Conscious Homeschooling

Conscious Homeschooling

I want to take this opportunity to welcome you to the Conscious Homeschooling Community!  We are a community of lifelong learners who support one another through the journey of conscious parenting practices and self-directed education. Welcome!  We are so happy that you are here!

My name is Erica Kesilman.  I am on a journey just like we all are to live a life full of joy, fulfillment and learning.  As a life long learner I continually work to uncover my true self and parent in a way that allows my children to do the same.  I am a passionate advocate and parent enthusiast of self directed education and conscious parenting.

I am the founder of Conscious Homeschooling, LLC.  

Our company takes families from being stuck in a cycle of disconnect and confusion to living in deep connection with their one another while creating an environment that is educationally rich and transformative. Our mission is to empower, inspire, and bring together a community of self-directed learners who live, parent, and educate consciously.

Is Conscious Homeschooling right for me?

If any of the statements below describe you and your children then our program will be right for you:

 

  • My children and I feel disconnected.
  • I know that there are problems in the parent-child relationship, but I am unable to identify exactly what they are and how to address them.
  • I am often triggered and I don’t know how to break the cycle.
  • I want to teach in a loving and empathetic way, but I am unsure how.
  • I don’t know if I should use a curriculum or if that is even needed.
  • What should I be teaching to help my children be well-educated and find their own success?
  • I have been yelling and that is not the parent that I was or want to be.
  • I believe that online learning is too much for my children and I don’t know how to find the right balance.
  • It is extremely difficult with a toddler or with multiple children who are all at different developmental levels.
  • I know that there is a better way to find our family rhythm but I need support.
  • I work full time. Can we do homeschool with two full time working parents?
  • How can I create an environment that is rich in numeracy and literacy? 
  • How do I know that my child is learning?
  • How do I help my child self-regulate and become more self aware?

What is Conscious Homeschooling?

To be conscious means to be aware. I truly believe that parenting and education begin with self awareness and self healing.  It is only through the reflection and awareness of ourselves, our past experiences, and acknowledging how mainstream society has conditioned us to meet certain expectations that we can begin to move toward consciousness.  With consciousness comes growth, learning, and true joy. With consciousness we are able to align with our true selves feeling free of fear, judgement, or shame.  With consciousness we can explore and realize who we are meant to be and better equipped to identify our true purpose. It is through this work that we can allow our children to take initiative and direction for their educational journey as we support them with the environmental context, safety, and security they need to be well educated. 

In my coaching program you will see how parenting and homeschooling can be both healing and joyful. 

 

My carefully structured program is tailored to help you:

  • connect more deeply to your children and ensure that their educational needs are met
  • identify problem areas in the parent child relationship

  • communicate effectively with your children

  • provide you with deep insight into your own history identifying ways to break past patterns that block growth, connection, and learning

  • reduce the occurrence of triggers and conflict

  • feel empowered and confident to parent in a way that is respectful and in alignment with your highest self and your child’s highest self.

  • reveal your inner power to parent confidently, presently and with unconditional love

  • understand the learning process from recent brain science to emotional intelligence

  • empower you and your children to educate in ways that ensure alignment to the 21st century entrepreneurial economy.

  • know how to foster and develop entrepreneurship and real world skills so your children can lead exceptional lives aligned with their true selves

 

 

 

Respectful, conscious parenting through self directed learning is truly a breath of fresh air.  You will feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off of your shoulders when you enter this space of conscious homeschooling and parenting. You can watch and support your children as they grow with confidence into exactly who they are meant to be honoring their true, authentic, beautiful selves.  I look forward to showing you how our inner child’s innate, voracious appetite to learn can be facilitated and optimized with ease. 

Contact Conscious Homeschooling To Start Your Healing Journey

Download Your Free Guide to Supporting the Learning Process

Use this free guide to help you learn more about what conditions allow our children to thrive as life-long learners. 

Connection through Personal Agency

Connection through Personal Agency

In this blog post I want to talk about building connection with your child through personal agency.  Connecting with your child is the most vital component to building a healthy, trusting, and fulfilling relationship.  It is when you connect with your child and they connect with you that your relationship can feel more harmonious and meaningful. It is through connection that you and your child can move toward a higher purpose and a higher self.

