We all have our reasons for homeschooling, but most of us realized that a classroom environment was NOT the best place for our kids to learn. So why is it that so many of us try to reinvent the classroom in our homes? School should revolve around home … not the other way around.
Much of it comes down to our own experience with school. It’s most likely the only experience we have to draw from. But is that really a good enough reason?
What would happen if we looked at learning from a totally different vantage point? What if we were convinced that learning happens everyday in every situation…Because. IT. DOES.
Our children are born learners. From the time they exit the womb, they are learning! The first year of their lives more brain connections are made than we can imagine! They begin to smile, coo, sit up, crawl, and walk. All of these are huge milestones and for the most part, they come very naturally. However, you would NEVER expect a 3-month-old to walk…because he simply isn’t ready yet. Instead, we patiently wait for the cues that he is ready to start trying. We don’t get angry or upset, but instead we practice and encourage, practice and encourage. We don’t force that baby to keep trying to walk if he clearly isn’t ready! We wait. Why do we not take the same approach when it comes to education? It’s so easy to FREAK OUT if our kids are not reading at 4 or 5 or 6. But what if your child simply isn’t ready yet? Does it really matter if he reads at 5 or at 6?
After homeschooling for over 20 years (8 kids), I can tell you IT DOES NOT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE. What WILL make a difference is how we approach learning with our kids. If we bring stress and pressure into our home learning environment, our kids are going to HATE it (and so will we). They will associate stress and negative feelings with learning and, I don’t know about you, but that is NOT what I want for my kids!
What we DO want is to create a loving secure environment that encourages our kids to learn, and you’d be surprised how much learning they will do ON THEIR OWN if we just give them time and space. The greatest need our young children have is to know they are loved and safe. Because this is foundational for a truly complete education, we cannot bypass it or we short change the learning process.
That is something that a classroom cannot achieve. The beauty of a home learning environment is that most of the time, the kids don’t even realize they are learning. Honestly, as parents, we don’t either. We often don’t give enough credit to how much our kids learn just living life together, exploring, experimenting, and having conversations. In fact, that is where MOST of our kids’ learning really happens! In the early elementary years, the best foundation we can lay for upper level education is to keep the home as free from school “pressure” as possible! This doesn’t mean our days are without boundaries. In fact, a consistent, healthy routine of normal meals, bedtimes, work, and play are key, but trying to drill facts into their young, undeveloped minds and bodies can make for an unnecessarily miserable homeschooling journey.
Instead, their days can be filled with fun adventures like baking, building forts, playing outside, finding/examining bugs, taking walks, learning to work alongside of us, reading to them, and so much more! These should be days of making memories from simply living life together. Encouraging our kids to engage in the REAL world around them is absolutely foundational for them to become life long learners, but this means that YOU are going to have to relax and trust your child’s natural ability and desire to learn. Creating loving, secure surroundings for your children to wake up to each day causes their little brains and bodies to work together in a way that makes learning a delight and something they look forward to!
Don’t exchange the joy and freedom that homeschooling affords for slavery to checklists, unnecessary expectations, and piles of curriculum! Embrace it for what it was meant to be and ENJOY these precious little ones you have been blessed with! You can never get this time back again. The days are long, but the years are short! Spend it as a family, making loving, fun memories with your kids! You will NEVER regret it!
If you love Durenda’s perspective and veteran-homeschooling-mama wisdom, you are going to be THRILLED to learn she has a new ebook that just published… The Unhurried Homeschooler!! Durenda gently reminds parents about the things that really matter, as she offers a clear portrait of what a life-giving home life can be during the homeschooling years.