I receive a lot of questions from moms out there who are interested in homeschooling, and from moms who are trying to take the leap into taking charge of their children’s education. Most of those questions fall into two categories: the help-me-I-don’t-know-where-to-start questions and the I-still-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing questions.
I can relate. When I started the journey of teaching my children, all I wanted was for someone to give me a road map for success. Unfortunately, my tendency in educating my kids was bent towards re-creating my own learning history growing up. I made the mistake early on attempting to re-create public education for my children inside my school. I set up a classroom, I decorated it to the 9’s, and I spent hours making my dining room into our official school room. All of those things were great — and had great motives. I truly wanted to give my children the best education possible. The problem was my only grid for education was in a system that didn’t do much for me as a student. Sure, I was a “gifted student” in school. But that was simply because I was great at memorizing material and decoding tests.
Learning to shape my children’s education meant that I needed to learn with them. I would have first un-learn everything I thought I knew about teaching and learning. And, I had to make the choice to learn alongside my children — to personalize and individualize their learning.
I have friends who have become so burnt out on homeschooling because they have been stuck around a table reading from books and having their children fill out endless worksheets on material they thought they needed to know. I’ve been there. I think all moms know that sense of panic that consumes you as a parent from time to time when it comes to your children meeting pre-set learning milestones.
When our first born was born 14 weeks early and weighed only a little over a pound, I knew that feeling more than most. I obsessed over if she would be “normal”, if she would walk and talk when she “was supposed to” and I panicked most months about the what if’s. Nearly five years later, I have a daughter who is ahead of her age for learning. And guess what, it’s not because I knew the answers to the panic that consumed me in those early years. Her intelligence and wins in her journey in life has been because she is a fighter — and her wins have been because of what is inside of her — not in how good of a mom I was.
My best piece of advice for moms who are jumping into teaching their children is this: be a mom who sees a need and meets it. Forget about making up needs that aren’t there. Forget what the needs of other children are. What does YOUR child need? What do they need NOW?
Individualizing instruction is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children in homeschooling. It means that you can call out the greatness — the gold — in your children. You can meet them where they are at and journey with them on their road of discovering the world around them. And guess what? You can have adventures — you don’t have to be stuck around a table. You don’t have to follow a system that has failed you.
My son loves movement. He is a natural ball of energy and I have had to learn to give him opportunities to live out his learning with all of his senses. He needs movement to learn. Dance and movement is so important to preschool development because they are meant to learn the world around them with all of their senses.
This month, we raised caterpillars and watched butterflies being “born” right before our eyes. It has been a great learning experience for our family. We have a great curriculum team that helps make our learning adventures that much more thrilling. If you haven’t checked out Mother Goose Time Curriculum click on the link and see what we use.
And if you’re a parent who is struggling with the mountain in front of you of teaching your children, know this truth: you are exactly what your child needs. They need YOU. If you are needing a place to start with teaching your children, I’d encourage you to study your kids. Get to know them. Find out what their needs are and begin to meet and address those needs one by one. Find a great resource team for helping fulfill your goals in learning. And remember to create memories — because those just might be the greatest gift homeschooling will give your family.