Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mothering Philosophy

I was reading about a homeschooling writing curriculum and encountered the writer's mission statement about parenting. It occurs to me that I write, revise, consider, and reflect on my "Teaching Philosophy" at least annually. But, I have never put together a statement of my goals, objectives, methodology, and philosophy of parenting. It that important? I find revisiting my teaching philosophy helps me re-focus my efforts and teach in accordance with my stated goals.

Maybe I should, from time-to-time, revisit my parenting philosophy to re-center myself as a parent?

Here is my first second run... it will change... again .

My primary goal in parenting is to produce contributing members of society. To meet this goal, the children need to have a strong work ethic, be honest, be compassionate to others and their environment, demonstrate good decision-making and critical thinking skills, have rich intellectual lives, develop positive social skills, and maintain healthy lifestyles.

We meet these goals by both modeling good behavior and by giving them opportunities to develop the habits and skills to make wise choices and develop broad interests.  We are loving parents and try to show our love both outwardly and in our words and actions.  We provide a nurturing environment, but not at the cost of expecting the children to behave in a caring and compassionate manner toward others and toward their environment.  Respecting other people and the natural environment comes with experiencing both and learning to reflect on others' perceptions of the world around them.  Exposure to different habitats, organisms, environments, and cultures and reflections on these is part of our conscious experience.

Both of us work outside of the home and regularly share facets of how we strive for excellence in our work and in completing work around the home. We expect them to participate in home maintenance in age-appropriate ways and expect them to contribute, where possible, to our home environment. We communicate with one another respectfully and we share tasks and responsibilities. We are honest with one another and act as a team in our choices, expenses, and rewards. 

Both of us are educated and continue to demonstrate our love of learning both in our professional disciplines and in a broad range of other areas as exemplified by our reading choices, asking questions of others, visiting museums and other cultural events. The children are encouraged to participate at age-appropriate events and levels in all disciplines. We encourage reading, model reading of fiction, non-fiction, and news-media and include reading aloud with the children as a part of our daily lives. We also pursue intellectual growth and development in engineering (for example, our participation in Lego League), the arts, and the humanities.

We try to give them age-appropriate opportunities to make their own choices and carry responsibilities. These include encouragint them to own and handle tools, cook, to participate in water sports and outdoor activities independently, solo exploration, and time alone to pursue their interests. In this way, they can develop problem-solving abilities and learn when to seek help and how to do so.

We model healthy choices in our day-to-day lives. We eat conscious of the impact our choices have on our bodies and our environment. We are active in organized sports, fitness activities, and outdoor exploration. We maintain regular schedules for sleep. We maintain a household that both leaves room for ongoing exploration and examination of living things (pets and so on), as well as is relatively tidy and organized.


Just in reading this first try - I reflect on things that I do that do not reflect my philosophy as stated (e.g. I shout - sometimes a lot). As expected, deliberately examining my parenting philosophy suggests areas where I wish to improve how I exemplify what I wish to see in them.

Truthfully, though, I am in the classroom for 12 hours a week - all hours for which I am caffeinated and "on". My parenting time isn't always the "best of the best". It will be much harder to live this all of the time than it is to meet my goals in the classroom. My kids get both my best (most "on", most loving, most patient, most interested)... but, they also get my worst (most overtired, most overwrought, most hurried). I get their best and worst as well.

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