How to build connection with your child is deeply nuanced and specific to the child and their age however in this post you’ll find ideas that can foster connection no matter the child or his/her age. 

What is Personal Agency?

Personal agency is the capacity to express your own personal power and independence. It is one’s ability to act in any given situation. Your personal agency may be expressed through your thoughts, feelings, or actions.  It looks like the freedom you have to think for yourself and feel in charge of the decisions that you make knowing that these decisions will shape your life.  For that matter, with agency comes responsibility. When you create words out of your thoughts that you want to share with others you will see that what you say impacts those around you and with that you find a sense of responsibility to speak responsibly. You are held accountable for what you do and say.

Why is Agency Important?

One basic psychological need that all humans have is personal agency. Our children deserve the right to be free agents and have a sense of personal agency over their lives because it is, in fact, their life, not ours. In fact, developing a sense of agency is critical to their developing sense of self.  It fosters confidence, leadership, a strong sense of self, and contributes to their overall health and well-being.  People who have a strong sense of agency over their lives become strong, confident leaders.

Here is an abbreviated list of what I write about in this blog post on how to build connection through supporting your child’s sense of agency:

  • Know what personal agency is and recognize a child’s powerful learning capacities
  • Ask good questions that give your child the opportunity to lead their own learning
  • Listen to and validate your child’s thoughts, feelings, ideas, and actions
  • Ensure that your child has choices and that they are able to make valuable, authentic contributions using their own ideas with their interests being reflected in the everyday activities 
  • Promote independence and self-reliant skills by allowing your child to have flexible rhythms that are child-led, not adult driven and experiences that are dictated by their own cues and needs rather than the clock
personal agency

How to Respect Personal Agency

Sometimes we loose connection with our children when we attempt to exert too much control over them.  Our children are sovereign beings who are fully capable of being in the driver’s seat of their own lives in an age appropriate manner.  Here is what you can do to respect and foster their personal agency:

1. Understand– Learn what personal agency is.  Personal agency is the power we all have to make choices over the decisions that we make.  It is knowing your own power and knowing one’s ability to take action.

2. Recognize– the next step to building connection by supporting their personal agency is to recognize that our children are capable. Fully knowing and accepting the fact that our children are born with exceptional learning and imaginative capacities is critical to building their sense of identity.  You as the parent has to recognize that your children can and should be able to control their own life.  This way, your child comes to understand how much they are able to control their life.

3. Listen– Listen with respect to your child’s voice, their ideas, and their suggestions.  When we listen to our children and respond to their ideas with consideration and thoughtfulness we communicate to them that their thoughts, ideas, and feelings matter. We communicate to them that they are worthy and valued.  It sends the message that they are strong and capable with capacity to make decisions for themselves.  Always be willing to see the world through the eyes of your child.

4. Ask good questions– Using inquiry to understand your child and re-establish a lost connection can also foster deeper learning.  A sophisticated question can expand our minds, inspire new ideas, and strengthen the bonds we have with others.  Instead of commanding, requesting, or directing, you might try a question: Instead of: “please eat your vegetables” you might say: “do you think that eating vegetables is important?” Or on another occasion you might simply ask questions such as: “how did that feel?” “how was that?” “I wonder why that happened?”  Ask questions that give your child the opportunity to lead their own learning.

5. Validate– validating a child’s feelings is essential for their social, emotional, and cognitive health and development.  Explicitly saying to your child that is is normal and healthy to feel and express a wide range of emotions is necessary, especially when they are having challenging moments.  Saying things like “it is normal to feel upset or sad.” Or, “I love you, even when you are sad/mad” communicates clearly that strong feelings are nothing to be ashamed of. Expressing feelings means that you are human – a healthy human.

6. Empower using Choice– Respect their personal agency by never forcing children to do something that they are not comfortable with.  The problem with forcing your children to do something that they do not want to do is that you are communicating to them that they are powerless without choices. When you mold or shape them into what you want them to be or believe that they should be you unjustly strip them of their true identity, uniqueness, drive and self-preservation instincts. Offer your children choices or give them invitations to engage with the world in ways that they prefer. They will not always choose to engage with the world they way that you might prefer.

7. Speak with Respect– The way you speak to your child matters — A LOT. Your words, tone, and volume determine if you child feels safe and respected in your presence or threatened and afraid. Talk to your children the way that you would like people to talk to you.

