Two of the most motivating reasons to educate your own children is to have more influence to instill a love of learning and to turn daily experiences into teachable moments. Almost all parents can recall this being true of how they taught their children from 0-5 years of age.
Those first 5 years of life are full of encouragement, motivation and just plain fun learning! Some of that learning comes naturally and automatically, where other knowledge and information was gained through the effort of parents providing the resources and environment to facilitate the learning.
As a homeschooling mom working in the homeschooling industry, you can assume I’m a pretty big advocate of home education. I believe that all parents have the ability to continue teaching their kids long past the age of 5, and they can do a better job at it than any educational institution can do. The homeschooling industry is saturated with businesses that have made it their mission to help parents educate their own children. In fact, the vast number of resources and experiences available can be overwhelming at times. As my boys grow older and I gain more knowledge about them and their learning styles, I am able to better determine what learning approach works for each of them and how to mesh in those teachable moments throughout our days. This customized education that a parent can provide is the reason why home education is better for every child.
I have to admit, I do very little ‘teaching’ in the formal sense of the word. I get the learning materials that are most inline with their learning styles, and I’m really just there to guide and encourage. There has certainly been trial and error to find a curriculum that suits each of my boys, and I expect there to be regular adjustments as the years go by.
They have their individual learning (as we call it in our home) that they mostly do on their own, and I come alongside them to help with concepts they don’t quite understand. Sometimes, I need to read through the lesson to direct them in their work, and sometimes we need to search online so we can figure it out together.
Notice the Teachable Moments
My lack of knowledge in one area leads to a teachable moment in another. I don’t see much of a benefit of giving my boys all the answers; I want them to explore to find out what they need to know. I want them to always be learning from the day they are born to the day they die. Not just learning because they are told to but because they want to.
While they spend a decent amount of time learning mathematical concepts and communication in the English language, along with a couple of other common subjects, they are also completing lessons and getting instruction on topics they have an interest in. Children need a good dose of this if they are going to have a love of learning. And while they are learning about graphic design, programming, architectural construction through Minecraft, Lego or a 3D pen project, baking snacks and cooking their favourite meals, I can find many ways to add in some teachable moments. These ‘moments’ are treasured times with my boys where they learn life skills, moral principles, biblical aspects and some real-life reinforcement of what they have learned in their academic lessons.
While learning new things is the standard for anyone under the age of 18, there tends to be a gradual decline to gaining more knowledge and skills after formal education. As an avid learner, I can’t seem to go a week without discovering something new I want to learn. Unfortunately, I can’t always make the time to learn everything that comes to mind, but I’m currently learning French (so close to being fluent!), reading on what I need to know to get a Private Pilot's license (still in the beginning training here), taking courses to get ministry certification (to further my coaching skills with a Christian foundation), and including the whole family in my new interest in woodworking. (We’re all learning through courses and projects with the knowledgeable instruction of my husband!)
Are you living your life with a love of learning and taking advantage of those teachable moments? I’ve mainly described these important issues as they relate to parents educating their children, but this love of learning I’m encouraging in my children is to benefit them when they reach adulthood. Whether you are currently parenting or not, I encourage you to instill a love of learning in yourself and to take advantage of those opportunities to explore a topic with a new tidbit of knowledge to make it a teachable moment.
Stephanie Morrison has been building businesses, mostly from home, for over 10 years, motivated by her strong determination that her two youngest boys would be educated at home. She works for The Old Schoolhouse® on the Canadian team and also coaches entrepreneurs to start and grow their business from home. She and her family are all comfortably nestled in the trees in Central Ontario. She loves being a homebody and building up her permaculture property. Learn more about Steph at www.creatingworkandplay.com