I feel like the entire intent behind this post could be summed up with Charlotte Mason quotes:
“Look on education as something between the child’s soul and God. Modern Education tends to look on it as something between the child’s brain and the standardized test.” Charlotte Mason
My kids and I had a talk this morning about what is my most important goal as their mother. I told them it is to do three things: to point them to Jesus, to raise them to have true integrity, and to have them love learning. This post is about the last section of that goal, however it will never be independent of the first goal! All of education with my kids is intended to point them to Jesus! (also we had ample material for discussing integrity today when it came to going over work done by child number 2 who thought if she went fast enough Mama would forget to check her work…)
The topic for this blog came to me because I think people often (with the best intentions) complicate homeschooling. It seems like many new homeschool moms I talk to attempt to fit a public school schedule into a homeschool day.
Can I ask…why?
I like to remember that homeschooling is about more than just transferring knowledge from adult to child in a matter that produces high test scores. It is about instilling a love of learning, of teaching the how and why and not just the what.
There is always a certain amount of drudgery contained in necessary work such as completing an adding sheet or memorizing the sight words, but it is that way in all of life and school is a great way for children to learn to get through it without losing heart. I would warn any new homeschoolers, however, that all of school should not be drudgery!
I love to take the chances during the day to call a break, announce a ten minute clean up and end that clean up with a reward of a game, a tea party, or a trip outside to the woods. I hope this will help my children associate a tidy house and a quick clean up with something good, not as a “we have to clean the house again“. My display of calm joy in this time is essential for how they react to it! I see it as an opportunity for me teach them something of real value in the midst of the school day.
I know that cleanliness may seem of little value to some people, but to me it exemplifies responsibility with what the Lord has given you. Teaching them this at a young age is important to me!
I also work very hard on teaching my kids recall of information. I want them to be able to talk about what they are learning in history as people who understand the story of it all and not just a few dates and names. Our learning is so conversational. This is one of my favorite parts about homeschooling! My six year old understands certain things some fifth graders probably don’t because she hears our conversation. Over dinner this evening we talked about why a water bottle we had cracked when it was left in the van overnight. “It cracked because it froze!” says the boy. “Actually, Jonah, it cracked because all matter takes up space, and air is matter, so the air was taking up space!” replied Ayla, the nine year old. “How does the air taking up space make the bottle crack..?” prodded Daddy, who has been getting in on these learning opportunities a lot lately. “Because as water freezes it expands and takes up more space, and the air was already taking up all the free space in the bottle. It increased the pressure and the only thing the bottle could do was crack!” explains 11 year old Evelyn. Daddy looked up at me and smiled “Well I guess homeschool is kind of okay then.” He says this sarcastically because of how much he has come to love homeschooling, and how hard it was for him to wrap his “homeschoolers are weird” brain around having those type of weird children.
These little episodes are so encouraging to me! It shows me that it’s working. The hope I have for them to gain a deep seeded desire to pursue knowledge, interest, and excellence in whatever it may be is growing. I want this to push them as adults to not settle for just a death scroll (i.e. clicking the next reel and the next and so on…)on social media. I want them to be the people who are doers!
“Our aim in education is to give a full life. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking – the strain would be too great – but, all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest.” ~ Charlotte Mason
Charlotte always says it so well!
Reminders: you don’t have to have a set schedule. You don’t have to start by a certain time at the same time every day. You don’t even have to wear regular clothes. You can talk about things instead of doing desk work and still have your children learn in incredible amount of information. You don’t have to have a five year old that knows all their ABC’s if they aren’t ready. Take advantage of the gift of homeschooling and cut the desire to meet everyone else’s standards out of your life! Pay attention to the cues from your kids, how they learn, what they love to learn, and dig into it!