A few days ago I decided to search for some basic things I can begin teaching Zoe now that will help her to develop some good skills that will help her once she begins homeschooling.
In my searching I began reading about the different methods of homeschooling. The one that has impressed me the most is the Charlotte Mason Method. It is exactly what I was hoping to find!
As I was reading about this method on the website I came across this article on their blog: A Parent's Chief Duty - Early Homeschooling, Part 1. This article is geared more towards preschool aged children, but it has given me a good perspective on Zoe's early years and what I should be teaching her at this time.
Charlotte Mason outlined two chief duties for parents.
“To form in his child right habits of thinking and behaving is a parent’s chief duty.” (Vol. 2, p. 228).
Molding and shaping your child’s character with good habits is your first priority. If your day is too crowded to allow you time to stop and deal with bad habits, it’s too crowded.
“To nourish a child daily with loving, right, and noble ideas we believe to be the parent’s next duty.” (Vol. 2, p. 228).
Feed your child’s mind with good and right ideas every day. Remember that a child soaks up a lot from his surroundings. So make sure everything you give him is wholesome and nourishing, including the atmosphere in which he grows. Feed his mind on what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, excellent, virtuous, praise-worthy.
Not only will this benefit her when she begins homeschooling but it will benefit her decision making for the rest of her life. It's true that a child does soak up a lot from his or her surroundings. This is why it is so important to bring our children up in the way of the Lord. Lately I've really been convicted of many of my actions. The way I react to stress, what I do with my time, the words that I say, the manner in which I say those words - it all contributes to Zoe's character. Zoe watches everything I do and she has already begun to imitate the things that I do and say. If I want my daughter to live in a way that exemplifies Christ, I must first be a good example for her to follow.
Last night I was reading in Nancy Leigh Demoss' book "Lies Women Believe" about how her parents made sure that she and her siblings's minds were filled with only what was good and true. The outcome of her parents "sheltering" was not a group of children who were so sheltered from the culture that they could not function in the "outside world", but rather the opposite! These children were so well equipped with the knowledge of truth that they were about to go out into the world and thrive in it because they knew how to make good decisions, they were equipped to handle everything the world threw at them, they knew how to handle tough situations, they knew how to love and encourage and pray for the people they interacted with, and most importantly they each had a personal relationship with their savior Jesus Christ.
That is my hope and prayer for Zoe.