So, you've decided to take the plunge of this amazing, crazy, exhausting, and challenging journey called homeschooling. Maybe you worry that you won't do it right, that you are not doing enough, or that you are going to cause gaps in your child's education.
It will all be OK, and you'll do great if you just focus on the three big Rs of homeschooling. I’m not talking about Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic. Which all don't actually even start with the letter R.
I'm talking about the real three R's, the ones that are going to help you get your kids ready for the world.
One of the main reasons we've chosen to homeschool our children is the ability to foster healthy and close family relationships. It is important to remember you are their parent first, and their teacher second never let a difficult day or lesson make you forget that.
Studies consistently show that the environment in which your child learns has a huge impact on their ability to understand and retain what they are learning. Brain research has also taught us about brain plasticity. This is how our brains continually grow and develop. An essential ingredient for brain growth is having a safe space in which to explore, to fail, and more importantly to learn from their failures.
A foundation focusing on relationships isn't just about academic achievement. Homeschooling isn't only about raising well-educated children. It’s about raising a well-rounded child.
We can't control what they'll face in the world and who they'll know or interact with as adolescents or adults. We can give them a strong sense of what healthy relationships look like, and a solid foundation on how love and treat others with compassion and respect.
One thing I've learned especially raising a special needs child is that, readiness will result in a better and more peaceful resolution than pushing them based on some arbitrary timetable. Children are not machines. They often don't operate according to timetables or charts. They all grow and develop at beautiful and diverse rates. More often than not they move forward in some areas while plateauing in others.
Homeschooling gives us the unique opportunity to schedule learning opportunities with individual child-readiness in mind. We’re not bound to just one grade level, using just textbooks, or national standardized tests.
We have the freedom and flexibility to meet our children where they are and raise them to achieve greatness in their time and in a way that works for them. This maximizes the time we spend teaching with the ability to move slower where we need and speeding them along where they excel.
I don't want to raise children who simply know a lot of things, or who can just regurgitate an astounding number of facts and figures. I want to raise children who know how to think and reason. Ones who love reading and can absorb what they've read.
Tests and assignments can be a useful way to assess what a child has mastered and where they still need to practice. There is however so much more to a well-rounded education than what can be measured by an assessment.
Fostering healthy family relationships and by being attentive to your children's needs, we can create a space that encourages each person to reason and think for themselves. Good questions and logical discussions can often be a stronger evidence of true learning than knowing all the right answers.
Let's Talk About Those Gaps?
Gaps can and will happen. Think about it, there is so many things to see and learn. A great big wild world brimming with things just waiting to be discovered. You can't cram it all into twelve, or even eighteen short years of life.
Smart, strong, confident children who have been challenged, and also respected, supported, and taught how to think for themselves, are uniquely positioned to continue to drink in knowledge and exploration for the rest of their lives.
The gaps are opportunities to grow, explore, and learn. Those are the gaps I can live with. Those are the gaps I hope to help my kids achieve.
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