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Dishing out papers, crayons, and a pair of scissors. Grabbing a book and opening to page 11 to start the lesson. Is that everything we need to cover when we choose to homeschool our children? Homeschooling is an old concept and still millions of parents choose this way of teaching children.
Another old concept that is totally relevant but often missed is called heartschooling. Heartschooling is a part of homeschooling. To be exact, heartschooling is beyond homeschooling and is more than teaching A-B-Cs and 1-2-3s. It’s about reaching the hearts of children and taking them to a higher or more moral place. It is not usually practiced consciously, but through practices and behaviors demonstrated by parents that facilitate moral development in children.
What Is Heartschooling?
Heartschooling is about reaching the hearts of children and guiding them to learn new skills. Taking effect from a popular quote, “Educating the mind without actually educating the heart is of no use”. Heartschooling is about educating hearts. It’s about teaching empathy, compassion, kindness, social skills, self-esteem, self-awareness, and social awareness. It’s about teaching children the qualities that make them “human” by speaking to their hearts. Children need an environment where they can feel positive, and they deserve to get an opportunity to practice their skills gained through moral development, with others.
Teaching H-E-A-R-T : 5 Moral Development Goals Of Heartschooling
There are the 5 goals of heartschooling and the moral development goals of your homeschooling curriculum:
Honesty is the best policy, and it really is! Honesty is the pillar of virtue. That’s why honesty has been considered as the very first moral development goal of heartschooling. Teaching honesty to children is crucial. It helps them to have positive and trustworthy relationships in the future. You will shape their character by modeling honesty and discouraging lying. Children learn moral development best by seeing these behaviors practiced:
- Speak the truth
- Reward their truth
- Make them honest friends
- Be polite when they tell you something they did wrong
The second goal of heartschooling is teaching empathy to children. Make them able to understand the feelings of others. Their ability to understand the thoughts of others and being happy in other’s happiness is really going to make them stand out in society. Help their moral development by consciously teaching your children how to share. You know everyone’ss favorite person is the one who can feel others and who can listen and pay attention to someone during their time of need.
The process, or act, of achieving something! You really need to teach them to work hard, put in the effort, and develop skills to achieve their life goals. Some kids give up when they try to open a drawer and it’s stuck. They give up when they want to fix the broken leg of a doll but can’t, and instead, they’ll throw it away and start crying. Here you will have to work on their moral development. Teach them to put their HEART into something they really want to accomplish.
Giving regard to the feelings and wishes of others is actually giving them respect. Teach them to accept somebody for who they are, even when they have conflicting views or different opinions. Acknowledging everyone’s basic dignity is the key to win hearts. Teach them that gossiping, teasing, or bullying can really hurt someone and that it is not what they are supposed to do. You will have to demonstrate respectful behavior and polite reactions in order to solidify this moral development within your children.
Working as a group towards a common goal is called teamwork. It is quite easy to teach this lesson when kids go to school. However, with homeschooling, things are a bit different. Kids don’t get enough chances to work as a team, but it is a very important moral development lesson of heartschooling. They will need to work as a team, many times, later in their lives and they need guidance to learn this skill.
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5 Keys To Achieve The Goals Of Heartschooling:
Now we know that we have discussed the many goals of heartschooling, let’s talk about the keys to achieve those goals:
Hear what they say! Kids talk, talk and talk. Many times, parents get irritated and that’s natural. However, you really have to listen if you want to reach the heart of your children. Hearing, and really “listening” to them, will strengthen your bond with your children and it will make them better listeners. As the very first step of communication, use your sense of hearing and listen to them.
For teaching empathy to children, you will have to show empathy. When you listen to them, it’s time to really understand their feelings. Acknowledge and validate the child’s intense emotions. “Are you scared of that? I know how you are feeling but I’m with you. We will go through this together.” Put yourself in your kid’s shoes, learn how they feel about something, and let them know that they are not alone in those feelings.
- Make your child feel loved and show them that you know them.
- Help them identify emotions and the connection with behaviors.
- Build an empathetic environment in your home.
- Make them observe the feelings of others.
Many parents don’t really like to apologize for their mistakes. “I’m the parent, I’m the boss.” Yes! You are! But there is no harm in acknowledging the fact that you can also be wrong. There is no shame in saying, “sorry, I was wrong”. If you admit your mistake and apologize, you are modeling honesty and respect, and children really learn from their parent’s behavior.
Your reaction to your child’s behavior is a primary source of learning for your kid. The way you will respond to them after listening is a crucial key to heartschooling. Think before you speak or react. If you really want to touch their hearts and you are keen to make their hearts as pure as gold, take a moment to understand what’s really going on. Use your words wisely. Use your body language wisely.
You are doing a lot for your child. You are always taking care of their basic needs. Always protecting them and thinking of them. Parents really don’t get time to acknowledge what their kids are doing for them. They are little and they do little things to make you happy. It may not be a big deal for you but it is for them. Like, you entered into the living room and your baby picked up the cushion from the couch so you could sit. It is something very little, but for your child, it is something they are hoping will make you happy. Acknowledging these little things and saying “thank you” is really a key to their hearts.
How do you feel when you hear the word “thank you” from your spouse or kids? Great, huh? Children feel the same. Let them know that their little virtues are making you happy. It will encourage them to empathize with others and be a support of other’s hearts.
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Activities To Practice Heartschooling
The first step is to listen to what your kids want to do. Your goal will be to develop their interests and have them practice HEART skills while learning the things they enjoy. Here are some activities to practice heartschooling:
- Learning music
- Learning cooking or baking
- Reading a book together
- Teaching them to wash dishes or doing laundry
- Helping someone in the neighborhood
- Arrange a small charitable occasion
- Clean the yard together
- Helping someone (who needs help) in the grocery store
- Visit an old age home
- Visit an orphanage
- Pack gifts for underserved populations
- Water the plants together
- Do yoga together
- Practice mindfulness together
- Smiling and saying hello to strangers
- Connecting with diverse people
There are many activities that can promote moral development and can make their hearts pure gold. Spend quality time enhancing the community, as well as your child and family. Even the smallest acts of kindness are blessings to others.
Work and reach the five goals of heart schooling: honesty, empathy, achievement, respect, and teamwork. Achieve these moral development goals by considering and demonstrating the keys of the heart: hearing, empathizing, apologizing, responding, and thanking. Make heartschooling a part of your homeschooling curriculum and make your kids better humans. Good luck!
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