Even though I was my children’s homeschool teacher through high school, my children taught me some very important lessons as well. Here are my top 5 homeschool lessons my children taught me:
1. Maria Montessori was right. You really can follow the child.
Throughout my children’s childhoods, my husband and I used Maria Montessori’s philosophy of child-led learning. One of my favorite quotes is
“Let us leave the life free to develop within the limits of the good, and let us observe this inner life developing. This is the whole of our mission.” – Maria Montessori
By observing my children over the years, I learned that it was safe to just let my children show me what was right for them. Often, my husband and I gave Will and Christina opportunities to experience different activities.
Then we let their natural tendencies and interests choose which to stay with. We gave Will and Christina experience with a number of sports, especially skiing, roller skating, ice skating, karate, and tennis. They also experienced piano lessons, drum lessons (Will) voice lessons, and dance.
Both Will and Christina chose ice skating as their favorite sport. Our whole family had amazing, life-changing experiences through figure skating, and Will and Christina both found careers in figure skating. Will had an interest in music and DJing, so he became a DJ at age 15. Will is still a DJ, too, with his own business, Dancing DJ Productions. Christina was always a dancer – and still is as a professional ice dancer and Zumba instructor.
2. If I have questions, I just need to ask.
I learned from homeschoolers that I just needed to ask questions at homeschool conferences, seminars, and groups. (Now there are lots of online places to ask questions as well!). In the same way, I just needed to ask my children if I was wondering about something. Was it time to try a new curriculum, or did they like the one we were using? What did they want to study this year? What did they plan to study in college? Should we drop an old tradition and try a new one?
3. Homeschooling truly is about family.
My children didn’t want or need school at home. They needed homeschool. The more I could merge our schooling and family, the happier we all were.
As we went through the years of homeschooling, our homeschool looked less and less like school at home and more like our family doing schoolwork as part of our normal day and family activities. We learned to embrace the freedom homeschooling gave us to go out and do fun, educational activities during the school day and take family trips when others were in school. We loved being able to say: “This is our school day. Is this cool – or what?!”
4. I don’t have to be perfect.
I was notorious for not planning or recording our homeschool activities as well as I should have. And sometimes we just got totally off schedule. But what was great was that Will and Christina didn’t worry about that. So I really didn’t spend a lot of time worrying about it, either. And guess what … it didn’t matter to anyone in the end. What Will and Christina missed in direction from me they got from themselves. And that self-direction helped them both earn straight A’s throughout their bachelor’s degrees (and helped them love their college experiences)!
5. All you need is love. (via my children and the Beatles).
Many wonder how much education and training is needed for parents to homeschool their children. Yes, I had a bachelor’s degree. And that helped us homeschool without hassles from anyone (since people assumed I knew what I was doing as a teacher).
But I wasn’t certified to teach in a public school. My bachelor’s degree was in liberal studies with a concentration in Montessori elementary and early childhood education.
Having a bachelor’s degree (of any type) enabled me to administer the required biennial standardized testing in Colorado (which allowed us to test at times throughout the day that worked with OUR schedule during OUR set testing week). And my Montessori certification definitely helped me confidently use the Montessori principles I love with my children.
But a degree or teacher certification certainly wouldn’t have been necessary. I truly believe that parents without any formal teacher training can be wonderful homeschool teachers. With homeschool conferences, seminars, online support, local homeschool groups and tutors, teachers’ manuals and educational supplies, anyone who is committed to homeschooling can find a way to teach the ones they love.
Of course, not everyone is meant to homeschool, and that’s fine, too. But if you do want to go the homeschooling route, my children showed me that it’s easier than I would have thought. All we really needed was the love for each other that led us to find a way to do what was best.
Note: This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared the many lessons their children have taught them.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Affection — Alicia at I Found My
Feet has finally become a hugger and kisser, now she has
someone sweet and small to snuggle with. (@aliciafagan)
- Learning from Daniel — Amy at
Anktangle hopes that she and her husband will always be open
to learning from their son. (@anktangle)
- Kids Cultivate Awareness of Universal
Truths — From forgiveness to joy, Amy Phoenix at
Innate Wholeness has become aware of deep truths that come
naturally to children. (@InnateWholeness)
- What the
Apple Teaches the Tree — Becky at Future
Legacy has learned about imagination, forgiveness, and
- A Lesson in Slowing Time —
Bethy at Bounce Me To the Moon revels in the chance
to just be with her baby.
