When our children were little, we had the freedom to flit between interests at will. One month might find us learning ballet, another we would be watercoloring. As our children have advanced into higher levels of learning, we’ve needed to buckle down and choose classes which last an entire year. Mom thinks Latin might be an essential life skill; Pop wants the children to take piano. During all this decision-making, one has to wonder, how elected are electives for our big kids?
I remember back to when I was in high school. Electives were not chosen by the parents, we students chose our classes. You could select from a range of skills: foreign language, drama, music, art, sports, mechanics, woodshop and more. A councilor was assigned to guide you into which choice might be best, but the decision was up to us. Should homeschooled children be given the same responsibility?
On one hand, I think it is fair to say we know a little more than our children. We have more work experience, life experience, and learning experience. We should be guiding them into which electives they might take. Part of our job, both as parents and home educators, is to lay a strong foundation and teach them to make wise choices.
On the other hand, forced electives quite possibly might kill my children’s desire to learn. Yes, foreign language is an asset. Every university in the US is telling them they need it and benefit from it. But what if they would rather take Russian instead of that Spanish class mom thinks would be more beneficial? What if they want to take coding instead of a spoken language? Hey, it counts!
Instead of forcing electives on my big kids, perhaps I need a new perspective. Together we should be praying over which classes the Lord desires them to take. As a team, we weigh the benefits of each course and the commitment needed. Then, my children need to take responsibility and make a decision.
An important life skill our big kids need to learn is decision-making. This extends beyond which type of ice cream they will eat. They need to be taking part in tough, consequential life choices which affect their future.
As my children continue to grow, I pray they would respect my opinion and hear my advice. I want what is best for them, and desire to help them succeed in life. However, as my littles grow, my responsibility needs to decrease as theirs becomes greater. When they are given a portion of that responsibility, they gain independence, confidence, and wisdom. They are learning to be adults.
“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,”
~ Proverbs 1:5
Your Turn!: Do your children choose their electives?