8. Manage Your Expectations–  You cannot tell another person how to feel. We cannot actually control another person’s feelings and people are not predictable, emotions do not follow rules or laws.  If you expect to be able to have control over your child’s thoughts, feelings, and actions then you may find this belief to be intoxicating and may lead to a false sense of power. While you might believe that your attempts to control your child’s feelings as a way of being caring and loving, in reality to care is to leave space for feelings, accepting feelings and validating the feelings of others. So temper those expectations for it is with expectation that you often fail to see what good, whole, and valid right in front away.  It is with expectations that you view the world from a place of lack and from a place of being without. It is in this place that we tend to block the bounty and the abundance that already exists.

9. Give time for unstructured play– unstructured play free from adult direction gives children time and space to develop necessary social skills, exercise their imaginative capacities and increase their self awareness.  And while we sometimes call play unstructured, play is actually inherently structured. The structure in play is the purpose that exists within the type, style, and function of the play.  Plus, any type of play is learning! It support children in developing their social, emotional and intellectual regulations. One’s ability to self regulate and become self aware directly impacts their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and in turn their development of personal agency.

10. Model for children that their own physical boundaries are worthy of our respect.  If we don’t respect the boundaries they put up around physical comfort and affection around safe people Help our children understand and truly believe that their no means no and others’ no means no.  Never force a child to be affectionate or take on an experience or role that they are not comfortable with.

 

Download Your Free Guide to Building Connection through Personal Agency

Use this guide as a way to build connection with your child through developing their personal agency.  Know what personal agency is and how to support it in your everyday interactions with your child. 

These ideas on how to develop your child’s sense of agency are meant to inform and empower you and your child.  How does your way of life reflect these values already?  Where do you see potential roadblocks?  Or, how will you incorporate these ideas into your relationship? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Math Games for Rainy Days or Any Day

Math Games for Rainy Days or Any Day

When the clouds roll in and the rain pours down it may turn out to be the perfect time to settle in for some table games and practice math skills along the way! Better yet, open the windows a bit or set up a cozy spot on your porch and listen to the rain pitter patter on the roof as you play.  The sounds of rain soothe the heart and calms the nervous system making you even more apt to center, focus, and enjoy the fun! In this blog post, you will learn about what math games my family and I enjoy that makes us laugh, shriek with joy, or ponder over what potential game-winning strategies to use. 

So let’s get started!

Sleeping Queens

Kings, queens, dragons, knights and magic wands…this game has all the characters you need to tell a story of magic, fantasy, and excitement. It is technically designed for ages 8 and up, but my 3 year old daughter has been able to hold her own while absolutely loving it the whole way through.  My one year old sits on my lap and holds or picks up cards when it is our turn too (even though many end up on the floor of course!)  

The game is a perfect blend of simple strategy and luck so that everyone can have fun.  Players can win if they collect 4 queens or 40 points or 5 queens and 50 points.  Each collected queen has a different point value so players are asked to add up their points along the way. 

The queens display all multiples of 5 so it is the best way to practice counting by both 5s and 10’s and multiplication. Plus, the number cards (1-9) can be used to make number sentences or equations so that you can trade in for new cards. A player might make various combinations of subtraction or addition sentences such as 9-2=7 or 2+3+4=9. The character illustrations are enchanting and funny too!  We always find ourselves giggling over the pictures and on the edge of our seats hoping to wake up our favorite type of queen!

Product: Sleeping Queens

Recommended Age Range: 8+

Price Range: $15

 

Mancala

Did you know that mancala is the most common game played in the entire world?  This is one of those games that the young and old can play with just the same amount of engagement and delight.  We love this game because of its treasures that remind us of the gems and jewels that King Neptune of the sea collects. Mancala is captivating and educational for many reasons.  Here are just some of the few: learning to count by 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, etc., subitizing, multiplication, problem solving, logical thinking, planning a strategy and much more.  Not only are there several opportunities to practice counting, but players also need to think critically about which pocket to start from and why.  There are strategies to learn that may help increase your chances of winning. Different versions of the game can make the strategies even more complex. My daughter even made up her own version that involved counting by 2’s. 

