by Rebecca Kocsis
I don’t know about you, but I thought when I started homeschooling that my kids would love having mommy as their teacher. I was a little disappointed the first time I heard, “That’s not how my teacher did it.” OK, it wasn’t exactly disappointment; it was more like irritation, and more than a little. Still, I knew that we had a wonderful journey ahead of us as we learned about the world around us. All it would take was a few months at home and a great sense of curiosity would awaken in them the yearn to learn.
We did have many wonderful homeschool years. It was a joy to see those “Aha” moments when the lights would go on and one of the children really “got it.” But, there were times when that wasn’t happening. Sometimes my children loved learning, but there were also times when there was no way to get them excited about it. This could sometimes be traced back to an underlying issue like a bad attitude or boring teaching material. Sadly, there were times when the teacher (me) was the only one excited about what we were learning. Over the years, I realized I couldn’t always stimulate the same excitement in my students that I was feeling. And sometimes they just didn’t have a desire to learn what I wanted them to know.
No, you can’t always make your children yearn to learn, but there are other things you can do to help them as they go on their own life’s journey:
You can help them learn self-discipline. Self-discipline will serve them well their entire lives. There will always be times we have to do things we don’t want to do, unpleasant, but needful things. Yes, making them learn something they aren’t excited about aids in that. Delaying gratification until they’ve earned a reward helps. There was a time in our house that we even had to institute the rule that there was no breakfast until the pets were fed. It takes self-discipline to care for others before ourselves, even if it’s a pet. Another key way they learn self-discipline is by watching their parent’s examples.
You can make sure they have the foundational skills to be life-long learners. Maybe your 11th grader is never going to get excited about American Literature. Honestly, they will not be handicapped for life because of that. What will handicap them is not having the foundational skills to learn what they need to know as they navigate adulthood. None of us stopped learning when we graduated high school. Some of us may have stopped reading for pleasure. That reality is so foreign to me personally that I tend to think people like that are from another planet. Still I birthed one of those aliens, so I know they exist. Making sure your students have the ability to read and communicate well, orally and in writing, is a necessity.
Of utmost importance, you can teach your students to discern truth and error. It is important that our children not believe everything they read or hear (or see on social media). They gain this discernment by being grounded in God’s Word. Make sure they are so familiar with godly wisdom that they can clearly discern the lies of the world when they are confronted by them. Teach them to interpret the world around them through the lens of God’s Word.
No, you can’t always get your children excited about everything they need to learn in “school”. Just as in every other area of life, they will have their likes and their dislikes. You will have, no doubt, many wonderful homeschool days. Still, do not consider your homeschool a failure if your children do not always yearn to learn. Consider that a part of the growing up process as you prepare your children to enter the adult world.