“Boy: Noise with dirt on it.”
No truer words may have ever been spoken, at least in the case of my boys. Yes, at times they can be quiet and contemplative when constructing their latest architectural masterpiece out of LEGO Bricks. But, for the most part (she types, adjusting her earplugs), they are loud. So loud. They are mischievous. Adventurous. Bold. And, did I mention loud?
For this reason, boys do not often fit into the cookie cutter mold of what a “model student” should look like.
Boys fidget. They talk loudly. They leap from . . . anything. They turn everything into a competition. While these attributes may come across as negative to some, I embrace them in our house. Which, incidentally, doubles as their classroom. This does not mean that we live in a perpetual state of chaos. What it does mean is that we practice everything in moderation. So, when it’s time to learn about bugs, we head outside and dig in the dirt. But when it’s time to come inside, we practice responsibility and take pride in our home by mopping up the dirt we track in on the floor.
The beauty of homeschooling for me is the ability to capitalize on the multitude of teachable moments that we encounter in our daily lives.
It also enables me to teach my children at their level. Boys, by nature, are strategists, explorers, and wanderers. They are relational learners. The beauty of homeschooling is that, as their teacher, I can meet them where they are in terms of education and focus on their strengths to elevate their overall experience. Homeschooling enables me to isolate their individual talents and interests and incorporate them into our lessons, so they can thoroughly enjoy learning.
Unfortunately, boys are often pigeonholed as poor students. I think that is a grave disservice to them. Boys also make up a large majority of children with a mental or behavioral health diagnosis. Again, I can’t help but wonder if much of this stems from their vastly different approach toward learning. By providing a space for boys to reveal their personal vulnerabilities without fear of ridicule, as well as allow them to put forth a certain level of opposition, homeschooling provides a safe space for them to grow academically and fully.
As a homeschooler, I have the freedom to let my sons explore and guide their educational experience.
If they enjoy trains, we head to a train yard first before we crack open a book about the railroad. Hands-on, in your face, unfiltered experiences. This is my goal for them. If they are struggling with a concept in math, we pull out dominoes in lieu of a math worksheet.
Have you ever heard that saying, “You aren’t meant to just survive; you are meant to thrive?” Children shouldn’t look at their schooling begrudgingly. They should be excited and inspired to learn. They should be THRIVING, not just barely surviving to achieve a good mark. But, we need to help them. We need to be more than just pushers of paper or creators of rules. We need to be their partners on new adventures. We need to be co-pilots on their quest for knowledge. Occasionally we need to let them stand at the mast and show us not just where they want their learning to go, but how to get them there.
Samantha Lee is a homeschooling mom and blogger in the Pittsburgh area. As a wife, homeschooling parent, and freelancer, she aspires to grow academically, faithfully, and wholly everyday. Follow her on Facebook!
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