If you’ve been on my website before you’ll notice that things look quite a bit different. My husband and I have spent a bunch of time converting my old website into a blog. During that process, I had to go through all of the articles and newsletters on my old site in order to move them to the new site.
As I read post after post, I felt myself becoming convicted. When my boys were younger, I made it a point to provide hands-on lessons. I worked hard to be sure they were enjoying their schoolwork. My boys used to think that learning was fun.
Somehow, in the last several years, both of my boys have turned into young men. Ben is finishing 8th grade this year and Sam is finishing 6th grade. As their minds and bodies have been changing, my lessons for them have been changing as well.
As they left the fun, elementary school years I have felt more and more pressure to conform their lessons to the way of the world.
I’ve been fearful that they might not be receiving as rigorous of an education as they would be if they were in school – and that has caused me to make their schoolwork harder and harder.
Somewhere in that process, both of my boys have decided that they don’t like school anymore. They would rather do just about anything than their schoolwork. I’d just about resigned myself to the fact that most boys don’t like school – so if my boys don’t like their lessons I shouldn’t take it personally.
Then I read through some of the older articles from my website. I heard myself say again and again that our children’s minds are fires to be ignited and not vessels to be filled. I heard myself repeat how important it is for our kids to love the learning process. I heard myself emphasize how we need to take the time to do the hands-on projects, reach our sons where they’re at, and do whatever it takes to make learning fun.
How did I lose the desire to do that for my boys? When did I start taking the easy way out? Why did I start introducing more textbooks into our homeschool?
I came to the realization that I have been institutionalized. As much as I’ve tried to fight it, I was a publicly schooled kid from K-12. (Actually, K-16 because I attended four years of public college as well.) As my boys have gotten older, I’ve started to think more about being sure they are prepared to go to college and get a job. I’ve allowed my fears and uncertainties to taint my boys’ homeschool experience. My boys have stopped enjoying school. How heartbreaking!
As I turn to a new page on my website I will also be planning our next school year with fresh eyes and a new determination.
Here are my new resolutions:
- To be sure that God remains the center of our studies
- To study each of my boys to learn what excites them at this age
- To make next year’s studies more enjoyable for my sons
- To focus more on my sons’ strengths and less on their weaknesses
- To help each boy become the young man that God wants them to be
I’m excited to take this step back to what I know is important. I will return to relying on God instead of my boys’ education to ensure their future success. I will remember that character is more important than academics. I look forward to doing the messy, hard projects that my boys have always loved. I will do everything in my power to put the love back into learning!
Question: Do your children love to learn? Do you have any tips you could share which help keep learning fun – even for older kids? Please leave a comment below.