Here are two of the most freeing truths homeschoolers can embrace.
Truth #1: You Can’t Teach Your Children Everything They Need to Know.
This is a freeing truth because it relieves you of the burden to do so. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, we tend to think there some imaginary line out there that represents the amount of information your child needs in order to succeed in the real word. This just isn’t true. There are not enough hours in the day, or days in the year to teach them everything.
There will be gaps. World history is too vast and complicated to fit neatly into your homeschool years. Even if you teach chronologically and follow the timeline perfectly, it just won’t fit. This sets us free to stop trying. Stop trying to fit it all in starting at the age of five. Because what happens in our desire to cover everything is that we end up covering a lot, but without much depth. You’ll have to stick to summaries and move on quickly if you want to cover as much as possible.
Instead, follow your children’s interests and learn about the things that are most important to you and your family. Dig deep into the well of learning because it is in those deeper waters that we often discover hidden treasure. A scope and sequence is still a helpful tool, but remember that what matters more than what you teach, is how you teach it.
Truth #2: They Won’t Remember Half of What You Teach Them Anyway.
I was homeschooled all the way through high school graduation and can vouch for this truth. I wish I could hand every one of you a piece of chocolate when I share it though. Because I know you’re working so hard to plan and prepare inspiring lessons that you hope will last. Some of them will, but again the important point becomes they way you teach and not what you teach.
So What Can You Do?
1. Teach Your Children How to Learn
Teach them that learning is enjoyable. It’s something you do as a family and it is not about boring facts and dates, it’s about people and their stories. Learning encompasses the wonders of the world and the marvelous way things work. It is an incredible adventure of discovery. If your children can grow to see it this way, you’ve really achieved something wonderful. Because it will become something they’ll want to do their whole life. I still love to learn today because of the way I was taught. And yes, there were gaps!
2. Teach Them How to Think
Critical thinking skills develop with use and from the youngest of ages. Don’t wait until your child reaches a certain age to incorporate thinking skills and discussion. Our children are eager to use their imagination and share thoughts. When you encourage this, you’re also sending a message. Their opinion matters to you! This is one of the most valuable messages we can send as parents because if they know their opinion matters to you they will build confidence in sharing their thoughts and new ideas with others. Leaders are the ones who think for themselves and don’t simply follow the crowd.
Let’s raise our kids with a passion for learning and the ability to think outside the box. If we can accomplish this, they’ll be prepared to find out anything they need to know.
Ashley Wiggers grew up in the early days of the homeschooling movement. She was taught by her late mother, Debbie Strayer, who was an educator, speaker and the author of numerous homeschooling materials. It was through Debbie’s encouragement and love that Ashley learned the value of being homeschooled.
Currently, Ashley is the Editor-in-Chief of Homeschooling Today magazine, Public Relations Director for Geography Matters and the author of the Profiles from History series. Ashley makes her home in Somerset, KY, with her loving husband, Alex, and their precious son, Lincoln.