“What school does your son go to?”
“He doesn’t. We homeschool.”
“Oh wow. That’s great. I’m not patient enough to homeschool.”
Over the last few years I have noticed a change in people’s responses when they learn we homeschool. It has gone from disbelief that they have met some crazy fringe-dweller to one of acceptance (often people know someone who homeschools).
Then I will see people think for a brief moment….Homeschool? Could I homeschool? Would I want to homeschool? Then comes the self-criticism;
“I could never do that…. I am not smart enough to homeschool…. I wouldn’t know what to teach…. I am not patient enough to homeschool. … I’d love to homeschool but…”
It got me thinking about why so many of us doubt our abilities to educate our children and I think it comes down to our view of learning and how children learn. These attitudes towards learning are undoubtedly influenced by our own experiences.
I think so many of us see learning, for children beyond the early childhood years at least, as stressful; with children needing lots of coercing to learn.
Can you really blame us though? We are constantly bombarded by toy manufacturers and advertisers telling us their product makes learning fun. We see the extrinsic rewards offered to children (stickers, lollies, the promise of playing games) to get them to complete their school work. Even here, our local school’s motto is ‘Where learning is made fun’.
And so our view is formed; that learning, while essential, is not fun. Kids don’t want to do it.
But learning IS fun. And kids do WANT to do it! They just don’t want to be told what to learn, when to learn and how to learn it. And honestly, is that so unreasonable?
When we change our view of what learning is, what it looks like and how it happens, then we start to trust that YES in fact we can educate our children.
“I’m not patient enough to homeschool”
Impatience happens when our expectations aren’t being met. But if we change our expectations; if we change our thinking from what our children should be learning to nurturing their own interests then we find calm.
“I am not smart enough to homeschool. I wouldn’t know what to teach”
Self doubt happens when we compare ourselves to others. But when we focus on our children and acknowledge their individual development then we learn to trust. We learn to trust that we can support their interests and their learning. We learn to trust that we don’t need to control the learning. We learn that when we let go of our intentions, we make room for theirs. We learn to let go.
When we listen we will hear what they want to learn. We don’t need to know everything about everything. We don’t need to know how to plan lessons, we don’t need to know how to motivate our children, all we need to do is learn how to listen.
Trust that you can do it! You can educate your children.