You already know education begins at home. But what about your education? Teaching your children, either through language studies, before-bed reading or homework help, is an important part of parenting. However, if your children never see you learning anything, they’ll miss out on an important part of education: the fact that all people, even parents, benefit when they take the time to practice and learn new skills.
In addition to setting a good example for your children, taking the time to learn new things benefits you as well. Taking a course or building a skill helps keep your brain sharp and helps you build new connections with the outside world. Being interested in something also makes you interesting.
Often when people fall into ruts, it is because they feel both bored and boring. If your family is like ours, you probably also know that learning is sexy; there’s nothing more attractive than a partner who is excited about a new idea.
Here are a few ideas of how to expand your education while benefiting yourself, your children and your family:
Learn your children’s language
We are huge fans of bilingualism. If you’re living abroad and your children are seriously studying the local language while you’ve only picked up the phrases for ordering lunch and asking for directions, it’s time to crack the books and practice your phonemes. Learning the same language as your children is a way to exercise your brain, become more integrated with your local area and show your children that adults also struggle with homework, practice and grammar drills.
As children often pick up language skills faster than adults – unfair, I know – expect your children to teach you and correct your mistakes. This is also beneficial; in a world where children are rarely masters of anything, having an opportunity to educate their parents instead of the other way around helps build confidence and self-esteem. You’ll all learn something from the experience.
Take a rock climbing course
Although hanging to the side of a cliff seems dangerous, rock climbing is actually an extremely safe and low-impact way to build muscle and endurance. Rock climbing is both a physical and mental workout, as climbers have to think ahead and plan their way to the top of the wall. The use of ropes and harnesses ensures your safety, and all rock climbing centers have a specific system for teaching new climbers appropriate climb and belay techniques.
The whole family can benefit from a weekly trip to the climbing gym, or go alone and have a much-needed hour of me-time. You’ll gain more than just strength from a weekly show-down with a rock wall.
Enroll in a degree program
If you’ve been taking care of children for a few years, you may be worried that your skills no longer match the needs of the modern workplace. In that case, it might be time to sign up for an online degree program. Consider one of the Christian graduate programs offered by Cornerstone University and get a degree in business, education or ministry. Taking a degree program at home helps build your skills. You also set an example of the importance of life-long learning.
Explore the arts
Most people have a long-dormant artistic dream. Why not take a sculpture course or a creative writing course? The act of creating something is enough to bring vibrancy back into your life, and the works you create are a great way to share parts of yourself that you might not be able to communicate in day-to-day life. Many people assume you can’t be both a painter and a parent; prove them wrong.
When’s the last time you took a class and learned something new? Start with one of these ideas and enroll in a program. Following your education through, even when it gets difficult to schedule or when the rock wall, sculpture wheel or verb tenses are just too hard, teaches yourself as well as your family that learning something new and working through the tricky parts is important for everyone.
Do you have a favorite education story to share? Let us know in the comments.