Integrating New Challenges
As a former high school teacher, the first thing that people think (and say) when I reveal that I now homeschool my sons, is that it must be so easy for me. It’s a reasonable assumption to make if one thinks that homeschooling is just teaching a few subjects. Pop open a curriculum and away you go!
To some extent this is true, and fortunately there are some well packaged curricula out there to help us! I’d never get through teaching a subject like Science without one. However, as parents we are still so much more than Math/Science/English teachers. We are moms (and sometimes dads) who, while preparing our kids for advanced placement courses and college, are also preparing them for life. One of the funny things about life is that there are always new and often unexpected challenges just around the corner.
Homeschool is not a private utopia for our kids. We are not just teaching fractions in our pajamas, as some people think! We are actively developing the people that we love. Learning at home should always be fun and intriguing, but sometimes it’s also supposed to be a bit different and even a bit hard. We have to be deliberate about integrating new challenges into our children’s day-to-day schooling.
Providing new challenges for our children does not mean placing them in situations that constantly outwit them or are excessively demanding. It can be as simple as having them take on new chores around the house. Perhaps it is letting one child create a lesson plan on a topic they like, and then teach it to their siblings. One of my personal favorites is to simply ask my boys to solve a problem that impacts all of us, such as devising a system that would help keep the family car clean.
Integrating moderately challenging tasks into our homeschool environments can help condition our kids to think critically, embrace change, and adapt to new circumstances more readily. When we introduce the right types of tasks with the right amount of ‘room for error’, we gently stretch our children’s minds.
And we shouldn’t get left out either! How do we join our children in the challenge? And before you answer, “My plate is full. My hands are tied. I can’t take on one extra thing, sista!” please know that I understand. Yet what better way to teach than to join them in doing something a little unfamiliar?
What can you and your children learn together, for the very first time? Is it a sport, a foreign language, or maybe how to make an exotic dish? Doing something that you haven’t done before doesn’t have to be grand, but whatever it is, dive in with them. By example, we can show them that there is exquisite joy and delight in stepping out of or our norms, taking on a challenge and succeeding.
Latasha Strachan As a writer, teacher, and speaker, Latasha is driven by her desire to see women connect, inspire, and empower each other in God’s Spirit of love and unity. Her prayer is that women will become passionate about living free and honest lives through God’s power, mercy and grace. She and her husband Ian live in sunny Nassau, Bahamas and have shared just over a decade riding the phenomenal roller-coaster called ‘marriage’. They are on a wild yet fulfilling journey as they parent and homeschool three exceptionally energetic boys! You can visit her blog: www.latashastrachan.com.