Listening to Your Children’s Dreams

No, I’m not talking about eavesdropping while your kids mumble in their sleep.  (Although that can be quite entertaining.)  I’m talking about listening to the hopes and goals of you child.

Now, every good parent already does this, whether or not they homeschool.  But homeschool parents are in a very special position — because they can empower that child with time, energy, and encouragement moreso than families who are locked into a rigorous public school schedule.  It’s no coincidence that so many Olympic athletes and muscial prodigies have been homeschooled.

Sometimes we parents ask that famous question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  And sometimes, right smack in the middle of doing the dishes or licking an ice cream cone, the child announces, “I want to be a doctor” or “I’m going to be the greatest piano player in the world” or my personal favorite, “I’m going to build underwater houses.”

As a homeschool parent, I
listen to my girls as they daydream about their hopes for the future.  They ask questions, and together with books, off-hand experiences, and the internet we discuss potential answers.  Their dreams, whether fleeting or persistent, inspire them to keep on learning.

Right now, my 9-year-old has her mind set on becoming a farmer.  So, we have been discussing:

  • History: Farming techniques in Colonial America
  • Math / Economics: How much does it cost to run a farm?  What much profit does an average farmer make?  What are the expenses of raising animals?
  • Biology: How do farmers make the most of their soil to grow crops?
  • Ethics: What moral responsibilities do farmers have to their livestock?
  • Writing / Spelling: Write paragraphs about an ideal farm.  Practice spelling using farm animal words.

Now, it’s quite likely that next week, my daughter will trade her farmer dreams in for an imaginary career as a scuba diving instructor.  Then, we’ll learn about oceanography and the history of sea exploration.  But for now, farming is her passion, and I want to foster her love of learning.  So, for as long as she wants to chase her dream, I want her to know that the possibilities are limitless.