Friday, July 7, 2017

Know Thy Child

As we continue in our series of posts using the word HOMESCHOOL as an acronym, we come to the letter C. How well do you know your child(ren)?


What I’ve Learned About HOMESCHOOLing: Know Thy Child


My brother and his wife have six sons. One of the joys of living near our family again is being able to spend time with my nephews. It is so fun to be an auntie.

One of the things that has surprised me is how different the boys are from one another. Here they are, having the same parents, the same home life, the same upbringing, and yet they are each so unique in their personalities, interests, and abilities.

One of the delights of homeschooling is the flexibility we have to tailor our child’s schooling to meet their needs.

My son is a number whiz. He breezes through math and rarely comes upon a concept he does not understand. (He is just like his dad in that way.) The math curriculum I chose for his kindergarten year was great. He excelled at the lessons and loved doing math each day. It was a wonderful program and I assumed we would use it every year until both of my children graduated.


Then my daughter started kindergarten. Those same exact math lessons were torturous for her (and me)! By Christmas time, she was crying every time we worked on a lesson and could not seem to retain concepts from one time to the next. She began to complain that she was “terrible at math” and say that she “wasn’t smart enough to do math.” My mama’s heart was breaking. What should I do?
  
This had worked so well before, but it was definitely not working now.

I am so thankful that the Lord brought another, more experienced homeschool mom into my life that year. She reminded me that what worked for one child’s learning style and strengths may not work as well for another child. And the beauty of homeschooling is that I get to choose how to handle each subject for each child! She encouraged me to start a program that had worked well for one of her sons (who had similar struggles) and thereby help my girl learn using an entirely different method.

That was a turning point for usnot only in math, but in my approach to schooling my children. I no longer worked off the assumption that what was good for the one would be just as beneficial for the other. I realized that God had made each of them differently and they may need to absorb information through different avenues (visual, auditory, kinesthetic), at different speeds, and with different amounts of review and engagement. (And two years later, if you were to ask my daughter what her favorite subject is she would tell you math!)    

In what ways are your children different from each other? Can you recognize their learning style differences? Take time this week to watch how they interact with the world around them. Do they touch everything in order to “see” it? Do they talk through their ideas or spend time quietly listening to what others have to say? Do you catch them people watching or observing how to do something before they will try it for themselves? Their learning styles will come out naturally as they play and explore their surroundings. How wonderful it would be if we could incorporate some of those same methods into the way they learn for school!

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