In the hustle and bustle of carpools, school lunches, and over-scheduling kids, many parents may not be realizing that they are re-creating their children in their own images; images that the children, as they move towards their own individual identities, may not be completely comfortable with. If a mother has her daughter on the path to be a ballerina or a father has his son grinding on the gridiron to become the next Tom Brady, what they may not be realizing is that they could be doing more harm than good.
In the new series of by-kids-for-kids self-help books, Evans siblings Michael (age 11), Matthew (age 10) and Jocelyn (age 7) each pen enjoyable stories with nuggets of wisdom that children can use as tools in their everyday lives. All three books (”Never Judge a Fish on its Ability to Climb a Tree”, “The Fight for Greatness” and “Your First 10 Years of Life”) are meant to entertain kids and encourage them with new ideas on how they can navigate the tumultuous years of childhood. Each book holds it’s own unique fundamental message for today’s parents: let us be kids!
Michael, Matthew and Jocelyn are all homeschooled by their father, the senior Michael Evans, a life and career coach and author of the new book, “Borrowed Theme: A Bundle of Thoughts That Are Never Ours”. Evans says he chose to homeschool his children because he disagreed with the core philosophy of today’s educational system that teaches children according to a rigid set of standardized rules. “Today’s schools are simply creating carbon copies of people they perceive as successful,” Michael Evans argues. Instead of toiling away in a classroom, his children’s days consist of two hours of math, literature and science, followed by one hour of mindfulness, plenty of exploring, and writing. Michael Evans explains more;
Helping three kids become published authors must have been a daunting challenge, especially since you are home schooling them as well. Well, you know, I incorporate literature (into our daily lessons). It’s a big part of what we do. The kids get a lecture every day. It’s almost like Tony Robbins standing in front of them, motivating them. The three lessons (they write about) in the books were their favorite lessons at the time. I told them to pick a lesson and we went step-by-step through the publishing process and that was actually part of their lesson.
When some people hear that parents are choosing to “home school,” they recoil and disagree strongly. Is it difficult to ignore critics? In the beginning, when I first started home schooling my children, I felt the need to defend what I was doing. I was taking a chance on what I believed was the right thing. Now, two years later, having children that can have real conversations about topics they find interesting and also write books about them, I know what I am doing is the right thing for my children.
How do you decide what you are going to teach your kids when home schooling? You essentially have a blank canvas. Absolutely. We study social studies by visiting other countries and meeting the people that live there. We don’t focus our time on wars and battle dates. We are not religious, but we do study religion because it is the study of people. We have read the Bible, the Koran. We study them as literature, the same way others might study Romeo and Juliet. We investigate the books. We contemplate them and we laugh a lot. My kids are seven, ten and eleven, and it’s interesting, my daughter said to me once “I don’t understand. In court, people put their hand on the Bible and that means they have to be truthful”? The irony of what is in the book and an oath to tell the complete truth; she totally got that.
Children are growing up in a culture where gay people have been around their entire childhood, yet there will always be areas of life, be it religion or geographically, where homosexuality will still be looked at as wrong. The problem itself is big government running schools, and religion being injected into schools. In an effort to escape the common core, I enrolled my children in Catholic school. We went in with an attitude that it was literature. (But then), my daughter was told that she was going to hell because my brother is gay. And she accepted it! I went in on a family day and listened in on what the priest was saying. He was quoting conversations between Jesus and his father. Naturally, I raised my hand and I asked the priest where he read these specific conversations. He had not read it anywhere because they didn’t exist. He told me that he was basically “filling in the gaps”. That was a big problem for me. Everything he was saying was bullshit. It led to me meeting with all my kids’ teachers, as well as the principal, where I described a guy, a good person who would never hurt a fly, just an all around great person who loves everyone. I asked them what would happen if he was gay. They told me he would go to hell. They made my decision very easy; we were outta there.
How would you describe the philosophy of your family? We think outside of the box. That is where the lessons come from in Matthew’s “The Fight for Greatness” and in Jocelyn’s “Your First Ten Years of Life...Is Only 164 Days. Here’s Why.” It is our lifestyle. It’s a huge part of who we are.
What kind of future would you like for your kids? We discuss it all the time. They all say they want to continue writing. They like the feedback they get from other kids and, lets be honest, they enjoy the money. They see me writing books. They see that I can work at home from my laptop when I want to, and I am making a decent living from it. I am teaching them to no fit into a system. They know that and we talk about it. I believe they can go anywhere they want from here.
Follow the kids on Twitter @EvansKidsBooks & Michael Evans at www.therealmatrixbook.net