Product: Mancala

Recommended Age Range: 6+ 

Price Range: $8 and up

Dominoes

You can play dominoes hundreds of ways and every single one of them brings lots of learning and fun.  Dominoes build upon dice patterns, subitizing, addition, subtraction, fractions, division, matching, sorting, classifying, problem solving, critical thinking, and much more! 

I would recommend starting with traditional play and then move onto variations. For example, practice multiples like ‘fives and threes’ where the goal is to have the two ends of the domino chain end in a multiple of three or multiple of five to score a point. 

Here is a common way that we play that involves the formation of number bonds.  Begin by dividing the dominos evenly then take turns playing.  Every domino placed must form a “number bond” of three numbers in which the largest number is the sum of the two smaller numbers. 

When we play you can use some of these questions to dig deeper into understanding number patterns even more clearly:

  • How many dominoes are there in the double-six set?
  • How many doubles are there?
  • How many ones, twos or threes are there?
  • How many dominoes have a total of ten dots on them?

Product: Dominos

Recommended Age Range: 6+ (younger kids can play and have fun with a little adult help)

Price Range: $14 and up

 

Dragonwood

This game is teeming with adventure, fun, and mystery! My kids cannot wait to see what type of adventure or event card will turn up next and the anticipation of capturing the dragon is huge! This adventure challenges players to capture creatures in the enchanted forest of Dragonwood. 

Kids can practice with understanding the role of probability since you’ll have to calculate the likelihood of getting a particular set of cards or number total on the dice. You will also have to learn how to strategize which creature to pursue throughout the game. The kids will have to keep adding up the dice roll probabilities in their head, thinking critically about how many cards to play, adding the numbers on the dice and adding their victory points for a total score. Most all, you can tell an adventure story of a walk through Dragonwood that you will never forget!

Title: Dragonwood

Recommended Age Range: 8+ 

Price Range: $14 

 

Polyhedral Dice

These dice have added to the chest of treasures that my children love to collect and make part of their everyday play.  Just like dominoes and mancala, dice prove to be one of the most versatile and expansive tools for learning and fun. We have used these polyhedral dice to talk about probability, multiplication, addition, subtraction, number bonds, and more. My children will often create their own games with the dice that involves number bonds, comparing, adding or subtracting.  

One game in particular has proven to be a hit with us so far. It is called Race to 500.  The object of the game is to add up numbers to 500 or more. First person to 500 wins. One player at a time rolls two dice and uses them to create a two digit number. If a 6 and 3 are rolled you can make 36 or 63.  The next player does the same thing.  Each time a player rolls, they add the number to the previous one rolled.  We write our numbers on scrap paper and use base ten blocks and a hundreds chart to support the process.  We also frame the game in terms of our favorite race car, Lightning McQueen.  The numbers on the dice equate to how fast Lightning races in miles per hour and the kids cannot wait until he reaches 500 miles per hour to win the race.  

These are the dice that we have enjoyed. My kids and I chose them because of the bright, attractive colors, individual pouches with the animal sketches on the front. Mommy appreciates the fact that the dice material is eco-friendly.

Denise Gaskins has an excellent blog with many more ideas of dice and hundreds of other ways to play with math that I highly recommend.

Title: Polyhedral Dice Set

Recommended Age Range: 8+ 

Price Range: $10 and up

 

So what are you waiting for?  Bring on the giggles and fun with these math games and brighten up your rainy days!

Conscious Homeschooling’s Best Books About Autumn for Young Learners

Conscious Homeschooling’s Best Books About Autumn for Young Learners

This is the time of year when our family adventures and conversations involve pumpkins, apples, colorful leaves, and spooky stories. Autumn is often a time of harvest and a time for warming foods, comfort, and reflection.  It is also a time of transition, like any other change of season, where we take some time to reflect and reassess our goals, intentions, and rhythm.

Many questions will arise with this word autumn and the change of seasons. Some of these include: Why do leaves change colors? How can it be autumn in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern hemisphere? Why does it get dark earlier?  All of these questions are learning lessons in the making. The natural inquiry of life’s changes opens up a world of opportunity for discovery and fun!

My family and I embrace what nature teaches us about change, transformation, and reflection. In honor of the beauty we find in nature each day we take time to seek out those changes that indicate autumn is here. One way that we welcome autumn is through new books and rich literature that teaches and inspires. 

