Homeschooling Moms Who Have Influenced Me-- Laurie Bluedorn

There is a lot I could write about Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, but suffice it to say that I just have a lot of respect for both of them. Years ago we heard them speak on classical education and were a little taken aback by their laid back approach to the early years of homeschooling. But the proof is in the pudding, folks, and what their children went on to study makes my paltry 13 years of public education look like child's play.

Often, however, we tend to have a starry-eyed view of those we've never met. If we finally do meet them, we find that they are human like us. Last spring on a whim, two friends and I were in Chicago during our annual get-together, and one of us said to the other two, "Wanna drive out to the Bluedorn's tomorrow? I'll call Laurie and see if we can come." She did, we did, and what a fun time it was.

I loved seeing their home, filled with the obvious signs of years of home education. Beautiful artwork rendered by their children lined the walls. Books, books, books, which of course prompted us to ask which were their favorites. Johanna showed us her latest painting, there on its easel in her bedroom. There were cookies to share, and afterwards, someone in that home had to wash the plates, just like in our homes. See? They're normal.

I asked Laurie to contribute something for my readers here, and this is what she sent. But don't cast it aside if you only have little ones. I think these are excellent things to keep in mind as our children are growing, particularly as we mother boys. They need us to respect them, and finding the balance between homeschooling/mothering and respecting them can be tricky.

I thought I would share with you a few of the things I've learned over the past several years. This is addressed to parents of adult children, but parents of young children could perhaps benefit, since, in no time at all, you will all be parents of adult children.

How to treat your adult children:

1. The majority of the time that you are talking with your adult child, you should be doing the listening, not the talking. Real and attentive listening. Respectful listening -- not appearing to be listening or thinking about what you need to be doing next or what you want to say next, but real listening.

2. Talk to your adult children in the same way which you would talk to any of your peers. Your body language, tone of voice, facial expressions, language, and level of respect should be the same as what you use with your peers.

3. There must be trust. The members of a family must trust each other. Without mutual trust there can be no family peace, order, fellowship, respect, or communion.

4. Address the concerns of your adult children in a timely manner. Don't continue to put off resolving issues or acting on matters, but have enough respect for your adult children to move forward, making decisions promptly on issues which are important to them. Don't be eternally saying, "Well, I'm praying about it."

5. Avoid exaggeration -- it undermines trust and respect. Exaggeration is a learned behavior and your children will most certainly adopt the behavior if they see it in you.

6. If children are exposed to a steady stream of negativity and criticism, leveled against them or against others, it will undermine their trust and confidence in you, and it will interfere with their ability to respect you. When the parent is negative and critical, his intended result is that the child will become more discerning and careful. But in actuality, the effect of steady negativity and criticism is usually the opposite -- it serves to pull down and inhibit growth, and causes the child to not take the parent seriously.

7. It is most likely that at some time in his life and in some area of his life, your adult child will disagree with your views on different issues, be it politics, nutrition, music, dress, courtship, or (gasp!!) theology. Have enough respect for your adult child to discuss these differences in the same way that you discuss differences with your peers.

Good stuff, isn't it? Come back tomorrow and enter to win some beautiful prizes that Laurie has graciously donated, just for Preschoolers and Peace!