When I began to explore home education, I thought I was the only explorer. I had this idea that there was this strange homeschooling land where homeschoolers lived and made their own bread and clothes. I wandered in unsure of it all. I am still wandering, but discovering that I am not alone in the land and that the people here are diverse with varying methods, interests, and practices. I love to learn from those who are ahead of me on the journey; to watch and listen to their stories, and glean wisdom from their experiences.
As I am starting out teaching my littles at home, I am learning that these years are formative, but they are not to be stressed over, for they are short and sweet. “These are the easy years,” seasoned homeschooling moms will say.
Here is some of the best advice I received on teaching littles at home:
- Let them play. Kids need to move, get outside, use their imaginations, and roam in nature. This does not have to be structured. Give kids space to explore- they know what to do.
- Read aloud. I love reading to my kids and get lost in good stories alongside them. We have baskets and shelves full of books. One of the common bits of advice I hear from other moms is to “read often with your kids.”
- Teach the children, not a curriculum. Kids really do not need a formal curriculum until 1st grade, and even then we are teaching persons not textbooks.
- Establish good habits. Provide routine and rituals that will help form character and build children’s understanding of home, work, and traditions.
- Cherish the little years. One mom told me about a year ago that she sometimes misses the easy years when her kids were small. “There was less pressure then. I just enjoyed watching my kids be kids. Now there are standards to meet, and the work is harder.” I am learning to cherish these little years, and not push my Kindergartener like she’s preparing for her SAT.
These are just a few things that I am learning to do while teaching my little ones at home. As I pray for my kids, I am most concerned about cultivating their hearts to know and love God. This is a work that only God can do, but I want to steward my days well with my kids. There are many methods, but One Master- and I am not the Master. So, I entrust my children to the Lord, trusting Him to do the work only He can do. This takes the pressure off of me to have to be a “Super-Mom” or a “Super-Teacher.” My home gets loud, messy, and my kids can be out of control at times, but I surrender it all to Christ trusting that He will turn the broken into beautiful. These little years matter, but they are not mine to master. Remembering this helps me to enjoy this season, resting in the One who holds it all together.