2016. My 7th year as a homeschooling mom. I wish I can tell you that the past years have been easy and how teaching two children, who are polar opposites when it comes to learning, is a walk in the park. I can’t.
I wish I can also tell you how much I deserve a pat on the back and an honorary lifetime achievement award for homeschooling this long. I don’t. Believe me, I’ve met other homeschooling mommas out there who deserve some kind of recognition. My kids though would be thrilled to receive an “I’ve survived being homeschooled by my mom” award! Hey, they’ve made it this far!
Homeschooling has its never-ending quests, challenges, and potholes every single day that I can never claim to be an education expert or a homeschooling guru. However, having homeschooled for 7 years, I’ve also learned a lot. Some days get me frazzled, but most days leave me grateful. Grateful for the moments I get to spend with my kids; grateful for the chance to talk and listen to them every day; grateful to discover their uniqueness, their likes, and their pet peeves; grateful to learn along with them; and most of all, grateful that they can get to know God’s love through me. The blessings that go with homeschooling are endless.
However, if there is one message that I would like to share with you today though, it is this: LESS IS MORE.
Those worksheets you planned to have him all filled out today? Enough of that. The multiplication table you expect him to know by rote after you’re done with science and before you ask her to practice her penmanship drills? That can wait. The new state-of- the-art curriculum you plan to purchase to make sure he doesn’t miss out on academics? That just might be a total waste of money. Those enrichment classes that cost an arm and a leg? They may just be unnecessary.
Here’s what I want you to know. Less is really more. Less drills, more games together. Less worksheets, more stories. Less textbooks, more field trips. Less nagging, more listening. Less reports, more conversations. Less structure, more flexibility. Less of “school”, more of “home”.
Of course, this is not to tell you to totally forgo those worksheets/exercises or to completely abandon academics. They’re a given. It’s just that children learn better when they’re having fun. From experience, my most enjoyable teaching moments with my kids happen when I connect with them first. The material we use or the method we apply becomes secondary once we create a fun learning atmosphere at home. School becomes a pain when the teacher (that’s me) takes the fun out. I’m guilty of that. The lesson that would normally take 30 minutes to understand seems to take forever. The project that I know my child can accomplish beautifully in a day would be done haphazardly without any A+ for effort. The struggle is real, I know! But, perhaps, as long as we remember that less can be more, we can be grateful every single day.