Deschooling means your children receive little or no formal learning for a while after leaving school and then gain a fresh start by homeschooling. The process is especially valuable if your child has had a difficult learning experience in school. Deschooling can help your child develop better learning habits, reset from the pressures of a traditional school model, or recover from difficult or painful relationships at school. You can take time to change your and your child’s expectations for learning. No matter your previous educational experience, deschooling can help smooth the transition into homeschooling.
Have you experienced frustration when trying to teach your own children? I can remember sitting at the table with one of my daughters, going over a simple sequence of events in American history, and she just couldn’t get it straight. The thought of “why can’t she learn this simple idea?” quickly led to “I’m such a failure as a homeschooler.” As a homeschool grad and a homeschool dad, I’ve had experience on both sides of this disheartening scenario. Often our frustration grows from our expectations about teaching. If we have a better understanding of teaching as a creative practice, we can also have better expectations for our children.
“Can I teach this subject in a group learning setting to students of different grade levels?” This is a common question from homeschooling parents who are struggling with the time requirements of teaching multiple children of different ages. Specifically, parents want to know if they can do group learning with their textbooks. But often, questions like this just don’t have a simple answer. One family might be able to make it work, while another might not. Alternatively, it could work in your family with one subject, but not another. Before you give group learning a try, here are a few tips that might help you on your journey.
Small children want your attention, especially when you’re busy. You know the feeling. An easy way to appease them is to hand them your phone. I was guilty of this recently when my daughter was getting restless and noisy as we sat in a meeting. Sometimes playing a game or watching a show on your phone is a good solution. But during school time, you would like for your young children to be learning and developing too. Sensory play is the perfect way to help small children learn and develop motor skills while you are busy teaching your school-age children.
Our children are growing every day. They are not just growing taller—they are also growing in their understanding of the world and in their ability to interact with it in a meaningful way. God created our children as emotional creatures—they respond emotionally to the world around them. We can observe these emotions in our children from very young ages. Babies scream when their world is unpleasant—when their diapers are wet, or their bellies are hurting. Toddlers sometimes display their temper when something doesn’t go their way. It’s important for our children to grow in their ability to express and manage their own emotions and empathize with others. They won’t be able to function well as adults if they don’t learn these skills. As homeschool parents, we get to encourage and observe this emotional growth.