There are a good many things I wish I had done differently when I look back over the choices I made when I homeschooled my children. Too often, I abided by the “rules” of the status quo, focusing my curriculum selection on areas that would have little application in the present or future lives of my children. I would have focused less on geometric theorems, for example, and more on practical subjects that would help my children maneuver their way more effectively through adulthood. But, as they say, hindsight is twenty-twenty, and I’m happy to share some of my thoughts with those still actively engaged in home education.
Healthy nutrition is a subject that is grossly overlooked and needs to be brought to the forefront of the life of a child. Too often a mother has a difficult time improving the family diet because she has allowed poor choices to become staples in her kitchen/pantry.
Most moms recognize the health benefits of breastfeeding over processed formulas. But, as the children grow, the heavily-processed American diet works its way into their lives and stomachs. As the mom begins to realize the effect this has had on her own physical well-being and attempts to make a change, the resistance of children and husband can be quite discouraging.
In my case, right after I had my third child at the age of thirty-nine, my doctor advised me that I should stay away from wheat. His exact words were, “If you don’t make this change, you will be looking at colon cancer in ten to twenty years.” I took his advice to heart, and actually followed it for a while. But, the fact that my family rejected the idea that my diet had to be theirs finally made me give up. I went back to eating just like everyone else so that my life would be easier.
My doctor was twenty years ahead of the popular “gluten free” diet of today. Interestingly, years later, both my husband (because of arthritis) and my daughter (because of ulcerative colitis) were advised to give up wheat and gluten products. Both have found positive relief as a result. As a result, it was easy for me to return to the original advice I had been given. Oh that I had stuck to my guns and educated my family on the wisdom of the dietary change and avoided these issues!
Along with teaching children the catechism, times tables, and the parts of speech, etc., it is imperative that we begin early on to talk to them about nutrients, how the body uses and digests food, what is beneficial in a diet, and what is not. They need to understand how processed food and a diet full of sugar (sodas, desserts, etc.) will have a cumulative effect on their health in years to come. Why wait for a small section of a biology textbook to begin this discussion when your children have already established eating habits? You can start with some simple concepts and continually build upon them.
I had a rude awakening this past summer and, by God’s grace, have been able to make some substantial changes in the way I view my responsibility for my own health and the health of my family. It’s funny how a scare will do that to you. But, I desire to do more than just keep what I’ve learned to myself. I want to help women regain control of the health and well-being of their families (like women of previous eras did) by learning how to prevent disease and promote longevity.
Sure, we are all going do die someday. But I am committed to do my best to die healthy!!