Note: In lieu of my regular gratitude posts, this summer I joined with The Pelsers for the 7 Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential book club. This week we’re discussing Chapter 7 — “Providing Stimulating Academics.” The book club is drawing to a close, so be on the lookout for a switch back to Multitude Mondays / 1000 Gifts posts very soon!
Although I now believe there are much bigger issues to tackle (see the links to other posts from this series at the bottom of this post), providing homeschool academics was initially my biggest concern. Although I had taught in the public school system, I had never taught lower than fourth grade. Could I really teach my own children to read? What if I didn’t teach them everything they needed to know? What if I left gaps in their education?
At first, I had a hard time getting past these thoughts. I had to slow myself down and think clearly, remembering that I had never taught my students in the public school everything either. In fact, we rarely had time to finish the curriculum for the year. I began to breathe more easily as I realized that I don’t have to teach my children everything. I just need to provide them with a solid, well-rounded education and teach them how to find what they need to know. I need to raise independent learners.
The curriculum I chose for my older daughter got us through our first official year, but it wasn’t completely satisfying to either of us. We finally found what worked and still use that curriculum for her language arts, math, and reading. I assumed we would use the same curriculum for my younger daughter, but it didn’t work out that way.
Well before Thanksgiving of her kindergarten year, it became obvious that my younger daughter has major learning differences. Everything I thought I knew about homeschooling went out the window, and I had to reevaluate again.
Then it hit me. The beauty of homeschooling is the ability to be flexible and tailor each child’s academic course materials to their learning styles and personalities. I have had to be very creative with how I teach my younger daughter, but she is making progress, and I know the one-on-one tutoring that comes with homeschooling is a big part of the reason why she’s doing so well—that and the fact that I am not limited by the materials provided to me but can quit using what doesn’t work and try other techniques and resources until I find what does.
I’m also allowing the girls more time to pursue their interests, especially in science and social studies topics. My older daughter spent last spring studying the human body, which culminated with a field trip to Bodies: The Exhibition. My younger daughter is fascinated by bugs, rocks, and leaves. We spend a lot of time doing nature studies. Along the way, I teach them how to use books, the library, and the internet to find out what they want to know.
My main take away from this chapter is:
One ultimate goal you should strive toward in your homeschooling is to so kindle your children’s love for learning that they become independent, lifelong learners.
Zan Tyler, 7 Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential
If you’re interested in more about how homeschooling works at our house, check out this series of posts: “Not” Back to School.
How do you make academic subjects “stimulating” for your children?
Other posts from the #7Tools series:
- The Heart of Discipleship
- The Importance of Worldview
- Parenting with Purpose
- That Thing Called Quality Time
- My Children Belong to God
- The Art of Imitation
- When Your Plans Get Changed (How Our Homeschooling Journey Began)
- Some Thoughts on Intentional Parenting
Even though the book club is almost over, it’s never too late to read a great book! Click the banner below for resources to add to your experience.