Even if you don’t live in a place where leaves change colors or apple orchards grow you can still embrace this season of harvest through the joy of literature.

Books about autumn gives us all a chance to enjoy the beauty that is the season of fall.

As you come to learn more about Conscious Homeschooling you will know that we deeply value the connection of one’s inner healing and awareness to nature, growth, and learning. Our daily adventures are steeped in a connection to our place here on Earth and the stories that we create each day. These stories are enriched and played out from the wide variety of books that we enjoy.  

Not a day goes by that we are not referencing a story that we’ve recently read or enjoyed in the past.  In this post I want to share with you my top five favorite books about Autumn and how we’ve used them to enrich our educational journey. 

So what are you waiting for? Grab these books and soak up the natural transformation that is autumn right before your eyes!

 

 

Awesome Autumn: All Kinds of Fall Facts and Fun (Season Facts and Fun)  By Bruce Goldstone

One of the reasons that my kids and I love this book is that uses vibrant real life photographs that truly capture the beauty of autumn. It has engaging descriptions and easy to implement craft ideas for those of you looking for some hands-on activities.

 

Why Do Leaves Change Color? (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) By Betsy Maestro Illustrated by Loretta Krupinski 

If you are looking for a book that gives a clear, concise explanation of why leaves change color and the role that chlorophyll plays in the life of plants then this book is it! The visual aides provide easy to discern, scientific drawings of the inside of leaves with labels.  The explanations are quite scientific though not so complex that it would be hard for young readers to comprehend.

 

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak

A girl and her dog walk through the streets of her community. She notices autumn and its beauty all around. The illustrations are the one element of this book that really captivate us.  We spent a few minutes on each page noticing the colors, shapes, patterns, and styles.

 

Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer and Adam Schaefer and Illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon

Our family recognizes how nature, learning, and change are deeply interwoven. This book takes the cake for illustrating this interconnectedness so elegantly. In this story you can see clearly the relationship and interaction between all living things in an ecosystem. The concept can be discussed more simply for a younger audience yet extended to a more complex level for an older audience.

 

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert

This simply yet eloquently written book describes how trees are born from a simple seed that soon sprouts, grows roots into the ground and stems that reach to the sky. It sparked inquiries around how seeds know to grow roots down and stems up.  It also inspired us to start measuring the growth of some of our own sprouts!

 

The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry illustrated by The Fan Brothers

In this story, Beth Ferry uses lyrical rhymes to describe the life of a lonely scarecrow who sadly has trouble finding animals who will befriend him because they believe he is too scary.  Until one day a baby crow falls nearby which provides the scarecrow with an opportunity to show that he is not actually scary.  He is really a kind, loving and empathetic scarecrow who wants a friend. He cares for the crow and in doing so a friendship blossoms.  My children and I loved this story for it opened up conversations about kindness, friendship, and the importance of seeing one another beyond appearances.

 

Please share your favorite books below!  Enjoy!

 

 

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What is Self-Directed Learning And How Can You Incorporate It Into Your Homeschooling

What is Self-Directed Learning And How Can You Incorporate It Into Your Homeschooling

While there are many different ways to approach homeschool there is really only one way to figure out HOW to learn.  When we can figure out HOW to learn and not just WHAT to learn we can set ourselves up for a life of non-stop growth, transformation, self-confidence and reliance.  When we figure out how to learn and direct our own learning journey the opportunities we come to see the world as a place of abundance with limitless possibilities.    

 

Self directed learning can happen through a process in which a person can freely direct or navigate the course of their own unique personal learning journey. It is when an individual takes initiative for their education.  They figure out in a supportive environment rich with literacy and numeracy how to identify their learning needs, formulate goals, identify resources for learning and choose how to implement an action plan to attain those learning goals.  

It is a beautiful way of life where living and learning become one.  Where we see our lives as intricately intertwined with learning.  Learning about ourselves, our relationships with others and our relationship with the greater community and world in which we live. 

 It calls upon individuals to be an active participant in their education which fosters metacognition and involves understanding how you learn. 

Knowing how to learn is an essential skill in our lives as adults so we should empower our children to do the same. 

If you are looking for reasons as to why self-directed learning works then please, keep reading!

