Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Way To My Children's Hearts

This February, I'm featuring several homeschooling mamas as they share their "heart of homeschooling." I'm starting off the series with this blog post. Make sure to check back once in a while during the whole month for more. I  hope this glimpse of our hearts inspires you to at least look into the beauty of homeschooling.

"I don't like that book!" said my daughter about "Owl Moon."

"Really? Why?" I said it calmly, but really my mind was racing, thinking of how I could motivate my 5-year-old to sit with me and enjoy our book.

"Because I don't like poems. That book is full of poems."

"A-ha! But did you know that poems make good songs?" Then I started to sing.

With a gasp, Little T scooted up to me, then said, "I know! I'll get my dulcimer!" (A dulcimer is a string instrument that my children like to pretend to be a guitar.)

Jackpot. We finished the book that way, singing, talking, and playing together.

Going After My Children's Hearts

That little incident is just one of many that reveal the heart of our homeschooling, and essentially mine. Knowing my children and being able to respond to them in such a personal and empowering way is what keeps my homeschool heart beating steadily.

We all know the proverb "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach." You can say that I am after my children's hearts and the way to get there is to know them - their own interests and quirks - and to celebrate who they are.

I See You

We have a favorite Kindermusik song called "I See You." (Click here to listen.) It's all about what all children want: to be seen, to be known, to be celebrated.

I see my daughter. She loves to sing, dance, and pretend. She responds so well when we incorporate those three into our day. Noting her glassy eyes one time as I tried to talk to her about self-control in Kevin Henkes' Lilly's Purple, Plastic Purse, I invited her to "make it a play" and be Lilly. Oh how her eyes lit up!

I see my son. He loves to move, thank you very much! We provide him as much freedom as our hearts can take. Chairs, stairs, windows - I'm sure those of you who have boy toddlers know this! With him, I make the extra effort to be more physical, to be exaggerated in my voice and movement, to be more active in engaging him.

I see my children with my heart and theirs. 

The Heart of Our Homeschooling

More than the educational benefits that people talk about, the heart of the matter, of homeschooling for us, is the opportunity to get to know our children and respond to them as individuals. Making that knowledge work in all aspects of our lives, including their education, is just icing on our already delicious cake.

A poem that becomes a song, a story that becomes a two-character play, a chair that becomes a tree - all these are opportunities for me to go after my children's hearts and minds. I see them.

Read the rest of the series:

Make magic!

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Jade M. said...

Love your post.  My struggle is in disciplining my boys.  They're a mischevous lot, always on to stretch my patience.   And although I've had books like "How to Discipline Without Shouting and Spanking", and have read similar articles, ours has been more like a power struggle.  Although I don't shout as much, and I don't spank, mind is more of emotional blackmail. I find it challenging to do it as the books say, with love.  And it hurts me to see how they find more comfort in the yaya, even if (I believe) I spend more hours with them than the average career woman (my personal schedule is more of a stay-at-home mom), than in me.  Makes me a jealous mom.  But I had to learn it the yaya's way, (who is by the way already family, she was my yaya since I was a year old).  She's all love and gentle, while I'm military.  No wonder she just might as well be the Pied Piper of Hamelin!  If I wasn't homeschooling, this challenge may not be as threatening to wake me up.  But because I'm homeschooling, it keeps me up on my feet.  Otherwise, it may take me way past their formative years to realize the best way to my children's hearts.  Truly homeschooling is more than just academics, but a journey to living a more meaningful life both for the kids and for the parents.  It is simply, amazingly transcendent.

Chris Amador said...

Thanks for sharing your heart and inspiring other moms like me :) 

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Jade! Yes homeschooling is way more than academics. Even if I am challenged every day by the thought of sending my kids to school, I always go back to what is really important - our relationship and the time I spend with them.

Btw, I'm reading a book called "Parenting the Heart of Your Child: Teaching Kids to Make Good Decisions Even When No One is Looking." It's a wonderful guide. I just found it in a Learning Library branch but I'm looking for my own copy. You might want to check it out!

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Thank you Chris for reading! Can't wait for your own post :)

Jade M. said...

Sounds good.  Thanks for the tip.  Will look for it

TrulyRichMom/TeacherMamaTina said...

Love this post! :) And the idea for the series! :) Let's continue to encourage one another in love and faith, especially when it comes to homeschooling our kids. :D

flatsmallworld said...

Hi Mariel! Will be following this series, hope to learn as much as I can about homeschooling. Salamat!

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Thanks Tina! I find strength and comfort in all of my homeschooling friends, especially you! Can't wait for your post! :D

Mariel @ The Learning Basket said...

Hi Tams! I hope this blog will be of help :)