Learning alongside your child – homeschool for grownups.

January 15, 2017 / Blog / 0 Comments

foam box - preschool sensory activity activityWhen we think of ourselves teaching our children we imagine it is the child who will be learning, the child who will be reading through reading lists, the child who will be sitting at the table writing and drawing. We put work in front of our child and expect them to complete is without complaining (too much!) and yet they probably never see us actively educating ourselves as adults. They will probably see us picking up a book in the evening or watching the odd documentary but for the majority of families that probably the extent of adult education.

This quickly creates the impression to even the youngest child that learning is something that is started at a certain age and finished at a certain age, something to be “got through” as children, something almost negative. Adult education is about night classes, sitting exams we may have failed to pass as youngsters or something only done to facilitate a change of career.

In reality the best example we can set to a child is to show them that we learn for enjoyment, show them how to find out more about a subject by simply letting them watch us do that for ourselves. If your child hates writing or colouring, let them see you do it. If your child hates maths then let them see you overcome your own fear of maths and complete the maths book you want them to aspire to finish.

I am TERRIBLE at maths and my children (unsurprisingly) grew up also fearing maths, how could they not when they have seen me flinch from sums and struggle to do calculations without my calculator? As an aside I did fine at maths at school (I got a B at GSCE) what does that say about the secondary education system and the standard of maths teaching as it was in the 90s?!

The last two years as i began to consider home education and as we began our journey I made a real effort to overcome my fears. I signed up for Kahn academy, I completed practice worksheets, I finally learned my multiplication tables properly. My children saw me practicing, they saw me struggle and redo things, they saw me go off to learn more about a topic that interested me (things like the history of maths!) and do you know what their own fears started to evaporate. They stopped complaining about maths, they started asking to use kahn academy for themselves without me having to reward them with anything in return! learning had become a normal part of our home in a way it never had been before.

Now we are homeschooling I have realise that the best way to encourage my children to sit and read their books or complete their assignments is for me to sit with them and work on my own.

So we will for example read a chapter of story of the world and while my child is writing or drawing about it or reading their own extra history books I will be right with them quietly reading my own books on that subject. I have a history degree and yet I have learned so much more in the last year of doing this than in the three years I spent studying for that degree!.

Of course this also allows me to have more in depth discussion with them about the subjects they are studying rather than simply sticking to what the curriculum says which is another big plus.

I suppose I am doing a kind of adult homeschool alongside the children’s schooling. I have book lists  I want to read, I colour, I do some older workbooks. I know of many people who would laugh at that but for me it has helped me rediscover my love of learning, it has made me a more effective home educator and more than that it has made me my children’s ally in their learning rather than the dictator standing over them imposing learning on them.

In the next few months I hope to share some of the booklists I have created and completes (and some i have yet to complete) the workbooks that have helped me and other useful bits and pieces for anyone else who is rediscovering self directed learning as a homeschooling mum!.



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