The power of homeschooling cannot be denied. Would these historic men and women have been able to sharpen and strengthen their natural abilities if they had not been allowed the freedom of exploration? If they had been denied the time to research and study subjects of interest? If the security of home had been taken away at an early age? These are answers we will never know. But one thing is certain, by allowing children the freedom of homeschooling; their chances of success are indisputable.
Homeschooling, even though the concept is an ancient one, is finally becoming more acceptable to our modern society. Today, more than two million families are choosing this alternative to education. It is a very exciting time to be learning at home. Because of modern technology, the possibilities of what a student can learn in the comfort and security of home are literally – endless! It is easier now more than ever to be able to find a book, a mentor, a subject, etc. that will enhance and excite the student and teacher.
Just talking about homeschooling, makes me very excited. Helping a child bring forth his or her exclusive God-given gifts and natural talents is like walking on uncharted ground. This is completely new territory, because each individual is unique, and can offer something that no one else has offered before. Can you imagine that? Your child has something special deep within, that no one before or after, can give to our society. Your job as a parent, teacher, and mentor is to find what that special gift is, and bring it out into our world.
How? You ask. How will I know what my child’s natural talents are? The answer: Your child knows and will teach you. He or she will do this by showing an interest in certain areas, and by being more adept at certain things. Your job is to become a discoverer – an explorer, and teach your child to do the same.
Every moment of every day offers its own gifts that need to be explored. If you are burdened with text-books and kids not wanting to complete their school work; something needs to change. School should be thrilling and stimulating at all times. If the student becomes bored, chances are he or she is not learning. Teachers need to always be rousing the child’s interests. Making getting an education an intriguing and thought provoking experience.
Start by taking the child to the library. Go to the non-fiction section. Have the child find something that interests him on any subject. Your son may find a book on how an airplane is built. From there you can teach the subjects of history, science, physics, math, ingenuity, bravery, wisdom, etc. Your daughter might show an interest in the art painted by Grandma Moses. This opens up subjects on Colonial times, weather, color, relationships, perspective, rituals, holidays, etc.
The child should be encouraged to explore and teach themselves. All education is actually self-education, because you really cannot make a student learn something they do not care about learning. However, the child must understand, to have the freedom of self-educating, one must first learn how to read, write, add and subtract, and so on. Once a good foundation is in place, little guidance from you is necessary, and the child can practically teach himself.
(I would like to note here that it is important for any teacher to continue learning right along with the student. As a teacher, mentor, and parent you must be even more diligent about learning than your student. Every day you must be studying and learning too. If you do not know proper usage of verbs, commas, and so on, it will not be easy correcting your child’s papers without a text book answer key. Anything you want to learn can be found at the touch of a button, so you really have no excuses. You will be able to guide your children better if you take the time to better yourself on a daily basis.)
Text books do have their place, but they should be used as only a guide and not a crutch. It should be an interesting and a fun challenge when the student takes the tests inside these books. I was a great student of compulsory schooling. I could remember facts and figures long enough to take the test and ace it. Sorry to say, I really didn’t remember most of these facts for very long, because they really didn’t impress me much. Children do need to learn some mundane and foundational facts, but most of the time they can do this by learning through things they are interested in knowing.
A great way, that I mention in my book, The ABC’s of Homeschooling, is to make the child keep a journal. You can use the journal as a spelling test, a grammatical tutorial, ensure proper punctuation, and many more wonderful things. I love sitting down on our big comfy couch and going over my children’s journals and completed school work. This is a wonderful way to stay close to your children and communicate with them. I like to call it “Nesting.” Every day, I go over individually with each of my children, their lessons and assignments for the day. At this time, I also give them something to study and complete for the next day. When they wake up in the morning, they already know what is on their agenda.
Another very important principle to note here is: Even though the content of material may not be structured, you must have a specific time set aside each day for learning. This is something that cannot be compromised. You should get up in the morning knowing when you will start school, and how long it will last. Rhythm, routine, and rituals will make your life run smoother.