In this series, I’m hoping to give you a glimpse into why homeschooling is so effective for kids of all ages.
In the previous post, I showed just how much preschoolers are learning all the time. Homeschooling is incredibly effective for young kids since there’s time to answer more of their bazillion daily questions and let life and learning flow together naturally.
As kids get into their early elementary years, their brains are still like sponges. They’re constantly soaking in information and now they’re old enough to make more sense of it.
They’re more physically capable, their personalities are emerging and their learning styles/challenges are becoming more evident. Homeschooling is a great educational method for early elementary years because you can tailor almost everything you do to the unique needs of your child.
To show you what I mean, here’s an example of a learning experience that happened recently with my eight-year-old son.
Why Homeschooling Works – A 2nd Grade Example
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My kids and I have just finished working through an architecture course (I wrote more about it here) and my kids loved it.
The course starts by introducing the elements of design (points, lines, planes, geometric shapes, etc.) and then there’s a lesson about plan, elevation and section views like you’d see on architectural blueprints.
I could tell my kids were all enjoying the class but my 2nd grader was especially excited by the blueprint lesson. To learn about plan, elevation and section views, the lesson suggested stacking a few of the paper cubes we’d made in a previous lesson and drawing them from different views.
By making a cube tower and drawing it from the top (plan view), front, back and sides (elevation views), kids could take apart their tower and rebuild it by reading their own plans.
My 2nd grader eagerly started the assignment. I got distracted helping my preschooler and by the time I looked back at my 2nd grader’s work, he’d taken the lesson in a whole different direction.
Side Note: I was planning on showing you his drawing here but, alas, he didn’t give me permission. I assure you it’s very detailed and impressive… and nothing like the assignment was supposed to look like.
In this moment, I had a choice. I could steer him back on track to what he was supposed to be doing. Or, I could let him lead the learning experience while providing guidance to make the most of his spontaneous creative endeavor.
In large classes, teachers don’t have the luxury of allowing each kid to follow their whims on assignments (though I know many who would love to be able to). And, depending on your child, the response might need to be different in a situation like this. But, in our homeschool and with this child, I knew the best response would be to let him run with his ideas.
He clearly had a vision for something great that would’ve been squashed by my insisting on his following the arbitrary assignment to the letter. He wasn’t behaving in a defiant way but in an excited, “I-already-know-this-stuff-so-can-I-please-make-something-awesome-here” kind of way.
He ended up drawing a super-detailed elevation of a 3-story home with cut-aways to the interior elevation and section views. As he verbally walked me through it, he excitedly explained the various elements in his drawing and I supplied him with the correct architectural terms as needed (for example, when he showed me light lines he drew and explained they were the wall behind the furniture, I explained how architects use dashed “hidden lines” to draw things hidden behind other things in their drawings).
Before becoming a homeschool mom, I worked in architecture for over eleven years. Through his explanations, I could tell my eight-year-old was naturally understanding spatial concepts and design details that my adult coworkers had trouble grasping! He clearly already knew the lesson objectives and then some.
But I know this kid. If he’d been forced to do the assignment as intended, he would have begrudgingly complied. His little sparks of creativity and excitement would’ve been snuffed out as he tried to force his big ideas back into a tiny, one-size-fits-all box.
So, why does homeschooling work?
- It works because you can customize lessons based on detailed observations of each unique child.
- It works because you can cut out busy work and keep learning fun and interesting.
- It works because you have the time and freedom to explore topics to their hearts’ content.
- It works because outside the box thinking can be guided, rewarded and encouraged.
Homeschooling is an amazing option for kids of all ages! Stay tuned for the next post when I share a 5th grade example of successful homeschool learning and why home education works!
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