SPOKANE, Wa. – I’ve noticed how moms who are homeschooling young ones will often panic about how their children aren’t cooperating, seem disinterested or simply aren’t covering the material that they feel is necessary.

the unhurried homeschoolerIt makes me want to cry. I want to stand up, shake my fist and shout NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!  No to schoolwork, no to pressure, no to unreasonable expectations, NO to the educational system that seems to want to take away something precious. Something we can NEVER get back:  our children’s childhood.

I cannot stress enough to you how very important it is to BACK OFF of curriculum and too much book learning that isn’t initiated by the interest of your child.  There are several reasons for this:

Children are born with a natural love of learning. Every child is curious and quite naturally explores on their own the things they are interested in. When we allow them that natural investigation, their love for learning grows and their desire to learn is ignited. It reminds me of starting a fire in our wood stove.  We carefully lay the fuel to get the fire burning.  It starts out small and as we encourage the flame, it grows. Sometimes we blow on it, sometimes we add a bit more fuel A LITTLE AT A TIME, but if we add too much of anything all at once, we extinguish the fire. And it’s true for learning as well.

Too much too soon is stressful for children. Children have good sense of when they are ready to learn things and when they are not. They will exhibit certain behaviors that clue us in: crying, defiance, lack of interest, stressful responses.  We need to pay attention to these, especially in the early years. Children are adept at learning their own way if we allow them the space to do so. Be a student of your child, observing what strikes interest and curiosity in them. Trust and respect their natural ability to learn. Studies have also shown that children whose environment is restricted visually (to basically only classroom and books) have a much higher rate of myopia (near sightedness)  I can attest to this in our own family. My husband has been wearing glasses since 3rd grade (he went to traditional school).  If vision problems are genetic, then at least some of our children should be wearing glasses by now. We have eight children who have all been homeschooled from the beginning and not one of them wears glasses.

The early years are foundational for character building. Instead of spending the early years fighting our kids on doing book work, our time would be better spent teaching them character through helping around the house, serving others, reading together, working alongside each other having good conversation, teaching good manners and how to treat others. These characteristics are life skills that will serve them well in whatever path they take and that core character is built early on.

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Originally Published at here at Simple Nourishing Home.

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