Creating Confident Children When Homeschooling or Choosing Virtual School
Remember what is was like to be a kid and not have confidence?
I remember the day that my mother told me that I should or would participate in a few local beauty pageants when I was a teenager around16 years old. My memory is a little vague as to whether or not it was a question or more like you are going to try this! Either way, it was a good move on my mom's part.
During this time, I needed a confidence boost, and my mother knew this. I had a bad experience at the hairdresser after getting some chemicals in my hair. It basically made my hair fall out. My mother had no choice but cut my hair to a very low cut. You can imagine how devastating this was for a young female teenager! Talks about low self-esteem and confidence.
So, I participated in two beauty contests with my mother as my coach/manager for the contest but also my life coach with a mission to build me up. I was runner up with one contest, and the winner with another. This did exactly what my mother needed it to do for me. I needed to know that I was pretty and talented, my hair length didn't matter. Confidence was what was needed, but without my mother making these opportunities available, I'm not sure what would have happened during those teenage years.
There were many other examples of similar situations throughout my childhood when I had to be vulnerable and do new things that seemed unthinakable to do at the time. I remember that most of the times I didn't want to do what my mom wanted me to do and most of the time, I ended up enjoying whatever it was and feeling more and more confident about taking on challenges. The speech and debate classes that she wanted me to take, and reading in church as a lector all benefited me in so many ways as an adult, even to this day.
Times of course, have changed but some things are still the same. I didn't have the social media sites, and other online internet distractions that are available now. Our children need us as parents to provide them with the many possibilities that are available to them beyond just the internet. No, your child won't like everything or even have a talent for everything. What about the amazing possibility of discovering that one talent, skill, or interest that could change the rest of their life? That's worth all the effort.
The definition of confidence includes the appreciation of yourself and your ability. As a parent, we are responsible for providing our children with options to discover their abilities. Will they appreciate this all the time? Will they protest joining something they are sure they will hate? Will they be fearful of failure? Yes, of course. We live our lives avoiding and being fearful of failure and rejection. It's a life long journey, but with it comes incredible growth to being a stronger person.
Be persistent! As a learning coach for my daughter who attended virtual school it was essential that I give my daughter multiple chances to see what she might be good at or not, and enjoy or not enjoy.
Remember that unlike a brick and mortar school, you might not have the same opportunities to build confidence that are readily available at a school. You should make a point to search your local area and homeschool groups, etc. for confidence building opportunities for your child to have new experiences. There are so many homeschool extracurricular classes and groups that are available. I would actively search for these options so my daughter could socialize with other kids and also try different endeavors.
I suggest that you take advantage of free trial classes so there isn't a big financial commitment before knowing if the child has any interest in the activity. Also many public libraries have free classes for kids and some even have classes especially for homeschoolers and virtual learners during the day. At some YMCA's there are also classes available for a reasonable cost specifically for homeschoolers. Check out your local museum to see when they might have free or discounted tickets. You might have a child that loves art or history. During the summer in many cities, there are free outside concerts. Maybe you have a future musician or singer.
My daughter tried a variety of different activities from a young age such as gymnastics, dance, piano, guitar, art classes, creative writing classes, spanish classes, science classes, singing classes, and the list goes on. So, we discovered early that she was not and still is not athletic. She loves the guitar more than she did the piano. She has a talent to speak languages, but learning it is more difficult for she has a skill for speaking different languages, but needed tutors to help with writing and grammar. We also observed that she loved reading, writing, drawing, and history. To this day, at sixteen, she still enjoys these things. We self-published her first children book, All You Have To Do Is Read, and she writes on her own using an online source where many young people write short stories. She also has an opportunity next year after her sophomore year in college to go to Japan for an internship with her Japanese professor.
I share all of this to say that achieving confidence in our children might have to be a deliberate act and for some it just happens naturally.
Be persistent and don't give up. Believe me, there were moments that I just wanted to take a rest from all of the running around and some of the expense. Looking back, I'm so happy I did it because I know we would have missed some opportunities for her to find what she enjoys.
I'm still encouraging her to keep trying new things and explore who she is. My mother is still doing the same for me! It's a lifetime journey, and I'm so happy to take it with my child just as my other is happy to do it for me.