As this teaching year draws to a close and we begin to make new goals and plans for the year to come, here is a possible thought to consider: Many of us have come to believe, based on observation and success, that tutorial education is indeed the most efficient and by far the most interesting, exciting way to teach. With this teaching system we are able to customize studies for each of our children and help them to explore their world in the directions that they individually enjoy the most. Indeed, the lesson plans in Five in a Row were written to make this type of education readily available to homeschool teachers.

Yet, there are usually two sides to every good goal and while we take the time to help our children develop into unique individuals, we want to make sure that they also realize the importance of reaching out to others. Whether the others are members of their family or their neighborhood or church community, learning to help, give and to sometimes sacrifice private desires for others is an important part of a good education.

shutterstock_117988747Can you begin to see what an interesting job is cut out for us?  As homeschool parents we are to encourage our children to be themselves, individuals who can think and reason and come up with good solutions to problems. We try to focus on each of them as an incredibly important entity. But, at the same time we are encouraging them to love their neighbor, reach out when needed and sometimes be willing to not insist on their own way if they see it will be for the common good.

Does it seem to you that life around us is becoming rather isolated? Drivers mad on the road seem to forget that we must all get there together! All some drivers care about, in their rage, is themselves. Self-gratification permeates all of our society and seems to be drawing us further and further apart from each other. People are often intent on their own individual pursuits and pleasures with little or no sense or care that there are other people all around them with which to interact. Perhaps our goal as homeschool parents is really to help our children find their unique selves and be the best they can be so that they can have something real to share–so they can give themselves away.

Many of the Social Studies: Relationships lessons and the Bible Character lessons in Five in a Row begin to point out to children how people tend to relate to one another, and gently suggest better ways to relate with those around them. Yet, there are so many daily occasions for you as parents, to lead and guide your children into the knowledge that they are indeed special but that they will certainly be the happiest if they treat others as special, too. We have an amazing double focused task set before us…helping our children attain individual identities, yet at the same time to grow closer to others. We have the privilege of guarding our children from becoming egocentrically isolated, while growing toward becoming mature individuals who have not lost sight of their families or their communities.

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