When I started homeschooling my son, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into.
I had been a 5th grade math and science teacher for a decade, but teaching your own children is a different beast. You see, my kids are perfect angels at school, and while still good for me, they let they’re more carefree side show in mama’s presence. I won’t complain because I know this is they’re safe place, but I knew creating a space for learning would have to look different than it did in my public school classroom.
My daughter is super studious and loves to learn. She pours over books, plays school tirelessly, and writes books and agendas for fun. My son, on the other hand, has always been a little more free spirited. While he’s always been on track, I never thought of him as an advanced learner. That all changed when our life became the classroom. With a month, my 4 year old was reading and his math skills were off the charts.
I turned every standard into a game and met him where he was at. I had a 4 year old who loved to play, why not just play with him? Some people disagree that learning must take place in the old fashioned way with paper and pencil, but with a decade in the classroom, my observations are far more wide spread than through my lens as a mother. I reflected back on my time in the classroom and recognized the things I did that truly made gains with my students.
*discussion based learning
*reading for fun
*allowing students the chance to see their self worth through conversations, growth mindset, literature, activities that nurture their non-acaedmic talents, etc
I began to see him as a learner who grew when he was engaged and having fun and nothing was fun about a worksheet, nothing was fun about writing when his poor little hands hadn’t developed the fine motor skills yet to master proper pencil holding. All that would come, IN TIME.
Imagine a classroom where you meet a kid where they’re at, engage them in lessons they want to learn, and modify when things aren’t going well. While that is the goal of every public school teacher, with a classroom of 22 (sometimes x 6) that’s just not feasible to meet all students where they’re at. Enter the beauty of homeschooling. You, the parent, can serve as the teacher and modify the lesson to meet the exact needs of your child.
If I learned nothing else as a teacher, I learned that when kids love learning, they will learn so much more. Challenge yourself to stop when things aren’t going well. If you feel frustrated or they feel frustrated, give yourself the grace to pause and ask “do we need to persevere or can we find a new approach?” I thought my son struggled with math until I pulled the board games out. Questions that had once made him cry were easily answered when it meant that Captain American could avoid the chutes and climb the ladder. PLUS, who doesn’t want to spend a day cozied up playing board games with their kids?