By Contributing Writer, Kelly Crawford
I was driving, rather lost in thought, zoned by the double lines in front of me, when he asked the third question.
“But how will they know?”
I had probably answered his first two questions with a half-lying, “I don’t know”, the result of not really listening.
“How will they know how to find my phone number when I have my business?”
I finally snapped out of it and began really answering him and listening to him. For the next thirty minutes, my seven-year-old son and I had the most productive, thoughtful and intriguing conversations I’ve had in a long time about marketing, entrepreneurs and customer demands.
We talked, on a very basic level, about how the phone company gives you a number, and the best ways to distribute that to potential customers. We talked about profit, overhead, and what it takes in terms of character traits to run a successful business.
We talked. He asked questions, I answered. He glowed with inspiration. He spotted trucks with business names on them…”Hey Mom, look, I bet they have their own business. I guess they gave out their phone number too.”
We went home and ordered him some “owner-to-be” business cards and we are still honing the details of how to market your own business. I foresee him owning that dream business of his by the age of sixteen.
Conversation is the simplest and yet, I believe, most profound and valuable tool a homeschooling parent has. Conversation not only teaches by answering questions, but it involves the element of thinking critically, and learning to effectively communicate thoughts.
But we miss it! We miss it in two ways:
- It seems too simple. After all, look at how the professionals educate today’s youngsters. Conversation doesn’t appear to be an important part of it. So we get so busy trying to emulate a method that isn’t even superior, only necessary in a large classroom, and miss out on this crucial element of education.
- We’re too busy. Conversation takes an intentional effort. We must listen, focus, ask questions, often putting our own activities and thoughts aside for the sake of our children. It’s a sacrifice; but one worth making.
The art of conversation, especially among families, is largely disappearing in our culture. Sound-byte technology has replaced it, and we are fragmented in thought, relationship and spirit.
Utilizing the tool of conversation as we homeschool, we transfer knowledge as well as craft in our children the powerful ability to communicate.
Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people. -Jim Rohn
The art of conversation has made me realize why homeschooling is so important, and why learning is really a lifestyle. I’m convinced my children learn far more when their intrigue is met with a listening ear and a willing conversationalist, than they do from the desk work that makes me feel like we’re really accomplishing something. That work is necessary, just not sufficient by itself.
I remember hearing a young lady whose thinking and maturity was advanced well beyond her years, as were those of her siblings. Everyone wanted to know her parents’ “secret”. She told us: “Conversation. The bulk of my schooling involved us talking with Mom and Dad about all sorts of things and them challenging us to defend our beliefs and opinions”.
So, tune in, listen, ask questions and be ready to answers theirs. What do they love? What is it they want to learn more about? If a thoughtful parent engages his child on a regular basis, and nothing else, that child will likely exceed the average student in his ability to communicate his thoughts as well as his knowledge of the world around him.
Don’t miss the conversation!