“Plan primarily based on the truth about Mom, playing to my strengths, secondarily on the needs of the family as a whole, thirdly on the individual needs of each child, playing to their strengths. “
The above was taken from an old (now outdated) post by my friend, Angie, on the Principles of Happy Home-Educating Moms.
Many of the principles really resonated with me, but this one did especially so. How often do we feel guilty because we find ourselves unable to cater our curriculum to the interests of each of our individual children? I have found myself in that position many times. I’ve even perpetuated the feeling among other homeschooling moms, I’m sure.
Isn’t life interesting?
We find ourselves growing, changing, doing things new ways, being enlivened by different ideas.
I have spent a lot of time (too much, actually) thinking about my children’s learning styles. I’ve pondered how to meet their unique needs and provide them with learning opportunities based on their own interests.
It never occurred to me, during all that reading and pondering, that I just might burn out if I didn’t consider my own personality and my own teaching style into the whole equation.
So… what’s the truth about Mom?
Well, for better or for worse, I’ll tell you what’s true about me. These are not all wonderful-and-inspiring-things. But they are true.
It is with great humility, for example, that I admit my own love for checklists. Before last spring, I had never before employed checklists in our learning. In my mind, checklists belonged to a fill-the-bucket mentality, and even though I use checklists extensively in almost every other facet of my life, I hadn’t allowed myself to use them when curriculum planning.
Last spring, however, I decided to let them have a place in our daily learning. Immediately I saw a difference, and checklists have proven themselves to be a valuable asset to our learning here. We thrive using them. They provide all of us with a visible track of progress.
Recognizing this “truth about Mom” and then using it for good in our home learning has been a blessing.
The idea is to look ourselves squarely in the eye- decide what is true about how we operate best, and then base our homeschools on those truths, playing to our strengths and providing for our weaknesses. The result? The children benefit tremendously, regardless of their unique learning styles.
In light of the checklist success, I decided to sit a spell and consider other truths about myself that may bear fruit in our home learning. I’m sure there are more, but this list is what I came up with right off the bat.
The Truth About Me
- I love reading aloud. It is my favorite thing to do with the kids.
- I have the most energy in the morning, and very little by mid-afternoon.
- In general, I plan ahead and write everything down. Our calendar, our menu, our homemaking routine, what we need at the store, what I want to tell my friend when I call her… everything. (Side note: I don’t usually let myself do this with our homeschool. Isn’t that ridiculous? I always feel guilty when I do. Maybe I’ve read too many unschooling books. Anyway, this kind of thing is precisely why I think acknowledging these truths about myself is a good idea!)
- I detest “pea and stick” work (making salt dough maps, building pyramids with sugar cubes, creating a diorama- that kind of thing). Such projects seem to me like a lot of fuss for minimal learning value.
- I also detest busywork.
- I enjoy teaching life skills. I’d rather teach my kids how to bake a cake than how to make a paper bag puppet.
- I feel most productive when checking off lists. I am encouraged to continue when I can see quantifiable results.
- I need certain times of day blocked out for school time (or chore time, or prayer time, etc) to ensure that such activities happen every day. Otherwise I am easily distracted and tend to lack necessary self-discipline.
- I am inspired by beauty. Making it beautiful (a checklist, a notebook, a space in my home) ensures that I will be much happier working with it.
- I have a tendency to start strong and then fizzle. This means I must have good habits in place to help carry me through when I’m feeling less enthusiastic.
So… what’s true about YOU? How will acknowledging it make a difference in your plans for next year?
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Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace
by Sarah Mackenzie