As a parent, you know that your children are much more likely to succeed at something when they enjoy doing it. In a previous post you met Dynel Fuller, a homeschool mom of ten, who uses routine to foster her children’s independence. Another of her goals for her children is for them to have a genuine love for learning because she knows that if she gives them the freedom to do what they enjoy, they will find it easier to succeed in everything they do. Here are some lessons she’s learned as she’s homeschooled her children.
• Let them focus on subjects they enjoy.
Dynel watches her children as they grow into their own unique interests, talents, and abilities. As their interests develop and they begin to set goals for their own lives, she adjusts their assignments so that they have the freedom to spend more time on subjects they enjoy while still taking all the basic academic courses. She encourages them to follow an interest—as a literature enthusiast, a musician, a mathematician, or a scientist—instead of pressuring them into being what they aren’t. So when one of her daughters expressed a desire to become a nurse, Dynel encouraged her to spend more time on math and science. She still does basic coursework in all subjects, but her studies emphasize the sciences.
• Let them feel the success of their accomplishments, even in weak areas.
Children who know they have trouble with certain academic areas often find it difficult to feel successful in those subjects. One of Dynel’s children has struggled with reading on grade level, but because Dynel doesn’t emphasize test scores and reading levels, that child sometimes comes to her filled with excitement about being able to read all the words on a page below grade level. That excitement for a small success isn’t overshadowed by the knowledge of what still needs to be accomplished. Instead of feeling like a failure, it feels like a milestone.
Dynel doesn’t believe that it’s good for her children to be unaware of what their weaknesses are. But she thinks it’s more important for the children to love to learn.
• Let them be kids.
Schools break up the monotony of the semester with Spirit Week or Crazy Hair Day for a reason. Children need the opportunity to see school from a different perspective from time to time. Dynel breaks up her children’s school year with fun days. They have Clown Day whenever a child completes the clown unit. They sometimes celebrate Pajama Day. She has them assemble special portfolios that can involve fun aspects of other cultures, such as games, meals, and costumes.
Now see what your children can accomplish when they have something to look forward to every day!