When you think of homeschooling you probably think about educating your children. Giving them a love for learning. Teaching them the important things in life and guiding them along a path that will lead them to a successful life. But, another aspect of homeschooling is what the parents learn through this journey.
I never dreamed I would be the one gaining so much from teaching my children to read or write or do that math problem. Teaching is one of my “gifts”. I just love it and love seeing the rewards from it. I also love that I can learn right along with my children.
The most important lesson I have learned through homeschooling didn’t come from a book or a unit study or a website. It didn’t come from a seminar I attended or another mom giving me advice. It came from my own children. That lesson is that I learned to really listen to my children.
It might seem like such a small thing to some people. But, listening is a huge part of my day. If we are doing a lesson and my child is having a hard time, I listen to them talk about the struggle of that particular problem. When I do this, I can refocus their attention on something else for a while and give them a break from the problem. If I didn’t listen to them they would continue to struggle and think there was something wrong with them.
Listening gives me a better understanding of what my child needs from me. If a particular curriculum or book is causing my child heartache because they just don’t get it, I move on to something else and come back to it later. This takes the attention off of the problem and gives my child a lesson on something they love and enjoy.
I also talk to my children about what they want to learn about. For instance, in science I ask them what subjects they are interested in. One may say the solar system and another may say dinosaurs. I can plan our science curriculum around their interests instead of what some book says they “must” learn. It’s good to have guidelines but when they are young it is good to explore the things they like to learn about. This instills in them a love for learning. It gives them an excitement for learning new things.
I listen to what they tell me and evaluate the situation from there. If I feel like the child just isn’t trying, then we work together to solve the problem. If they are genuinely struggling, we move on until they are ready to face the challenge. I know lots of people won’t agree with me on this, but it has worked wonderfully in my home. My children truly love learning. They give it their all when we are doing our school work and even take initiative to do some of it by themselves without me asking.
We still have our struggles and are not even close to being perfect. But, in this one area of listening to my children, it has helped us to communicate a lot better and for me to understand what my children really need from me as a mom and teacher.
There is an amazing seminar on DVD that Dianne Craft (speaker and educator) has put together. It is called “Struggling Learner”. I have heard parts of this seminar and it is exceptional. She has so much knowledge to share on how to get your struggling learner to be a strong learner.