One of the beauties of homeschooling is the opportunity to tailor education to each child. Everyone learns differently…some absorb through reading while others by doing, some grasp concepts just by listening, others need to ‘see’ it. In a home education setting, we have the flexibility to cater to preferences and strengths. In so doing, though, we must be careful to exercise our children’s weaknesses or we will deceive them into thinking things must always be done ‘their way.’
Embracing challenges is a key to successful living, yet eliminating difficulties is the natural desire of a mom. Furthermore, as a homeschool mom, it is easy to grow weary of the battles. All parents bear the weight of guiding children to do what they do not naturally desire to do: clean their rooms, learn self-discipline and sacrifice self for others. In home education, we also have the weighty responsibility of academic success. It is tempting to smooth the difficulties for our children so that we have just a little bit less stress as well. It is wearying to ‘nag’ about EVERYTHING! Truly the key is to remember we are not nagging, we are preparing our children for the future. When it comes to our children’s studies, we must help them accept that learning is not always easy. We can facilitate their understanding with various approaches, but we must be careful not to let them coast through their studies or always follow their own ways of doing things. Creativity is divine—but so is order.
Every subject helps us shape our children’s character but math is the one that gave us the best lessons. Procedures are repetitive and boring—and in the early years unnecessary. Yet those procedures lay a ground-work absolutely necessary to advanced math. We used kinesthetic learning…hopscotching answers to addition and subtraction problems, which gave us enjoyment in the work of education. But the boring math fact sheets and memorization work are still bearing fruit.
Beyond the academic truth is the life truth that ‘my way’ is not the only way. It helps our children understand that there is benefit in reaching beyond ourselves. With the exception of eternal salvation, there is always more than one way to do things. One of my favorite quotes reminds me to “Never deny the right to be right to anyone but you.” We always want to be right, but being right is not always useful nor is it always necessary. While we live in a world that says it values individuality, this world really tells us to conform. We can use home education to help our children appreciate diversity while enjoying their own uniqueness!