SummaryAmanda Evinger, homeschooling Mom, discovered four helpful tips on how to help your kids view school as a divine learning mission, an adventure to complete!
We’ve all been there. Many of us are probably “there” almost every day.
We’ve seen the pencil chewing, the little whimpers, the doodling, the sort of cute mopey looks. Sigh.
As adventurous and breathtaking as the journey of learning really is, nevertheless, it is work. As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain.” So, just how do we make this precious work appealing to our children, and discipline them to love it and do their best at it?
I’m definitely no expert, but every month or so, I seem to gather one more pearl of wisdom (I’d love to hear what veteran homeschoolers have to share on this topic!).
Learning is a Gift.
First, I believe that we must never doubt how amazing our children’s capacity to learn is, and that they can comprehend clearly that learning is a gift from God.
By reminding our children (daily!) that their omniscient Creator has given them intelligence and will and they are called to develop them the best they can in their young years, they will (hopefully) “step up to the learning plate” and want to respond accordingly.
Kids are always asking the great and looming “why,” so we might as well take advantage of their inquiring minds! Our dear children must understand that the math page irking them to pieces does have a reason for sitting on the table, staring at them with googly eyes. They are on a learning mission, a divine learning mission, and it is an adventure to complete!
It can be helpful to read to our children, of all ages, quotations from Saints that were masters of education or even short excerpts from papal encyclicals that highlight the meaning and purpose of Christian education.
One of my favorites comes from St. Augustine:
“Education is the food of youth, the delight of old age, the ornament of prosperity, refuge and comfort of prosperity, and the provocation to grace in the soul.”
Wow! You’d think when little Johnny hears that one, he just may want to write a paper on snakes after all! Or, one can take a more simple approach and tell her kids, as a teacher I know does, “You are a kid, and school is your job! People work for a living!”
How do Our Children Learn?
Second, I think it helps to consider how our children like to learn.Some of us are bookworms, some of us are hands-on, some of us are visual and audio, and some of us have a whole style of our own. By discerning what the learning style of each child is, we can help them enjoy learning all the more.
How can we expect our children to learn well in ways they are not comfortable with, when we can’t seem to do so, even with the experience and self-discipline we’ve acquired throughout life?
It may even prove helpful to re-evaluate every once in a while what the learning styles of our children seem to be, and how we can help them to practically learn more that way.
If one of our sons is a buzzing bee in his seat, maybe we can let him quietly walk around as we read him his Religion lesson (I’m writing from a blizzard-ridden North Dakota, you see!), quizzing him as he strolls?
If another one of daughters is a budding little artist, we could consider letting her make homemade cards for nursing home residents as an art project when she needs some extracurricular work, or perhaps let her draw out her math problems on a separate sheet of paper. The possibilities are endless, and that’s the joy of being a teacher!
Learning is an Adventure!
Third, making learning an adventure through fun, age-appropriate activities can make the lessons our children learn in their essential basic texts come alive. Pray for wisdom and creative inspiration in this area — it will come!
Many online resources can give ideas to even the most fainthearted homeschooling parent. Mary Reed Newland’s book The Year and Our Children is a fantastic source for deeply spiritual learning activities based on liturgical seasons.
However, I think it is important for a schooling parent not to become exhausted. If you have two or more little children and the very word “craft” sounds like “sticky nightmare” (I can just smell the non-washable markers bought on clearance, plus the glue!) you may want to just spend hours cuddling up and reading thrilling and wholesome literature and Saint’s stories.
If there’s one thing I love about books, it’s that they are easy to clean up!
Learn from a Good Stash of Books!
Last, I am a firm believer in the value of a captivating home library, and a plenteous stash of homeschool goodies. Setting aside a generous budget for homeschooling materials is critical. We must trust God will provide for each of our children’s individual learning needs. Of course, Seton Educational Media is a great place to turn for this, as well as Illuminated Ink and Our Father’s House.
Shower of Roses is a great website to visit when looking for book lists and learning activities from an orthodox Catholic perspective.
In all things, our smiles, our loving encouragement and the joy we carry in our hearts will win our kids over and help them want to do their schoolwork. Every child has it within them to want to make their parents proud.
As St. Teresa of Calcutta once said, “Joy is a net by which we catch souls.”
So, these are some of the pearls of wisdom I’ve gleaned — what about you?