 

1.  Self directed learners are able to teach and learn for themselves the most valuable skill of life-long learning: the skill of knowing HOW to learn. When you figure out for yourself how you learn then you have provided yourselves with one of the greatest gifts- the ability to grow and nourish an innate drive and need to self-educate. You will no longer need to rely on others to teach, but instead will know how to seek out support and identify methods, ways, strategies, and skills to teach yourselves.

2.  Today’s economy is driven by innovation, entrepreneurship, ingenuity, and creativity.  We need to cultivate entrepreneurial-like qualities that include being able to think critically, creatively, have a sense of agency over choices and decisions that we make while being able to look at the world in new and imaginative ways. This is acquired when we have the freedom to direct our own learning, to take control of our lives through self directed learning. 

3.  Self directed learning promotes the natural development of self-confidence, initiative, perseverance and life satisfaction.  When we feel in control over our lives and the choices that we make our brain can function in a goal oriented way. This optimal state allows our pre-frontal cortex where executive functioning skills such as critical thinking and decision making to develop optimally. 

4.  Having agency over our lives means that we are responsible for the decisions that we make which help us create our own paths. When we direct our own learning we increase our ability to make good directions since the stakes are often high. The more practice we have with making our own decisions and weighing them against options the more likely we are to grow into responsible, sensible, compassionate, and productive adults. 

5.  Self directed learners will learn for the SAKE of learning and not because they have to.  Their curiosity drives their pursuit of knowledge which means they become an expert in their comprehension of knowledge.  They often start their quest for knowledge with questions in mind.  As they search for answers they naturally connect new knowledge to their prior knowledge and schema which improves how well they comprehend information.  In turn, self directed learning is associated with better long term memory retention.

6.  Self directed learners regularly utilize good comprehension strategies such as monitoring their reading, evaluating information, using inferencing, determining important elements in a text and later synthesizing it so it can be applied to new experiences.

7.  Self directed learning is set in a context of real world experiences. When learning experiences and opportunities are set in contextualized, real world scenarios we are more likely to apply what we have learned

8.   Self directed learning is fully supported or facilitated by caring, resourceful, and loving adults from the entire community.  It requires awareness, access to resources, connection, support, opportunities, and experiences beyond the walls of the home or classroom. 

9.  Self directed education creates a collaborative culture where individual liberties and freedoms are valued and exercised. A collaborative culture is a win-win philosophy.  This win-win philosophy means that we can exercise our freedoms as long as they don’t inhibit the freedoms of others. We can negotiate terms, decisions, and choices. This is different from compromising where we may be asked to give up on something that is valued by us. Compromise asks us to sacrifice  or surrender something important to us.  It comes from a place of lack and a place of wanting to win out over the other person. However, when we negotiate we stand up for what is important to us and make a decision that works for all parties involved.

10.  Without expectations to meet particular proficiencies, expectations, and/or deadlines, self directed learners can go on quests for knowledge for as long or as little as they would like.  This means they can dive deep into a particular area of interest for months at a time which may result in even more inquiries and acquisition of new skills that even they didn’t expect to acquire.

Self-directed learning creates conditions for optimal social, emotional, and cognitive development with self directed learning.  Our children and the future of our world need humans to grow with an awareness of their inner genius and capacities for greatness. 

 

Leave some comments below on your thoughts of self directed learning. 

Family Values

Family Values

Family values relate to everything that is meaningful and important to you and your family.  They embody the ideas of what type of life you want to live together. They are the fundamental principles that serve as a guide for all actions made by family members.  As you embark on the parenting and homeschooling journey you will rely on these values to give you a sense of meaning, purpose, and the ability to achieve goals. 

Often your family values are ones that have been adopted by generations past, but they should evolve with time, experience, and environment. They should be developed and revisited from time to time. I would suggest at least every year or two. Most importantly, your children need to be active participants in the development of the list. 

And while you may have family values that are shared, remember that your children are their own sentient beings and will develop separate values in time.  Understanding that other people (including your children) may have different values from your own can help you better understand that other person. This as a result can create a more compassionate and harmonious relationship.

