooling on the Go! We are very busy, we both work full time jobs, although we are lucky enough to have fairly flexible work schedules, and we spend a lot of time outdoors. Instead of having our children sit at a desk for a few hours every day and learn, we incorporate learning into our life. When we are jumping on the trampoline we count, sing the alphabet, count in Spanish, count be 2’s and count by 10’s. When we are driving up to some of our favorite camp grounds and hiking trails we practice spelling. My daughter calls it the spelling game, we will try to stump each other on how to spell a word.

When we are home we work on writing, reading and art. While I am cooking dinner my daughter will practice writing sentences and she will sit next to me and read to me while I’m folding laundry. Learning is just part of our every day life and because of that we never have to fight with the kids to do their homework, they just learn because it’s exciting and it’s fun. We are able to work homeschooling into our lives instead of working our lives around homeschooling and because of that we are able to pack some much more into every day!

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Photo Credits: RedCoyote LLC -Facebook: @RedCoyote208

Note: I do not receive any compensation or kick backs from any company or book that I recommend. They are just what I have found to be most helpful in life, and I hope you can find as much use out of them as I have!