Flexibility in academic work is one of the many benefits of choosing to homeschool. You can learn to read when you are developmentally ready, be exposed to mathematical concepts through experiences, and write poems in the woods.
What gets less attention is the emotional/developmental/social aspects of human existence. The effects that traditional schools have on these aspects are primarily negative. School is often detrimental to self-esteem and emotional well-being. People are afraid of doing poorly on work, getting the lowest grade, failing. Having that fear of failure hanging over your head for such a long period of time makes people get used to fear and expect to live with it, which is unnecessary. As homeschoolers we can make the choice to not recreate that fear in our customized educational environment. You can choose to avoid sitting in constant judgment of our kids’ actions and behaviors. This is an opportunity to extend the conscious parenting you quite possibly have been practicing with your pre-school age children.
Listen! Ask questions without quizzing! Take direction!
Adults have a tendency to direct young people by telling them what to do and how to do it. I think many consider this a form of helping as in, the child doesn’t know what to do so I’ll tell them. Young people need about 70% less directions than they are given. They need to make choices, grapple with decisions, experiment with experiences, and make a mess (which they can clean up themselves with effective facilitation on the part of the adult). Provide them with time to tell you what to do, even if it is just during a game or imaginative play.
Listening is an incredible skill that can be applied to all aspects of life, personal and professional. A way to develop listening skills in young people is to model it. When you listen and make appropriate noises of acknowledgement, children get the sense that what they have to say is important. They get to feel heard. Which aids in the development of healthy self-esteem and also helps them to develop articulate verbal skills.
We need to know what they know! Quizzing is a curse of traditional education. When an adult asks a question that they, the adult, already knows the answer too they are setting the young person up to either get it right or wrong, which creates an unnecessary amount of pressure and stress on the learner. Learning is not about being right or wrong. It is about discovery, excitement, meaning, and connection. Quizzing is detrimental to all these important aspects of learning. If you want to know what someone knows, have a conversation with them, let them explain ideas they have to you, share some of your experiences.
Yeah for us for being conscious about how we are “educating” our youth! For challenging our own beliefs and assumptions about learning to create a healthier environment for our offspring than perhaps we were provided.