So, for example, when my children were little and they needed to learn a new skill (multiplication), I would bake with them and teach them this skill with setting out the biscuits in two`s, five`s, three`s etc and they see how multiplication works in an interactive way in the real world.
We can achieve this when they are little as we do nature studies outside to learn science (collecting caterpillars and watching them make their cocoons/pupa's, making an ant house to observe ants etc), do experiments, grow plants, work in the garden, bake cakes (even boys), play shop, play first aid, and a number of other things, so your child will learn from life and his own environment without even realizing that he is “doing school.”
Our boys LOVED learning about science through nature. I came alongside them as we experimented together, read books on our discoveries and learn`t about nature in our own back garden. These times will remain "Our Golden Moments," always to be treasured where we built special relationships while we learn`t and interacted together.
It was always exciting making a new discovery!
Also, by creating experiences, you are helping your child learn to be creative and to think! How refreshing – isn’t this what learning is about – to be passionate; to be creatively inspired and to love life as we learn how to think as we interact in the world and with the people around us!
True education is learning HOW to think so we create a learning environment conducive to reasoning and creating as we learn together with our children. We teach our children HOW to think and not WHAT to think! True education is about learning about yourself, about the world around you, and most importantly, it is about learning more about WHO God is and understanding that He has created each one of us for His most Highest purposes!
We want our children to be able to make wise decisions, to be able to figure out how something works, to know how to research and find information for themselves. So, by teaching them at home, we give them the TOOLS to help them to do these things! The content of the work is irrelevant - by this I mean, it is not the information (the life cycle of the frog) that is the most important thing but it is whether they know how to get to this information if they need to and HOW to think about the information in relation to the world around them! So, we teach the skills to help them to 'think about what they are learning' and to be able to apply this information in the real world.
I began home schooling with the idea of teaching my children "school in the home" and the way I was taught at school and according to age, grade levels, academics and tests. God has taught me that true education is not about facts, formulas, dates, academic grades and field trips (although those are necessary building blocks). True education is seeing these things as part of God`s world, created to help us begin to Know Him. True Education is a life long journey created for anyone willing to learn!
What I love about Home schooling is learning alongside my children! It is such a bonding experience when you learn something together. I remember when my boys were little and we read about a mummy spider carrying her thousands of babies on her back and I had never seen or heard of such a spider. Well, that afternoon, God sent us a mummy spider with her thousands of babies on her back, for us to see. We were all so excited!! Isn`t God awesome!
So, what I find people asking me is, "are you a teacher?" People think that you have to be a 'qualified' teacher in order to teach your children at home. Parents are all called to be teachers. We have been given the authority and qualifications to teach and train our children God`s principles. So, Yes I am a teacher, with a God given authority to disciple my children so He has qualified me to do this. God provides all I need for what I require! (because He IS all I need)
I did study a remedial course through the U.K called "Hornsby" and this was to give me more practical ways that I could help my two dyslexic boys who struggled with academics. Did I need this in order to teach them correctly? No, because I had done a great deal of research into learning difficulties and had already been implementing a great deal of what I was learning in my studies. I wanted to be able to help them and that is because I will be the very best teacher that my children will ever have because I will do whatever it takes to help them, even study a remedial course. It also gave me the confidence to know that 'it was nothing I was doing wrong that made them struggle with their work.' I needed the assurance and when my younger son started reading biographies at the age of 7, I thanked God for this encouragement in my life. Please do not ever blame yourself as a parent if you have a child with a learning difficulty. You will just need to educate yourself to find the best way forward.
Deut6:5-7" Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (all day long, it must be a life style )
I also LOVE to read to my children! I use historical novels which help history come alive. When you choose the right books, that build character (not twaddle) and where you have some amazing discussions together, at the same time, your children are developing skills that will benefit their learning experience! They learn new vocabulary words, practise verbal expression, comprehension, character training (bad bunny - learning obedience) and the time spent as a family is precious. There is nothing better than grabbing a good book, curling up together on the bed (in winter!) and just reading, discussing and spending time together!
These are “precious moments worth far more than gold or silver” and no one can ever take that away from you!
Children are able to pursue their interests when they are educated at home. Due to lack of time restraints and compulsory academic restrictions, your child will be able to spend more time in his area of interest. He can also experience different things, try new things to see if he will like to pursue a career in that area of interest one day. For example, Murray (16yrs) is interested in fishing, farming and possibly a trade in electrics or diesel mechanics. So, we are providing him with opportunities to pursue those ideas and he can decide whether these areas of study will be possible future careers.
So, he is growing and selling vegetables, he went on a Foundation for Farming course, learning about organic farming, studying diploma courses in electrics and farm management and also pursuing a fishing business with his Dad.
Murray trying out his building skills. He decided that building was not for him but he had fun anyway.
I firmly believe in helping my children pursue their interests and to find a career that they are passionate about. We always tell our boys, "follow your heart and trust God for the desires He has placed in you." This is why I don`t follow a set curriculum so I have the freedom to pick and choose resources and change when their needs and interests change.
Each child will also be at a different developmental level, so each of their education will be unique and "tailor made" for their uniqueness. So, to look at what grade your child should be in just because he is a certain age so he should be at that place academically will not be beneficial to your child`s growth and development. You will then be placing unrealistic expectations on him/her, trying to fit the criteria and meet all the academic requirements. (Whose requirements are these anyway? Certainly not yours.) This will cause your child to fail or to become despondent, not to mention you feeling like a failure. I choose to tailor make each of my boys` education according to their individuality and according to each of their developmental level!
If God wants your child to be a .......................(fill in the blanks, profession - eg doctor), HE WILL PROVIDE A WAY FOR HIM/HER TO GET THERE! He uses parents to encourage them in their desires and to come alongside them as they pursue their dreams/desires.
I hope this has been encouraging to you, especially if you are thinking of home schooling your children.
Please feel free to pass on anything that has been helpful to you, to others who may benefit!