You have been praying for your son, hard! He is struggling with reading. He just can’t get how to blend two sounds together. You’ve tried everything. You’ve been working hard for a while now, but he doesn’t seem to mind.
Just then, a miracle happens! His eyes light up; he gets a huge smile on his face; he opens his mouth and…BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! He says, “Can I go play now?” and runs off!
Ugh!!! Failure! Well, not complete failure, but what might have happened if the timer hadn’t gone off? What would have happened if you hadn’t limited your learning time? What would have happened if you hadn’t compartmentalized your learning-to-read time into a certain number of minutes?
Who knows?!?! The timer went off, and he ran away!
I can’t know exactly what would have happened, but I do know that I’m trying to raise a life-long learner. Someone who enjoys learning. Someone who sees every moment, every circumstance, every experience as an opportunity to learn. And by using a timer, I’m sending a hidden message, a signal, so to speak, that when that timer goes off, learning is over!
I don’t want to limit learning! After all, one reason I homeschool is because I believe there’s a better approach to learning than the sigh of relief at the sound of the bell heard at the end of a school day! So….what’s the alternative?
It’s simple. Be aware of your time.
Proverbs 27:23 says “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.” While these verses are dealing with shepherds and herdsmen, it can be said that whatever your calling in life, do it well. God has granted us a wonderful opportunity to homeschool the children He has entrusted us with! We should be diligent. Be on task. Be involved. Know the state of thy flock! Know when they’ve had enough or when they need a little more. Know when to stop.
I believe the how is answered in the next part of this verse. It says to look well to thy herds. In other words, know your student.
The best advice I received early in my homeschool journey was to observe my children. I took one week and observed and recorded their natural habits.
This struggling reader I mentioned has a huge imagination and wakes up with big ideas of how he is going to play that day and what he is going to build. Getting him up and starting his school day first thing is only working against his natural internal clock. Instead, we have devotion together, and then I give him a little free time to get those ideas started! 75% of his school day is after lunch. Working with his own needs and habits has allowed him to flourish!
I know I am breaking a “rule” that is on almost every homeschooler’s list of must haves (a timer) and must dos (set the timer). But my advice to you is this: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and “do school” in a way that works for your child. I’ve seen for myself how wonderfully well this approach works for my child, and I think you’ll be surprised at how well it works for you and your family too!
Lanna is a…Wife. Mother. Homeschooler. Servant of the Living God. Friend. Blessed Beyond Measure. Humbled at the Opportunities God sends my way! She lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains where her deep roots have inspired her to keep grounded in this modern age. Check her out at Daily Handfuls of Purpose and follow her on Facebook.