Every parent wants to establish good relationships with their children whether they are homeschooling or not. ~Marty Layne
That line practically jumped off the screen at me as I scrolled through a 1999 interview I did with homeschooling mother Marty Layne, of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Marty had just written an encouraging and thoughtful book on homeschooling, Learning at Home: A Mother’s Guide to Homeschooling (1999, Sea Change Publications), and in our interview she shared her perspectives on homeschooling and mothering.
The quote above came when I asked Marty this question about her book:
The back cover text for your book says it is “as much about establishing good relationships with children as educating them.” Would you discuss that idea a little? Specifically, don’t all caring parents seek to establish good relationships with their children? Isn’t it simply a part of good parenting, or did you have something else in mind?
“Yes, that’s right, establishing good relationships with children is important to all parents. My hope in putting that quote on the back of my book was to encourage parents who are not considering homeschooling to also read my book. Many of the people who have read my book tell me that it is the parenting, the mothering information that they find the most valuable. One woman said in her review that she almost wished that the title were Learning at Home: A Mother’s Guide without the homeschooling so that more parents would read it whatever their choice of education for their children.
Every parent wants to establish good relationships with their children whether they are homeschooling or not. The things that can make mothering and homeschooling so special is that one has time to spend with one’s children. We get to know our children as they grow. We watch them as they learn to master all kinds of skills from reading to riding bikes or driving a car. There is an intimacy we share that comes from sheer time spent together in everyday things like cooking a meal or raking leaves.
“The more separation there is the more difficult it is to have this opportunity to learn through doing. This is difficult to understand for those who have had a lot of separation from their children. They have no picture of anything else. Of course they interact with their children when they are together, but they often have no way to picture a more extensive amount of time together.
“I think The most difficult issues facing parents is how to make the time to get to know who their children are. Many children have no one who really knows them. For many children, a teacher knows more about them than their own parents. This seems sad to me.
Marty’s words are as true today as they were over ten years ago. There is an intimacy which comes from simply spending time together, and one of the most valuable aspects of homeschooling is the time it affords families to spend in the company of each other.
Read the entire interview with Marty Lane, in which she talks about how John Holt influenced her thinking, how she and her husband came to “the intellectual decision to homeschool,” why she says “original thinkers are in short supply,” and what she means by “mother time.”