The Importance of Mentors for Homeschoolers

Posted in Homeschooling on June 5, 2017 - by

A boy and his older role model

I was halfway through folding the basket of clean laundry when my son came in and, spying an item in the basket, grabbed it out. Not the black shirt again. Every time his black shirt got clean, he put it right back on. “What’s so amazing about that shirt?” I wondered, so I asked him.

Ernesto always wears black and I want to be just like him when I grow up.

The friend he spoke of was a great deal older than my son and was a very good role model for him. He spent time with the kids and set a good example for them. As I thought about him, and the many other good role models that my children have, I was truly thankful.

Surrounded by Love

I have always tried to teach my kids to be themselves, think for themselves, and not follow the crowd. I also try to make sure that there are good examples to look up to because kids WILL find someone that they want to be like.

They need people of honor and integrity to pave the way for them and show them how to treat others. If you don’t give them someone, they will find someone themselves. When left to themselves, kids don’t always make the best choices for role models.

I am fortunate to have a lot of extended family members that care about my kids and want to spend positive time with them. This is a great blessing. If you have family willing to invest in your children, and genuinely care about their well-being, cherish them. This is a rare gift.

There are lots of people who don’t have this privilege. They come from broken families and the people who they should be able to trust around their children don’t always set a good example for them. These people must forgive their families and trust that there are good people out there who do care. There are people who are willing to invest in your children’s lives.

Even one person can make an impact on your child; for good or bad. This is why I feel so strongly about mentors.

As homeschoolers, it is possible to shelter our children from much of the negative environment that they might otherwise be exposed to, but this also means that we must be more purposeful about making sure that our kids have others around to spend time with and relate to.

They need to be around people of all ages. There is a huge concern about homeschool kids spending time with people their own age. These people are concerned with the wrong thing. Age does not matter, character does.

My kids spend time with people of all ages and they often relate to and look up to someone far older or younger than themselves. They are loved and appreciated for who they are and, as a result, have learned to love and appreciate others, regardless of age.

Kids understand what we, as adults, don’t always. They don’t see people from the outside. No, they are only taught to do this later by us. They see people’s hearts and their intentions.

What Does a Mentor Look Like?

A skateboard

My son likes to skateboard. He loves trying to learn new tricks and ways of improving what he does. He enjoys practicing his new tricks with the other kids his own age, but he especially likes to hang out with my older brother who also likes teaching him. His uncle uses this time to help him learn valuable lessons about life.

To my brother, this time is spent learning about life, but to my son, it just looks like fun. My brother understands that my son looks up to him and he takes the job seriously. If my son is having a problem and gets frustrated, my brother will tell him that’s not the way to handle it.

He expects respect and gives it and treats their time together as a privilege that my son has rightfully earned, and so my son views it this way also. My son values the time spent together and sees it for what it is, a privilege that he has earned because he chose to respect and to enjoy my brother.

This is the type of lesson is not teachable through a homeschool curriculum or from hanging out with kids your own age. It simply must be lived.

The Unwritten Curriculum

Having mentors is a very important and valuable part of the homeschool experience; one that I have never taken lightly.

Mentors are actually a part of our “unwritten” curriculum for the year. There are many facets to the homeschool experience that never do get written in our school records. Our children can receive a whole being education. This includes not only aspects of the typical education, (Math, Art, Science, etc…) but things of the heart and character, as well. Our children have some privileges that public school children do not have.

We are able to create a healthy, learning environment for them almost all of the time. They learn from life, not just school. All kids learn from life, but if we are purposeful, we can set things up for our children that allow them only the best life experiences. They can live and learn from their mistakes without shame and they can see others do the same.

School time and book learning just touch the surface of what is available to our kids to learn about life. This may take some effort on our part, especially if your child currently has no one to look up to that sets a good example and cares for your child.

Don't lose faith. People do care and someone will cross your path. Mentors can be a valuable asset in helping your child achieve homeschool success. You may want to add them to your checklist of curriculum this year.

Homeschool Mom

About Jill Cain

Hi, my name is Jill. I am a homeschool mom of six amazing kiddos ages 3-21. I hope that sharing my experiences and keeping things real helps to light the paths of others along the way.

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