Teaching is, at its core, communicating information in an interesting and understandable manner. Teachers must develop their verbal skills as well as subject knowledge.
Learning, however, depends completely on the student. A student cannot become proficient in any skill or subject without comprehension, practice, and application. There are times when a student may be stubborn or lazy, and not progressing in accordance with their abilities and potential.
Only a deep seated knowledge of your children, completely divorced of self interest, will help you discern if that’s the case.
If a child is experiencing difficulty, there are some questions to ask:
- Has the foundation for this material been laid properly?
- Does my child possess the necessary skill set?
- Is it being presented in a clear and concise manner?
- Is it interesting or connected to real life in some way?
- Does my visual/auditory/kinesthetic learner need more hands on, verbal, or visual input?
We as adults don't expect to understand or be proficient at a task if we do not possess the skill, knowledge, or interest to do so. If we want to master a new skill or concept, we find the resources or someone with experience, and spend time practicing until we get it right.
Let's put on our kid's shoes for a minute; how would we respond if the person who is teaching us exhibited frustration, impatience, or insulted us because of our lack of progress? Would this facilitate our learning? Would we be excited and inspired?
I think our children deserve the respect and reassurance we would expect in the same situation. Children are vulnerable, impressionable, and dependent on us for guidance. They will take their behavioral cues from us.
So now we need to ask:
- Have we created a relaxed and engaging learning environment that encourages our child to develop their abilities and fulfill their potential?
- Is our behavior reflective of the fruits of the Spirit: compassion, joy, peace, patience, temperance - and do we want our children to follow our example, as we follow Christ?
Far too often we demand from our children what we do not expect in ourselves. A homeschool is an opportunity for parents and children to grow together spiritually, and to work through things in a way that teaches our children not only academics, but how to properly deal with failure, frustration, and weariness. Our patient and positive attitude toward our children builds bridges of understanding and trust that will benefit our child’s academic achievements and more importantly, our relationship with them.
We have become our child's primary teacher, even if we don't stand at a chalkboard and lecture from a book. We are creating their learning environment in our homes and with our daily lives. Everywhere we go is our homeschool classroom.