A wise friend once said, “When you say Yes to one thing, you automatically say NO to something else.”
For 16 years my family said Yes to homeschooling, and when I said Yes to teaching our children, I also personally said No to other things. Now that my homeschool experience has ended, I look back over the years and I realize there were times when I, the teacher should have said Yes to certain things more often in our home school.
More of Saying Yes to Learning and No to Check-the-box.
Too often I maintained a just-get-it-done attitude. Teaching multiple children, I fell in the trap of focusing on getting assignments done rather than learning. “Done” is not necessarily “learned,” and I often equated the two. Perhaps students could regurgitate the information but could they apply it? Was the knowledge actually “theirs” now or did it just pass on through?
There were also times when my kids might, for example, find a rare tree frog outside and were fascinated. That was not the time to stop and go to spelling. That was the time to encourage their inquisitiveness and perhaps study amphibians or a tree frog’s unique characteristics. Spelling could be done later in the day. Or we could add frog anatomy terminology to our spelling list. Learning rather than the agenda should have been my taskmaster.
More of Saying Yes to Individual Development and No to the Cookie Cutter.
I know my children are unique individuals, but when it came to teaching them I would often grab my cookie cutter and go to work. The curriculum I loved and was best for my oldest son was excruciating for a younger. By golly, though, we were “gonna make it work.” We pulled our hair and waded through lessons far too long until I finally said no to my favorite curriculum and said yes to a different approach. Learning is not linear. There may be stops and starts, digressions, speeding up and slowing down. Home education naturally allows for this fluidity. Even though a specific program may be working, a student may need to speed up or slow down depending on the particular concept challenges. Discerning and responding to the God-given uniqueness of each child should have been my recipe.
More of Saying Yes to the Imperfect and No to the Perfect.
Are you sitting down? I have an announcement to make.
Wait for it . . . . There is no ideal home school!
Whew! I’ve said it. No perfect curriculum, teacher or students. Really.
Now embrace it. There were times when I expected miracles from my curriculum. I subconsciously told myself, “This one will solve all our problems; This one will make my son brilliant.” Even the most outstanding curriculum needs a teacher to fine tune directly for the students and family.
I also expected perfection from myself and my students. All these unreasonable expectations put undue pressure on me and the students. There is a difference between doing our best and expecting no flaws. Reality and fair expectations should have been my plumb line.
Say Yes more often in your home school. Home educating is a wonderful, day to day opportunity to take your child’s hand and guide them to grow in wisdom and knowledge. Do your best, give God glory and let Him guide your choices. Home education is a gift. Say yes each moment.