Love Them. Feed Them. Talk To Them. The Rest Is Icing On The Cake.
How many hundreds of times have I called my extremely patient husband and yelled, literally screamed into the phone, "I CAN'T DO THIS!"
There was a day, in the middle of a lesson that wasn't going well at all, that I walked out the back door, walked to the pool, jumped in fully clothed and yelled as loud as I could under the water.
I got back out of the pool, calmly walked inside, changed my clothes and continued with the day feeling much relieved.
George, my husband and biggest cheerleader - also a major part of our homeschooling life, is diligent to walk me off the cliff of homeschool despair. When I feel like I am failing our children, he offers me this morsel...
Before I give you his advice, I would like to mention at this point that George has a doctorate in education. He has devoted his life to encouraging children to engage in their world. His work is literally teaching teachers to teach in this way. He is an educational guru. There are books on education with his name on them. He has written articles galore. He has a TedX talk, newspaper articles, news stories, and presentations all on education.
His advice: "If they have been fed, if you have loved them, if you talked to them, then you are rocking it. Just keep doing this, the rest is icing on the cake."
No Joke people.
I'm going to go ahead and make a startling prediction. Test scores this year are going to be 1000X higher than they have been in years. Kids are going to posses more knowledge. They are going to become a research project for every educational institution on this planet. Why? Because. If you can wake up and keep your child safe, feed them some food, love them and talk to them - the rest is icing on the cake. Kids are sponges. They will absorb what we feed them. Feed them love, feed them food, feed them life and words and and their environment becomes their classroom.
They might fight you. In the last few days I've had two kids that have thought my idea for learning was not their idea for learning. I had to remember George's advice and step back from pushing the learning button and just be. In that time, they made yogurt with George, we painted pictures of a duck named Petunia, and we read about Salva in A Long Walk To Water. There were some math equations and vocabulary words and writing assignments accomplished in there and the 8 and 5 year old started learning Ozymandias by Percy Shelley.
Talk to them. Slow down. Think about your learning curve and how automatic complex things have become for you. Think of ways to get kids participating and talking with you about the knowledge that you have that allows you to function day to day. This doesn't have to be fancy. Talk to them about it!
The thing is, some days I don't even feel like I've managed those three things. It's 2 p.m. and I've forgotten to stop for lunch. I've looked at my kids and had very little love. I've definitely not had words. We will fail, but we can get back up again and try the next day.
Parents, this is it! And if you do actually laugh while you're at it, that is extra icing on the cake. You've got this!