We made it to the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati with 7 minutes to spare.
(Because we took a little detour.)
And our first session wasn’t very good. It ended 25 minutes early.
But I was thankful that it ended early because I was able to map out the vendor hall – circling, starring, and coding.
While I was circling companies and resources that I wanted to make time for, my husband asked me about what curriculum I picked up to do with the kids over the summer 2 years ago. (And this is why I believe it is so valuable for us to attend the GHC together. I was looking forward – charging ahead to accumulate new resources, research theories, and gauge functionality for our family – while he was looking backward to see what could still be of use.)
What my husband was remembering was Five in a Row’s Christian Character and Bible Study Supplement*.
I still have it on my shelf. I remember loving the content and starting to read the books to my kids – hoping for an instantaneous burst of joy from my daughter – but she was adamantly uninterested. At the time, I was still “young” in my homeschool experience. I didn’t have the faith needed to persevere. I lacked the confidence that knows deep down what is best for her (and all of us) and presses on.
I wanted to turn them into the best little learners. I thought I had to find the perfect box for them to unfold and be inspired to embrace learning on their own. When I was faced with a child who wasn’t sold on my methods or wasn’t interested immediately in a resource, I thought I had to keep looking.
For all my planning and striving to provide for my children, I was looking again for a company or a theory to suit their needs. I didn’t realize it, but deep down I was believing a lie that someone else knew best for my child. I believed the lie that I could not teach my children without an expert’s help.
The truth is that all they need is for me to be interested in them and to provide them with support. They need me to show them what a life-long-learner looks like.
So I glanced back at our schedule, having been let out early from the first session we were provided with enough time to better plan and choose our sessions, and I saw “Become Your Child’s Favorite Teacher” by Steve Lambert of Five in a Row.
Enter “Ah-ha” moment.
I knew I needed to go to this session. At the moment, I am not my children’s favorite teacher. Sure, they love me and love being home with me, but I’m not doing creative or fun things with them. I know I need to model learning to them and I include them in my personal growth process, but life gets in the way and toddlers make messes. Things become urgent that aren’t important.
When distractions are loud, relationships get quiet.
Steve Lambert from Five in a Row shared:
“You want to be your child’s favorite teacher? Read to them. Curiosity is the God-given secret weapon that each child is created with. They want to learn. Who cares if your child is reading by age 5, I want to know if your child still reads at age 35. Teach your child to love learning and they will succeed.”
To be a “favorite teacher” model these 3 good things:
Make learning interesting, relevant, and accessible.
He said “don’t train your children to just accept the tyranny of the next. ‘Mama, why are we learning about this today?’ ‘I don’t know son, it’s just what’s next in the text.’”
The tyranny of the next is essential for a classroom setting, but it will bore homeschool children to tears.
To be my child’s favorite teacher, I embrace learning as an adventure. For me, this embracing adventure will require great faith on my part. I am not natural at spontaneity. To be flexible scares me. Sure, I love to learn on my own and I read more now than I did when I was in school. It was in college that the first spark of loving to learn brought life back to my education.
It was in that moment of coming back to life that I realized how tragic my academic training was until that point. I missed out on truly loving and understanding all the greatest subjects. I memorized just enough to get an “A” and then forgot it the next week to memorize something new.
So how am I going to be my children’s favorite teacher? Well, I still have a lot to learn. But here’s my list:
- Read more
- Focus on character
- Wait for signs of curiosity (wanting to know more)
- Feed that curiosity
- Be flexible with our schedule in order to make room for curiosity
I don’t want to put off their curiosity any more. I want to be ready to learn right now.