Friday, September 18, 2009

To remember when teaching a child

"It's not showing, but sharing and feeling. What do we care if the [child] fails to remember the name of a wild flower? Does he remember its fragrance; the texture of its leaves? Does he know where to find it? And does he know, not because someone told him he should know, but because for him it is a thing of enjoyment and beauty?" -Steve Van Matre

I am homeschooling my daughter this year. I should say, I am homeschooling all three children, because even my 3 and 1.5 year old participate. But my primary focus is on the 5 year old. Some days are better than others, some are filled with insight and learning, and others seem to be a waste of time. I remind myself that public school is no different. Every day we make prayer and scripture study part of our lives, and the kids get to watch me, and participate with me, in repenting and seeking the Savior's guidance as I search the scriptures. Every now and then I'll come across a scripture I think would serve them well, and we set out to memorize it. It's good exercise for all our memories!

I try to remind myself as we read, that what is most important is that they learn to whom to turn (some proper grammar there for my mother,) for comfort and peace, and a remission for their sins. I do not care, at this point, if they know the Lord's prayer by heart, as long as they learn to plead with the Lord from the heart. I help them pray that the Lord will help them learn to read, write, count; help them learn to skip and tie their shoes, and help me to be calm and in control of myself so I can teach without fear. By making prayer a part of learning, they are not threatened by my authority. It is not just MOM trying to force knowledge on them, but a loving Heavenly Father who is helping them. They are much more open when we approach it from that angle. Especially my head-strong daughter!

Kaylee takes to homeschooling naturally. She despises someone teaching her. She prefers to teach herself, based on the examples she sees. The other day she copied down letters from a printed text she found lying around. I was impressed at how studiously she worked--for over an hour she practiced her writing skills and making her letters smaller and more clear. She would ask me the name of the letter, and repeat it with me several times, then get to work on another. I didn't force her to stop, she stopped when she was ready. I didn't make her do it at all. She took pleasure in learning, and set about teaching herself for the joy of it!

She would definitely have problems in school, because she chaffs so much against authority, and she refuses to be led or controlled. It was when this aspect of her personality came out that she and I started to battle on a daily basis. She was 18 months old when it began. I remember it like it was yesterday. It grew stronger and stronger, and I countered it with stronger and stronger negative reactions as she grew older. I was trying to control her, and she was insistent that never, no matter what, even in the face of hurt and pain, emotional or physical, would she ever surrender her precious agency. It wasn't until Kirk Martin's philosophies came along that I considered that perhaps she was made this way for a purpose, and I, through my efforts against this side of her, was frustrating that purpose.

I realize now that some children, including her, are made to be independent, and I have grown to love that about her. I do send her to preschool so that she can learn to work in a group, and learn leadership skills, as well as respect for other authority besides just parents. I want to teach her the necessary things of society, but I also don't want to kill her love for self-teaching. So I am seeking to nurture that natural love, and develop it. I hope it lasts a lifetime!


  1. Ginny,
    I love reading your blog! It is nice to see there is someone out there who thinks some of the things that I do! You have such neat ways of expressing your ideas! Thanks for your openness and willingness to say things that most will not(including me). I am still searching for my little voice:) I am also homeschooling my little ones. Keep on writing, you are inspiring. I think everyone can learn alot from your thoughts and insights.

  2. Thank you Rebekah! That means so much to me! I'm so glad you're a kindred spirit!

  3. What a beautiful blog! I found it from mormon mommy blogs and i LOVE IT!!! I love the playlist you have! I had never heard "the call" song and i love it!!!
    Come visit me!!!!!