Wouldn’t it be nice if teaching were like a science experiment or a math equation? You could do A and B, and then C would always result. It would be nice if teaching a specific way would result in perfect knowledge and understanding in your kids—every time! Yet even wonderful teachers with great skills still have students who struggle.
Sometimes, as a homeschool mom, you may feel like asking the same question that Jesus asked His disciples—”Do you not yet understand?” (Mark 8:21, ESV). You can’t always control the results of your teaching, but you can continue to improve your teaching strategies so that you can communicate concepts to your kids more effectively. In fact, the Bible is full of helpful strategies used by the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ, as He taught the most important lessons of all.
An Example to Follow
Think about the way Jesus presented the same truths in different ways to different groups of people. Sometimes He simply presented the facts; sometimes He told stories; other times He used actions or demonstrations to reveal truth and help it sink in for His followers. As you teach your children, you’ll learn more about the way each one of them learns best, and you’ll discover new techniques and strategies that yield better results.
A Familiar Foundation
Jesus often began his teachings by referring to the law and the Old Testament, something His Jewish listeners were very familiar with. From that starting point, He would reveal new knowledge or delve deeper into a concept.
Everyone learns better when the learning starts in a familiar place. If you can begin with something that your children already know or enjoy, you can then build new knowledge on that foundation. If they’re having trouble mastering a new concept, return to those basic familiar ideas to help them build the confidence and skills they need to move ahead.
A Clear Goal
Kids often ask, “What’s the point of learning this? How I am ever going to use it?” Good teaching communicates goals clearly. When Jesus taught, He constantly presented His followers with the goal—the kingdom of God and His work of redemption. Many of His talks and parables related to the kingdom of God and how true citizens of that kingdom should live.
Every time you teach your children a new lesson, let them know what you plan to cover within that lesson. Tell them why it’s important and what they will eventually be able to do with that knowledge. Having a goal and a purpose keeps them engaged and excited.
An Awareness of Learning Styles
Keep in mind that each one of your children learns differently. Some learn better by listening, others by reading, and others by acting or doing. Lessons that incorporate two or more of these learning methods are typically more effective. As He taught the crowds of people around Him, Jesus told stories and used everyday objects to illustrate the lesson. As much as possible, you can connect the abstract concepts of each subject back to your child’s daily life and activities. Those tangible, real-world connections help them process and retain the information better.
So what works most effectively for your children? Do they learn best by sight, sound, or activity? Are they working on each lesson with a clear goal in mind? Your insight into your children’s personalities and abilities enables you to teach according to their needs, which is the key to helping your children realize their full potential.
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Rebecca K. is a work-at-home freelance writer, novelist, wife, and the mom of two bright-eyed little ones. She credits her success in writing and her love of books to her mom, who homeschooled three kids from pre-K through high school.