There are four previous posts I have shared about our Homeschooling journey, you can read them in the Homeschooling section.
This is our last year of homeschooling our daughter Liliana, from the 2nd day of Prep through her high school years to year 12 (now) plus she is in the 2nd year of her University studies. Yes you read that right, by allowing Liliana to work at her own pace, follow her own curiosity, hold space for learning and creativity and focus she started University early. Am I proud? Absolutely! Did my husband and I push her, the answer is a definite no. Each year we revised what was working, what wasn’t, always asked ourselves was homeschooling still the best fit. Allowed ourselves the freedom to change things if needed. There were a few times it felt like a conventional school setting maybe a better option (was there curriculum offering more opportunities) and funny enough while out and about I would by chance meet a parent who had a child the same age as Lil going to a school we were considering, each time that parent shared their concerns about the school and wished they could homeschool as well. Obviously we stayed with homeschooling and we added extra to the curriculum, what was age and stage appropriate. In hindsight I was doubting my abilities and not truely focusing (or celebrating) on how much Lil was actually thriving.
In recent days I have been reflecting on the big lessons I have learnt as a homeschooling parent. Ideas and strategies that have evolved. Something that we decided right from the start was not to push. Pushing or forcing a child to do something just brings resistance and negative behaviour patterns can arise from it. Negative behaviour patterns towards the subject/activity or you. Nobody needs that. It creates friction around the learning environment and the relationship you have with your child.
The focus for us has always been on creating and maintaining a peaceful home and learning environment. Children naturally want to learn, create, learn about different things they are personally interested in. When you hold space for that a child naturally progresses. It might not be as fast as a standard curriculum suggests but remember a standard curriculum is teach a large group with a time frame they need to move through in order to complete work for standards and accreditation. How many children get left behind in a standard system. What I have learnt is when a subject is deeply learnt it will take a little longer but the learning trajectory will be faster because there is a strong foundation that is the understanding.
I want to leave you with this analogy, think of the child as the plant. You don’t push a plant to grow. You make sure there is a perfectly good growing medium (well drained soil), you plant the plant in the best conditions possible (enough sunshine, food, and shelter from the elements), you add support when needed, water when necessary, tend the plant and allow the plant to bloom and flourish. You aren’t there everyday growling at the plant to grow, pushing it to grow and nor should you do that to your homeschooler.
A child’s learning will progress naturally. We all learn in different ways. If you see that your child is struggling with a particular subject, ask yourself how can you open up the awareness about the subject in a different way. Here is an example for Primary School, Liliana grasped the concept of adding, subtracting, and multiplying, I could see that division and fractions wasn’t sinking in as well, so we cooked together everyday Lil had to measure everything using the smaller cups then I would also throw in easier division questions while we were chatting away as we cooked and worked up to harder questions and she would make up questions for me, we also played that game in the car. This helped Lil see division in a different way, using it in a practical setting and also doing it in a fun way. It took the pressure off, dissolved any frustration.
There are so many external expectations placed on our children (again part of the traditional schooling system), when we homeschool there is space to understand how your child learns best. We all learn in different ways. I learn best by watching someone demonstrate something first then referring back to my own written notes or supplied instructions if I need them. What about you? Do you work better by listening to something or maybe watching instructions?
A suggestion: The VIA Institute (www.viacharacter.org) has a great online quiz for your child to do that can help you learn more about how to present your lessons. For example one of Liliana’s top 5 character strengths is Team work. You read correctly, an only child who homeschools and her one of her top five strengths is teamwork. (An interesting fact: Schools around Australia are now gaining government funding to implement the VIA Institute survey to enable teachers to help students better!)
I wish you well, as always take what resonates and park the rest for later or never. It goes without saying but if you are new here you may have missed it: sharing our homeschooling journey is specific to our family choices, the choices we made are not a judgement on you on your family choices. I prefer not to go down the comparing and judging road we all need to learn to respect each others choices even though we may not always understand them.
Much love, Jude x
Homeschooling #5 Learning
February 17, 2021