Friday, April 15, 2011

A Homeschooling Garden

I'm a hardcore homeschooler. I love the fact that I can spend time with my children and delight in their expressions as they discover the world around them. Just as you might clap with excitement when your toddler takes his first step, I am always thrilled when I see my older children tackle new skills, and take steps in their learning that leads to success and gain along the way. The difference is, that these successes come in spurts, and can't be expected to arrive on course with predictability or consistency.

Learning to understand each of your children's stages and particular flow is vital. In my first years homeschooling, there was a lot of frustration when my firstborn didn't seem to be learning the way I expected her to. I wanted her to sit down and happily complete page after page in her workbooks, and get the answers right, and she would cry in frustration that she didn't get it! After some time I realized that what I expected of her was inappropriate for her development. It would be like expecting a pea plant to produce edible pods within a couple weeks - the way lettuce can produce edible leaves very quickly.

Some children spring up quickly in their fascination with the complexities of this world, and in their ability to grasp the mechanics of reading, writing and arithmetic. Some children take their time - not ready to dive in without hesitation, but rather dip their toes one at a time and test the waters. As they gain confidence, they get in up to their knees, then their belly button, their neck - until, suddenly you realize they've got it and are swimming.

I have both kinds of children - ones who will just dive into whatever material I offer, and others who need to sample and sort and search out "bit by bit" before willingly consuming new information and ideas. My challenge is to coax each child into fruitfulness. In the same way that plants need good soil, water and sunshine to grow, so also do my children require nurturing, acceptance and inspiration as they grow and learn.

Sometimes I get off track and I am caught up in the lists and requirements and expectations whether they be real or imaginary. When I find myself "freaking out" over the lack of pages done and number of words written, it is an occasion to remind myself WHY I am doing this.

It's the look of wonder as we experiment with baking soda and vinegar - again! It's the sweet cuddles and daydream expressions as we read an award-winning novel out loud, together. It's seeing my child's joyous expression when they finally "get it" and can tackle a new math equation. I'm so thankful that I get to experience this first hand. I get to watch my little garden grow, each little "plant" different and waiting to be cultivated by my loving kindness and by partaking of the opportunities for wonder in this world God has made.

1 comment:

Janine said...

yes, that is what I look forward to, well said