By Raylene M. Hunt
When talking to families who are struggling with young children who are not wanting to do school, I ask a few questions. How old is the child? What are you using for curriculum? Why is this important to you? Then I explain that the problem (at least in most cases) is that they may have some unrealistic expectations of what the child should be doing. These are often based on external pressures (neighbors, family, local schools, etc.).
Young children learn best through play. They aren’t just wasting time or goofing off. They learn through exploration and discovery. Many times parents have chosen homeschooling because the public school system wasn’t working for their child. Yet, in their homes they attempt to replicate it. Why do we do that? I did it myself.
So what is education, really? I recently took a class entitled Teaching Students with ADHD, and the teacher summed it up, perfectly. What she had to say
applies to everyone. We can learn and apply it in our homeschool environments, too:
“If we break down the word educate and consider the origin, we see that it’s edu + cate, or to lead out from within. Learning doesn’t happen by pouring new information in! It requires interaction and thought, both of which take internal focus and time.”
Because I am who I am, I could not simply take the instructor's word for it. I had to explore it myself. She was correct. But I also found one definition that took it a step further. “Education – to draw out or unfold the power of the mind.” To me, this says that the seeds are already planted in our children. We just need to feed and nurture them (with an environment rich in learning opportunities).
I took it one step further still, and looked for a definition for home. I found this, “A place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.”
So (do you see where I’m going with this?), if we combine the two words, home and educate, then within our permanent environment, we are truly drawing out or unfolding the power of the mind.
Why then, when we have such a rich opportunity, would we attempt to replicate school where attempts are made to pour information in instead of drawing out?
Just something to think about.
Raylene M. Hunt, is Early Childhood Educator and homeschooling mom of two. She is a homeschool group leader and the founder of Creation Exploration Ministry. She has 14 year of experience as a home educator and 25 years of experience working with families with young children. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.