Updated: May 16, 2020
The final step in having more F.U.N. and helping your children regain their education.
Never Underestimate Our Capacity to Learn
“True education doesn’t cost a penny.” - John Taylor Gatto
We don’t need structured classes and curriculum to learn. Some of our most valuable lessons are learned just living our lives. These three things have been the most important building blocks of our homeschool learning.
If I had to choose one thing that has impacted my parenting, teaching, and personal growth the most, it is reading. I don’t just mean what I read for myself, but also the copious amounts of reading we did as a family.
Hours after my children were born, I was reading to them. I read everything from board books, to literature, to legal briefs. Yes, legal briefs. My oldest was fascinated by a motion I was preparing to argue in Federal Court, at 2.5 weeks old. No, he is not planning on becoming a lawyer, and he turned out to be a wonderful young man, despite my husband’s fears.
Our homeschool routine included reading books out loud for hours every single day. Each morning while we homeschooled I would read from William J. Bennet’s, The Book of Virtues and we would then tie the lessons in with the Bible. This reflected our family’s priorities and values, promoted impacting and often silly conversations, and helped us grow closer together. It also allowed me a window into my children’s interests, thought processes, and skills.
I believe what we read is as important as how much we read, and I am a huge fan of classic literature and biographies. Classic literature hones writing skills and elevates our vocabulary. Biographies provide insight and wisdom that help us navigate life. Even if you or your child struggles with dyslexia or a visual processing disorder, as 2 of my children do, you can read to them, listen to audio books, and watch great documentaries to supplement reading actual books. I believe reading good books is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children and leads to life-long learning.
“All experience is education for the soul.” - Unknown
Nothing imprints on our brain like experiences that broaden our perspective, make us laugh, or create a sense of wonder and awe. Our learning grows exponentially when we can connect things we read or hear with the world around us. Time in nature allows us to internalize that we are but one piece of a complex and beautiful world. The freedom and time to explore our world breaks down barriers and brings understanding and joy. Experience brings wisdom.
While it’s a little tough right now to get out and about as my family always has, exploring museums, parks, nature centers, and all the wonderful things your area has to offer, you can still make plans for the near future. Many museums offer virtual tours that you can use to plan a trip with your kids, or travel somewhere that is far away. Check out Google Arts and Culture https://artsandculture.google.com/ for some amazing tours of world museums.
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” - John Crosby
Mentoring is near to my heart. I had mentors before I realized that’s what they were. Some of my mentors were also my teachers and coaches, Mrs. Tucker in 6th grade, Coach Karen, Mrs. Spieglemeyer. Yet mentors can be found everywhere, and I often encourage people to have different mentors for different aspects of their lives. They can be an older sibling, parent, other family member, youth leader, neighbor.
Mentors empower us to learn and grow, challenge us to become the best version of ourselves. They come alongside us and help us to see possibilities that we cannot.
Here are a few questions to ask when considering who would make a good mentor:
Do they have more life experience than I do?
Do they challenge me to think differently?
Are they encouraging?
Can they tell me ‘no’?
Mentors are not there to tell us what we want to hear, but to see us for the unique person that we are, and dream with us about who we will become.
So while this time is unique and unprecedented, I hope you view it as an opportunity to explore new ways to teach your children, and re-think what schooling should really look like.
If you're considering home-schooling full time, and want someone to come alongside you and help you skip some of the growing pains, please don't hesitate to set up 30 minutes with me (on the house :) ).