Written by Purva Brown of The Classical Unschooler
Although we homeschool year-round, I like to treat this season as a time to think back about just how far we’ve all come as a family.
This summer, as I’ve taken time to relax and reorganize, I’ve realized how much I’ve learned from my children over the past year.
Who knew that they would end up teaching me lessons, too?
Lesson #1: Tell the truth
As a homeschooling mom, I spend some of my time making my children do things–things that they do not always want to do. And I can count on them to tell me truthfully how they feel about it!
Of course there are times when our wills need to be bent, but unless they tell me how they feel, we cannot resolve the problem. So I have learned to appreciate those uncomfortable truths.
This lesson is not limited to academics alone.
I’m learning that ignoring real problems and putting on a veneer of “everything’s okay” is not the best approach. My children have taught me that it’s okay to simply and respectfully tell the truth.
Being honest allows us to find a way forward.
Lesson #2: It’s okay to be bored
When I first started homeschooling, I imagined it being exciting. I thought about all the discoveries the children and I would make together – the new things we would learn. I imagined it would be one aha! moment after another.
But that wasn’t reality.
Sure, we have days like that. But some repetitive tasks get boring very quickly.
How much excitement can a worksheet generate anyway? And flashcards? And reading about Greek and Persian wars? I finally had to admit: homeschooling, like all work, can get boring.
So when the children complain that doing their times tables or learning cursive is boring, I repeat the mantra, “It’s okay to be bored” to myself as well as to them.
Homeschooling does not always need to be a series of intellectual adventures arranged back to back with no time to breathe in between. It’s okay, desirable even, to live our quiet lives and just keep working through the boredom.
New discoveries, ways of thinking, and insights sometimes come in the midst of our work.
I learn this lesson anew when I have to make myself do certain tasks–like make dinner, wash dishes, and fold laundry.
I don’t need to do earth-shattering things every day. Some things remain boring but vital.
Lesson #3: Find out!
My children have taught me to be interested in things others seem to pass by. They ask odd questions and see connections where others do not.
Ever since the day I asked Google if blue and purple leaves existed, (they do!) the drum beat of the children telling me to “ask your phone!” resounds in my ear when a question arises.
I am learning to reawaken my own curiosity. Instead of simply telling myself “I don’t know” and leaving it at that, I have started to follow it up with “But let me find out!”
Once I reached this mode, I found it hard to stop.
And when we learn something this way, the children remember it much longer and form deeper connections with what they already know. They’ve taught me that this kind of interest-driven learning offers the best kind of education–for them, yes, but also for me.
Because I am learning as well.
What have your kids taught you this homeschool year?