Tuesday, August 11, 2015

More thoughts about learning

I got some pretty insightful responses to my previous post on homeschooling, and I do have to say I'm learning so much along the way and truly enjoying reading everyone's different perspective.

An experienced homeschooling mother writes:

"I would never allow my 6 year old to drive a car, never allow him to choose an adult book to read, never allow him to see inappropriate movies. These are things which require not only restriction when they are young but teaching them discernment as they grow into adulthood. At the same time I will happily direct my child in how to drive a car when he attains the proper age and skills. After years of properly directing and shepherding his character, he may chose to read more adult books and watch more adult movies."

Betty Tracy writes:

"God commands children to obey their parents. Period. Not "obey when they are right or when you feel like it" but just "Obey."

Alycia writes:

"I can also tell you that my need to prove that homeschooling is "working" is waning with each child. I think mothers who have several children with many different personalities, gifts, and temperaments probably lose this need fairly quickly. While society might point to one child as being strange in some way (shy, slow to read, etc.), there will almost always be others in the same family who are exactly the opposite!"

Reading all your personal experiences made me come to the following conclusions:

- Human beings, children included, are flexible and can thrive with different learning approaches.
- I don't need to fear that I'm being inflexible or damage my children's creative spirit when I set a simple task (be it reading, math or whatever). They still have plenty of room for initiative. 
- I don't need to feel guilty every time I set a task a child might not be exactly thrilled about; after all, we do have so much time for free play - most of the day, truly - that my children are a lot better off in this respect than most children. 
- I don't need to re-invent the wheel; there's nothing wrong with using workbooks. 
- Actually, I don't need to fret or feel guilty at all, because as long as we're doing our best and trying out one thing or another, most likely we won't make any irreversible mistakes - if something isn't working, we'll just try something different. 


Susan said...

Hi! I guess you could say I am a homeschool "veteran" in that, while I have only two children, I did homeschool both of them, preK through high school graduation. My son has graduated from college now and my daughter is in college.

Not only do I agree that you do not need to feel guilty for setting a task before your child, I think it is absolutely necessary for character building! As adults, we often have to do tasks that we might find unpleasant or tedious or needing to be done at times when we would rather be doing something else. How are our children to learn to set aside the desires of self in favor of doing that which is necessary unless we give them practice, first in small doses, and then in increasing amounts?

As far as the academics of teaching your children at home goes, having now been able to see the fruits of my home schooling efforts, I think that the most important things that I was able to teach them were, first, the basis of our faith in God so that they might make it their own, and second, the knowledge of how to learn and the love of learning. For a long time, I was afraid of not teaching my children everything they would need to know. I then came to realize that, as long as I have taught them HOW to learn and to love learning, they will be able to (and will be willing to!) fill in any knowledge "gaps" in their education when they need to know it . I have seen this proven to be true with both of my children as they have entered college and adulthood. A love of learning combined with a solid academic foundation and good character will take them far!

Each child is different and you, as the parent, know them far better than anyone else. You can usually tell, fairly quickly, if something you are requiring of them is having a negative rather than a positive effect and you can adjust what you are doing or your expectations as needed. I encourage you to keep up your efforts at the character building and education of your children! I have never regretted the years of my life that I invested in my kids through teaching them at home and I don't think you will either!

Susan B

Mrs. Anna T said...

Thank you, Susan! It was lovely to hear about your experience.

Alycia said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your conclusions.

It is so true that there are few irreversible mistakes that you are likely to make. When new homeschoolers come to me for advice in choosing a curriculum, I always tell them to quickly pick one that seems like a good fit (there are SO many that it could take years to thoroughly research them all), and move forward. It isn't until you are using the materials that you can really get a feel for them. If you don't like them, try something different next year.

In my own case, I chose a classical Catholic curriculum in the beginning. Within two years, I was continuing with the materials that worked for us and gradually switching those that didn't. Now I have my own personal curriculum that is working very well for our family.

I hope that wasn't too off-topic!