One of the first things I learned to do as a homeschooler is to back off. Math, handwriting and reading are all things that should never make a kid cry.
How do I know this? These are all things that I often made Firecracker cry over during his kindergarten and first grade years. Embarrassing, I know, but I was concerned about him falling behind the other kids his age.
Now, I often repeat my mantra, “Homeschool Your Child as if he was the only child in the world.” Once I shifted my mindset, I began to see my children flourish.
Today, I was reading a passage out of Barbara Frank’s book, Enjoying the Journey, that reminded me of another kind of backing off that I’ve been forcing myself to do.
My sweet children often develop interests, and I say, “We should do a unit study about that!” Do you know the quickest way to kill an interest? Force your children to do a unit study on it. There’s a difference between an interest-led education and an interest killing one.
That’s a line I sometimes have a hard time not crossing. Frank says:
Sometimes we need to back off when our child is enthused about something….Over time I discovered that I had to let my kids learn freely instead of jumping in and turning an interest into a learning experience.”
I know that because we homeschool I sometimes have a difficult time letting go enough to let the kind of organic free-range learning occur that I want to happen.
I’m not saying that I am going to stop providing the resources that will help the kids explore more. That kind of scaffolding is what I’m here for. However, I am trying to stop forcing exploration.