Slow and Steady Homeschooling

I remember about 10 years into homeschooling, I had what I would call an “aha” moment.  I was talking to a seasoned mom that had homeschooled her 6 kids, who were now adults.  We’d been discussing some facets to homeschooling when I realized something very important:  Most of schooling our kids at home is about plodding.  Webster describes plodding as “slow moving and unexciting.”

It’s really not as much about the amazing projects, the  right curriculum,  the method or whether or not we keep up with the scope and sequence chart as it is about being faithful in the basics.  For our family that looked like having our kids (K-8) cover the 3 R’s (reading, writing and math) pretty much everyday.  The other subjects were ones that had more of an ebb and flow.  If the kids got excited about something in particular (usually it was something they had decided to experiment with, not something I initiated), I would listen to their theories and thoughts and ask them questions.  Sometimes they needed help finding resources to learn more, but mostly they took the lead.  

When kids own what they are doing, their ability to retain what they are learning multiplies exponentially.

I always had this gut feeling that my main job was to equip them with the basics…reading, writing and math so that THEY would have the tools they needed to find their passion. I left a good portion of the rest up to them (within reason).  I gave them TIME.

Kids are inherently curious and natural learners ..IF we don’t load them down with too much too soon or make learning a drag.  It’s not our job to keep them entertained, but rather to give them time and space to explore their interests and eventually find out what they are passionate about…what they were made for.

It’s important that our kids associate good feelings with learning in order for them to become lifelong learners.  This is why it’s crucial that we NOT to be in a hurry.  Hurry sucks the life out of learning.  Our kids need to be able to sit with what they are curious about, to have time to think, to problem solve.  While doing this, they also learn a lot about HOW they learn best which will give them a huge advantage as they move into higher learning.

Often we make the grave mistake of comparing ourselves to what we ASSUME other families are doing.  I can guarantee you that things most likely aren’t what they appear to be or what we THINK they look like in someone else’s home.

Making a little bit of progress each day yields FAR better results than trying to do too much. It’s often slow moving and not very exciting, but it’s where a solid foundation is built.

After over 22 years of homeschooling (8 kids), I can tell you that I have no regrets about walking through our homeschooling years at a slower pace.  Our adult kids have thanked us many times for giving them them the time and space they needed for experiment and discovery. (I love sharing our story to encourage moms on my podcast and in my book, The Unhurried Homeschooler.)

We want to ENJOY each season with our kids.  Don’t sacrifice this valuable time on the altar of self driven expectations and unnecessary burdens.  Give yourself and your kids the freedom that comes with time and room to grow.

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