Parents who homeschool wear two hats: Mom/Dad and Teacher. Between trying to meet national standards, finishing the lesson for the day, and reviewing curriculum, it’s very easy for homeschooling parents to act as teachers far more often than they do as parents. I know. I’m a recovering homeschool teacher-then-parent myself.
But the beauty of homeschooling is that it is supposed to allow for more bonding time with our children. We can’t enjoy that connection if we’re constantly stressed about our responsibilities as teachers. So this year, I’m committing myself to intentional parenting. And, now that we’re on a homeschooling break as a family, I can see why it’s such an important part of successful homeschooling.
How Intentional Parenting Can Help Your Homeschool
1. It helps you reconnect with your children.
When you’re trying to homeschool a child or two (or several), it’s very easy to get caught up in the routine of teaching, homework, and grading. Over time, you can “forget” to connect with your kids. Parenting intentionally, that is, being present as a parent, stops that tendency in its tracks. It can almost be like rediscovering your children.
If you’re covering a lesson with your child, try to sit down next to him or her and read the lesson with them. Make eye contact. Talk about what you’re learning together and collaborate on a project you can share about it. Even simple changes like that can help your kids show more interest in the lesson and in spending time with you.
2. It makes it easier to adapt your teaching style.
Different children learn differently and recognizing each child’s learning style is a key part of successful teaching. If we’re wrapped up in being “the teacher”, though, we can easily become slaves to the lesson plan, which makes our homeschool lessons dry and boring.
When we practice purposeful parenting, it becomes much easier to see what our children like and dislike and then tailor our teaching style to what’s best for them. My oldest daughter, for example, is a kinesthetic learner. She learns by doing. Now that I know that about her, I understand why she hated worksheets and loved science experiments. We’ll definitely be adding more active work when we return to homeschooling!
3. It keeps you focused on the essentials.
I’m not sure if other homeschoolers suffer from what I call “educational hoarding”, but I surely did. I have probably collected more resources for teaching than I will ever use by the time my kids finish high school. I always felt that I needed to have more curriculum and lesson plans, in case I was stumped by something or in case I couldn’t explain it well enough to my kids.
Parenting intentionally, though, constantly reminds you of what’s important. Teaching our kids to love learning in general is so much more important than filling their minds with random facts. And, if I miss something along the way, there’s always Google. 🙂
If you’re a homeschooling parent, we’d love to hear how you make room for intentional parenting with your children! Feel free to share your tips and experiences in the comments.