Values are important because they:

  1. Serve as a guide for the decisions that we make day to day – may be referred to as the guiding principles or life goals.
  2. Inform thoughts, words, and actions in different situations
  3. Strengthen the relationships between family members by clarifying what is important to the family as a whole and also what is important to each member individually.
  4. Help avoid misunderstandings, unnecessary aggravation and distrust. 
  5. Serve as the heart of the climate and culture of your home.
To get started on how to develop family values you may find it helpful to be aware of the different categories of values.  Let’s take a look at those categories now:

Social Values – peace, justice, freedom, equality, acceptance, unifying and empowering the community

  • Being kind to others
  • Standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves
  • Respect 
  • Giving up your time to volunteer in the community
  • Generosity
  • Honesty
  • Cooperating and collaborating with others

Work Values – philosophies about your job, finances, and how you spend your money, how you approach learning, schooling, and education. 

  • Always do your best
  • Collaborative approach
  • Save portions of your salary 
  • Life long learning, open mindedness, and growth mindset
  • Finding pride in accomplishments of self and others
  • Expressing oneself creatively and authentically
  • Being aware of the role that your work/career plays in the larger community and society

Moral Values – an important responsibility of parenting is that you can help show your children how to act morally. They need to know how to treat others with respect, dignity, kindness, goodness, and equality. They need to know about good, care about the good, and practice doing the good in the world. These values center around what you think is right or wrong.  These provide the foundation from which you make decisions. They are often learned from previous generations and from experiences. 

  • Self acceptance and acceptance of others- welcoming others whose ideas and practices differ from your own
  • Compassion and understanding the suffering of others or self with a desire to take action to help and repair
  • Cooperation which includes helping your family and friends, giving and returning favors
  • Courage and willingness to do difficult things
  • Equality and believing that every human deserves equal rights and to be treated with respect
  • Fairness which is to act in a just way and sharing appropriately
  • Generosity with a willingness to give resources, help, and time to others

Recreational Values refer to those things in life that involve relaxation and play. These values are just as important if not more important than the others because they promote a close, connected relationship in the family.  They provide opportunities for learning, creating memories, improving social skills and developing empathy. Examples of recreational values include:

  • Providing time and space for unstructured play
  • Placing value on and encouraging family members to pursue interests
  • Vacation time together
  • Quality time together

How to Make Your Family’s List and Keep Them Alive

Creating a list of your family’s values may seem daunting or overwhelming at first. But, you sit down and reflect on these categories and the role they play in your life you will find that identifying your family values is much easier than initially thought. 

It is imperative to sit as a family and give each member a chance to speak about what is important to them.  Getting input from everyone, listening and attending to their needs is essential.  This will create a sense of shared responsibility in which you and your children will gain a sense of autonomy and internalize these values more easily. 

Do not, however, expect this to come together all at once. Most likely it will take some time, maybe 2-3 conversations or more before you and your family feel like you have developed a comprehensive list. 

Please read through the following tips to help you develop family values that are meaningful, relevant, and powerful

  • Talk about what is most important to your family.  What are your strengths?  What gives you guidance when you run into disagreements? 
  • Identify a short list of words or phrases that best describe your family?
  • Brainstorm a list and write down your thoughts, stories, ideas, words, phrases.  Use a whiteboard or large poster size paper to write down anything that is discussed. 
  • Provide each family member with a small whiteboard or paper and pencil. Have them free write or draw pictures of what is important to them 
  • Give ample time to think and discuss.  Take some time alone and time together to talk. 
  • Aim to agree upon 10-12 values.  Of course you can have more or less, but many more may prove to be too overwhelming or confusing. 
  • Display your list in a common area of the house where everyone can see it each day.
  • Refer back to the list from time to time and especially after your family goes through a particularly difficult moment or day.  
  • Use the list as a teaching tool.
  • Revisit and rewrite the list as needed.  The list will evolve over time as your family changes.

In review here is your step-by-step guide to creating a family values list at home:

  1. Talk 
  2. Brainstorm
  3. Discuss
  4. Take time to think
  5. Revisit list
  6. Reconvene and agree upon a family list
  7. Write the final list down 
  8. Place the list in a common area of the house where it can be easily viewed each day

In the end, family and personal values are a must.  They will guide your decision making processes throughout the parenting and homeschooling journey and serve as a way to create more harmonious and fulfilling experiences. In the end, remember that these values should help you and your children create your best life! A life that is meaningful, fulfilling, and honors your true, authentic self!  Enjoy the ride!


 If you would like additional help in identifying what your values are please visit The Values Project and complete this value survey.