Ah, a change of seasons. But no, I’m not talking about the emergence of Spring. Rather, a change of season in our home, more specifically in our learning.
Just like with the natural weather based seasons the calendar doesn’t force them to begin, so it is in our home. The shape or appearance of Master J’s learning is taking on a different look. It isn’t that he is suddenly starting more formal bookwork, rather that I am increasing his workload. Not because I am trying to cram him full of information rather that I want to use the more formal learning time to continue to achieve our goals. You’ll notice that our goals are process oriented, not product oriented:
- Build and maintain relationships
- Develop the character of his heart
- Develop needed learning skills and a love for them
Not all homeschoolers have the same goals so I’ll try to expand on how the above points are our goals and how we use academic and curriculum as a tool:
1. Build and maintain relationships
By working with the child, we grow in intimacy. Using curricula as the tool, I will demonstrate love, grace and patience, thereby building trust. Academics are not the sole priority here but I want him to see that he is much more important to me than forging through a workbook.
2. Develop the character of his heart
Through this time I hope to help my child recognise any wrong attitudes and learn how to deal with them, leading him to submission to Christ.
3. Develop needed learning skills and a love for them
I don’t adhere to any standards of school or state. I don’t follow a syllabus that dictates to me when or how I need to proceed with new disciplines or subjects. Rather, the Holy Spirit reveals my child’s needs to me and I trust that He will shape the approach and requirements for each child. I desire that Jesus Christ become Lord over our education, approach, methodology and processes of learning. Academics and education are secondary to that.
Until we come to grips with the deception that ‘content equals education’ we will never be set free to explore a better way. And what is the better way? Learning how to learn and how to think (process) rather than what to learn and what to think (product).
For many years, we followed a literature based approach, then had some years of natural learning or an unschooling approach. The in an attempt to provide more self direction and structure we started to use ACE paces for a few subjects. The ACE paces served a purpose for awhile, as the boys learned some valuable lessons and also learned to work more independently than before. But the flip side of it was that they felt stifled and I found that goal #1 wasn’t being met. Recently (as in the last few months) I’ve observed my son and I sense (through the prompting of the Holy Spirit) that he is indeed becoming ready for growth in academic areas – I’ve sensed a change in seasons, so needed to reassess our lifestyle of learning and what I could do more efficiently to meet our goals.
Homeschooling is never static…as our children are never static. Parenting/homeschooling is never ending and I’m always kept on my toes. Tomorrow I’ll share the system I devised a few years ago. This system worked well with the girls (without less instruction) but it’s only now that Master J is able to keep up with such an organisational system.