Time is a homeschooler's best friend. The longer that I homeschool, the more that I recognize and value the truth of this statement.
One of the things that we learn in school is that there is a right time to learn things. And if you do not know something when you are “supposed to” then you are “behind”. You get “extra help” and a lot of focus goes into fixing your "weakness" or identifying the “problem”. I honestly believe that it is not the intent of schools to send this message, but it is one that many children pick up.
The beauty of homeschooling is that you come to realize that there is no one right time where every child will know the same thing. But there is one right time for each individual child - and that right time is whenever he is ready.
My fellow Life Without School author Shay has a saying “There are no educational emergencies”. And she is right. There is absolutely nothing that I can think of that has to be learned right now. And what is great about homeschooling is that we have time. Time to focus on other things if our child is struggling with a particular concept. Time to wait until they are ready. Time to move on, and often moving on will give the child the space they need for something to “click”.
I will admit that I did not really understand this when I first started out. I had the same worries that most new homeschoolers have. Is my child “behind”? Why is he not learning what he should? Why is he not interested in what “they” say he should be interested in?
In many ways, I am lucky to have a child who did not learn like he was “supposed” to. My oldest was a “late” reader and has always done things on his own timetable. I worried a lot about this but had some wonderful homeschool mentors that assured me that it was ok and he would read when he was ready. And they were right. This experience (and others) has helped me relax and trust that my children are right where they need to be. And that waiting until a child is truly ready makes learning easy and fun. Why make learning into a struggle when we don't have to?
I have found that if my child is struggling with a concept then he either is not developmentally ready to learn it or I am not presenting it in a way that makes sense to him. But either way, the problem is not with my child. He is exactly where he should be. And either way, I have the time to figure it out. Because there are no educational emergencies.
So now, going into our 6th year of homeschooling, I am glad that I can be that voice that reassures the new homeschooler who is “in tears” because her 5 year old is not reading yet or the homeschooler who has been homeschooling for a week and is worried because her son does not seem excited about learning. I can tell them that it is ok. That they have time. That their children are right where they need to be.
Because time is a homeschooler's best friend.
Stephanie is constantly trying to find that elusive state of balance in her life while enjoying her two energetic yet vastly different boys. You can read about their ongoing exploits on her blog, Throwing Marshmallows