When I began teaching my kids this past year, I had no idea I would be the one doing the most learning.
I’ve learned that the most rich of academic lessons usually take place on their time and in an environment they love.
I’ve learned to reclaim their childhood, refusing to let them grow up too fast as society would have it. Childhood should be chalked full of imagination, tree climbing, rock skipping, broken twigs, forts, fuzzy caterpillars, streams of water that you can see through (or maybe not), mossy covered rocks, tons of riveting books, stops in the middle of the night on road trips to look at the stars, dirt between toes, sand castles, comic drawings, random dancing outside with cousins, hide and seek, mud puddles, and all other kinds of shenanigans that some would call a waste of time.
I’ve learned to stop letting textbooks take the place of life experience. And I hope I’ll keep learning it again and again as many times as it takes to raise my four boys with memories rich in love, laughter, and all the things childhood has to offer them.
Through global catastrophe, I have learned to slow down, and in doing so, kids have a true desire to learn on their own. We just have to capture the moments we miss in our day to day because we are running from this thing and that thing and use it as teachable moments to bond with our kids over conversation.
As some prepare to go back to what’s considered a normal school year, I hope we let the lessons we have learned this past school year continue to grow us in future experiences. Let us steep in what we have learned by being forced to stay home and play a more active role in our children’s education this past year.
Whether you are a homeschooling parent or sending your child back in-person, never forget that you were made for this moment in time. The things you have been arduously learning about your children through this global chaos can be used to form better bonds that foster a healthy generation of resilient lovers of education, if only we will seize the opportunity. Allow yourself to browse the inventory of things you have learned about your child that you may not have been privy to before when they remained in the classroom full time. As author Sarah McKenzie so elegantly puts it, “Your child is not a project to be managed, but a soul to be cultivated.” Pursue the wild and free corners of your child’s heart, even as they venture back into the schoolyard. You can make a difference here.