Generation Cedar

I try to revisit my own ebook on relaxed homeschooling from time to time. (Funny how easy it is to forget one’s own advice.)

In Think Outside the Classroom, I tried to offer practical application to the relaxed method of homeschooling.

Even if you are not a relaxed homeschooler, any and all of these methods could be applied to enhance your process of home education.

Some are very simple, like the concept below in an excerpt from the book, but its very simplicity is what causes us to look right over it.


One of the most basic tools in a parent’s hands for teaching his children is conversation. One of the missing elements of a classroom setting is good dialog. It’s overlooked because it seems so simple, but keep my language analogy in mind.

Dialog, or conversation, is so vitally important to the educational process and to human existence itself. Tragically, the typical American is becoming less and less equipped in this area. The constant access to television, video games, computers and radio keeps us so distracted that we are losing the art of conversation (we can hardly even find a restaurant that doesn’t have a TV in each corner)! Worse yet, as our ability to verbally communicate diminishes, so does our power to defend our faith to the world around us.

As I talk to even my youngest children throughout the day, I try to engage them verbally and intellectually. When we go for a walk, whether I’m with my two-year old or my fourteen year old, I point out as many details about things we see as I can. For example, my two-year old naturally sees the bright red flower, so she stops to ooh and ahh over it. “Fower, mommy,” she says. “Yes, that’s a red clover…isn’t it pretty? I think the colors are brilliant, don’t you? Bees like red clover.” I may go on and on, using different words besides “brilliant”, so she hears a variety of the same-meaning words.

Silly? Think back to how we talk to a child who hasn’t yet learned to speak. We repeat things. And the more they hear them, the more they learn. Use some words that are above your child’s understanding…remember, all words used to be above his understanding! This is a real, living education.

After embracing the importance of conversation for some time, I recently heard Geoffrey Botkin, a father of five brilliant children who are having a huge impact on our culture through writing books and creating media products, say, ‘Most of our homeschooling was accomplished through conversation.’ “

From Think Outside the Classroom: A Relaxed Approach to Homeschooling

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6 Responses

  1. Agreed.

    Sometimes I don’t even realize how God is using me to shape their world and faith by conversation until we talk again and I see that they get it. It’s like they chew on it a while and it sinks in.

    Conversation is my favorite part of teaching. Thanks for the reminder:)

  2. This is also vital for parents whose children are not homeschooled. My mother and I always had extensive dialogue about what I was learning in school, and it gave me many of the benefits that I think homeschoolers get, even though I was educated in parochial and public schools. EVERY parent needs to be talking to their kids–a LOT!

  3. Thanks for the reminder, I needed it today! I get so busy doing my stuff (even if it is “good” – chores, etc.) I forget to simply talk with my children.

  4. Great reminder!

    I LOVE the idea of unschooling. However, I have come to the conclusion that it is a GIFT to unschool and be comfortable with it. I am just totally and completely not wired that way.

    The conversation factor is great. We just had a great conversation about Iraq and Iran and suicide Bombers. My son was enthralled. He hates writing, but was thrilled to write about what he learned about suicide bombers. Kind of morbid, but definitely relevant.

    There are sooo many things to talk about. And if you don’t know the answers….thank God for Wikipedia! 🙂

    Jess Pham (that’s our last name – get it…phamilyof6) in Peru

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