A speaker at a homeschool conference encouraged me to think about what is driving my homeschool.
You wanna know what I was told? Can you guess?
Most homeschool mamas are driven by the homeschool mama’s needs.
Our needs are propelling how we approach our children’s education.
Kinda natural to be motivated by our needs: our baseline is ourselves. We understand the world through our own eyes.
We have to watch awfully close at how our children function, what they might value, to consider what they need.
As an early homeschool mama, I needed Shakespeare. I generally disliked him in high school. I couldn’t understand why one would read suicidal/homicidal tales from England. I get it now. It’s not about homicide or suicide. It’s about human drives of jealousy, love, and ambition and clever spun tales. Shakespeare spins a tale like, well, Shakespeare. There’s a reason we know him 600 years later. My kids tell me to “keep going, mom” when I close Charles and Mary Lamb’s version of Shakespeare’s Tales, though one of them prefers the Diary of a Wimpy Kidseries, another prefers Pippi Longstocking or Owls in the Family, and one kiddo prefers his Minecraft Planning book. But I brought in Shakespeare, because I wanted to learn what I missed.
What form does my learning often take?
Auditory. I love to read out loud, with my kids cuddled in blankets at nine in the morning in our pajamas. This does not run counter to my kiddo’s preferences. They simply wouldn’t do it as often as I would.
One of them would just as gladly burrow in her room and read to herself. She loves reading — genetics and world history and murder mysteries and anything John Green. She can do it for hours and her independent streak is eager to do it by herself. Another child prefers reading on her own because she understands better when she reads it herself.
But me? I am auditory. So we tend to read things together aloud.
What is an education anyway? The learning needs to focus on the learner.
My need for quiet and perpetual peace interferes with my homeschool reality.
How I process my children’s frustrations and complaining on days when I need quiet? Not always well. I have had to bite my….nose…somedays, just to refrain from overreacting to complainy clamour.
Yet I know that kids need to be heard: their frustrations, complaints, requests, and joys (and they need to be taught HOW to communicate them). When all of their frustrations, complaints, requests and joys are heard, they learn to communicate in a way that can be understood and learn how to understand others.
Sometimes they need loud, mad dashing around the playground equipment playing grounders or creating videos with their songs and dances. But I sure don’t. So my tendency is to play quiet games, watch documentaries, go for walks, cook together, or engage another readaloud.
So I must balance my needs with their needs.
Are my needs unimportant in our homeschool days? Well, no. (Although it’s easy to say, yes, I don’t matter at all. My needs should put on hold for twenty years, forty hours a week.)
How can I help them get what they need so they can learn?
Usually it comes in the form of the “L” word. It’s simple and inexpensive. It simply requires paying attention, LISTENING. Listen to their frustrations, listen to their drives, and listen to their needs.