I’m excited to introduce you to Shalyn Roach, a friend of mine and long-time homeschool mom and now, homeschool grandma! Today, I’ve asked Shalyn to share with us about raising sons.
Tell us a little about your family. How long have you been homeschooling, and what inspired you to start?
I’m just a plain ol’ girl born and raised here in Colorado who is so blessed to have been redeemed by Jesus Christ, chosen by a remarkable man to be his wife, and given three birth and two adopted children. And now I have three delightful in-law kids and six yummy grandbabies. I love, love, love my family. I also thoroughly enjoy God’s creation, volleyball, games, peaches, and milk chocolate.
We decided to try home education because we wanted our children to continue in the faith that we hold so dear. We thought that no one else could possibly be more committed to the success of our children as we were. I was overwhelmed when my husband first suggested it, to say the least, but it only took a few months of actually trying homeschooling before I was “all in.” I quickly learned home education was a way of life, not just the way you do school.
Did you find homeschooling sons different than homeschooling daughters? In what ways?
I Timothy 1:5 has been our goal in teaching all our children. “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Learning God’s ways for life was far more important to us than academic learning, although we believe that a well-rounded knowledge base is a very useful tool in serving Christ.
We believed that a reason for academics, and then understanding how academics fit in with a child’s future, would help us decide what facts and principles we would put before them for consumption and consideration. As it applies to sons, our future men needed to be trained in the areas God was calling them to walk.
The older boys get, the more exact the skills become honed as we both discover the unique gifts God has so masterfully woven into their beings. God has created men to be conquerors, providers, protectors, leaders, and shepherds, so we tried to train them to think that way as they applied their academics.
What practical things have you found to help make school engaging for boys?
As with any child, I think finding the ways your son learns best helps them love learning. My goal was to work myself out of a job by teaching them how to teach themselves! I do think many boys love play, so we often played games that would teach, applied math in the grocery store, or encouraged them to run the proverbial lemonade stand, egg business, or lawn care service. Helping grandparents or friends with work projects made the book learning have purpose.
Teaching them to give their resources to God and others helped them learn how to be unselfish, but they also almost always learned or sharpened some life skill in the process. Integrating book learning into life is always our goal, but without the love of God and His Word, learning seems to just lead to vanity and self-absorption, which are not the goals for our children!
Learning with the purpose of serving God and others is hard for all of us, but our hearts are overflowing with joy when we attain our desire!
What thoughts would you have for families as they help their sons through the transition from boyhood to manhood?
The transformation from boy to man is FANTASTIC, but is one of the more difficult aspects of discipleship for me. Sometimes the transition feels jerky, painfully slow yet scarily fast. It’s hard to think like a guy when you’re a girl!
My sweet husband helps me keep finding a proper perspective on how a young man thinks and feels, while supporting me in my role as mom and teacher. I guess my advice would be to work diligently to see the unique skills and gifts God has given to your sons early on while keeping your eye on the end goal for your boys.
There are so many distractions in the teen years for boys. Some opportunities may be good, but maybe not the best choice for your boy-man. Help him own the decisions you make together. It’s also tempting for moms especially to protect and coddle boys. Better for them to learn some of life’s lessons and fail a few times while the stakes aren’t so high.
This helps them learn how to take risks properly and how important counsel is throughout life. One last thing: be quick to admit when you’re wrong, give him your respect and gratitude whenever you can, and keep telling him how much you love him!
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