Skill Development and Joy
When I started homeschooling, I felt pulled between two extremes. I admired the “good” mothers who’d mastered the art of SKILL DEVELOPMENT without ruining their children’s lives. But my “favorite” mothers were good at giving their children HAPPINESS. On days when skill development went well, I would congratulate myself on having succeeded at being a good mother.
HOWEVER COMMA—On the days when they hated skill development (like handwriting a cursive ‘r’ or answering a word problem or sounding out a single short vowel word), I would fly into a pit of self-loathing.
Why is it so hard to just get my kids to learn and to not hate me at the same time?
That’s when I’d swing to the other end of the continuum. Maybe what was missing was joy. I’d say to myself: “I know! Children can teach themselves. All I have to do is leave them alone until LEGO assembly magically teaches them high school trigonometry.” Eventually they became wandering nomads complaining there was nothing to do.
It took some time, but I discovered that I needed both—and I could provide both! We could:
- work on spelling and light candles.
- eat snacks and practice math.
- handwrite on windows with window markers.
- read a book on a blanket in the backyard.
- knit while listening to history.
Skill development mattered, but so did joy.
Joy is all the stuff that brings kids happiness: cute snacks, tasty drinks, cozy blankets, anything fire, hugs, nooks and crannies, smiles, playing games, short lessons, lying on the floor, jumping on a mini trampoline.
Once I brought these together, homeschool (LEARNING) clicked!
And I wrote a whole book about it. 🙂