- Learning From My Children: I Am So
Honored — WAHM Chante at My Natural Motherhood
Journey is learning to choose tea parties over work. (@MyMotheringPath)
- P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E — Now that she’s a
mother, Danielle at born.in.japan is finally
learning about a personality trait she lacked. (@borninjp)
- Top 5 Homeschool Lessons
My Children Taught Me — Deb Chitwood at Living
Montessori Now shares what she learned from homeschooling
her (now grown) children. (@DebChitwood)
- Learning to Live in the Present By Looking to the
Future — Dionna at Code Name: Mama
finds the patience to be a gentle parent, because she knows how
fleeting childhood really is. (@CodeNameMama)
- The watchful Buddha boy — At
Dreaming Aloud, they are learning to cherish their
thoughtful, sensitive child in a action-driven, noisy world. (@DreamingAloudNt)
- What My Children Taught Me —
Dulce de Leche‘s children have taught her to value
herself for the wonderful person and mother she is.
- Lessons from the First Year —
Having a child made Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama
realize that her decisions affect more than just herself. (@CrunchyishMama)
- Lessons from Loss —
Erica at ChildOrganics learned so much from the love
— and loss — of her sweet Bella, five years ago. (@ChildOrganics)
- The Socratic
Baby — Erin at Multiple Musings has
so-called “identical” twins to serve as a daily lesson in nature vs.
- Learning to be a Mother —
Farmer’s Daughter learned the type of patience that
enabled her to calmly eat one-handed for months and change clothes
seven times a day, before noon. (@FarmDaughter)
- A Few Things Being a Mom Has
Taught Me — Heather at Musing Mommy
shares the curious, hilarious, and sometimes Murphy’s Law-like
tidbits we learn from our children. (@xakana)
- I Feel You — Motherhood has taught
Jamey from At the Bee Hive empathy, and it extends
beyond just her child. (@JameyBly)
- Lessons From My Child… —
Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy shares the inspiring
ways she’s learned to expect the unexpected — and have a camera
- My child is my mirror — Jessica
Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama has seen herself in her
children – and it’s not bad. (@crunchychewy)
- There is enough to go
around… — Kellie at Our Mindful Life
learned that love doesn’t diminish when it’s shared.
- Learning From Our Children, Every Day —
Kimberly at Homeschooling in Nova Scotia, Canada is
continually inspired by her children. (@UsborneBooksCB)
- Life Lessons From My
Children — Kristen at Adventures in
Mommyhood has learned that every slug is fascinating, doing
the dishes is fun, and sharing a banana is a delight. (@crunchymamato2)
- Things I’ve Learned From My
Children — Kristin at Intrepid
Murmurings uses pictures to share what she has learned from
her children. (@sunfrog)
- Beyond the questions lies the
answer — Lauren at Hobo Mama stopped
wondering and started knowing — loving and liking our children comes
- Learning from
Children — Lily, aka Witch Mom, finds
out just how enchanting balloons can be. (@LilyShahar)
- Lifelong Learning — Lindsay at
Living in Harmony has learned that what works for one kid
might not work for another. (@AttachedMama)
- Walking alongside my
daughter — Lindsey at Mama Cum Laude is
learning to give the clock less power over her family’s life.
- Things my baby taught me about
me — Luschka at Diary of a First Child
is proud of how she has grown as a mother. (@lvano)
- From my children, I have
learned — Mama Mo at Attached at the
Nip has a litany of beautiful lessons, from selflessness to
- The Little Things in
Life — In a simple and lovely prose poem, Mandy
at Living Peacefully with Children shows how adults worry
about the wrong things and forget the little, important ones:
watching ladybugs, jumping in leaves, cherishing each moment as it
- The Virtues of Motherhood —
Melissa at The New Mommy Files has had opportunities
to learn from children as both a teacher and a mother. (@NewMommyFiles)
- My Kids Have
Taught Me That It’s Time To Stop Blogging —
Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! has learned
that childhoods fly by too fast to blog. We’ll miss your wonderful
online presence, Melodie, and we wish you much peace and happiness.
- Having Kids Has Taught me a
Thing or Two — Michelle at The Parent
Vortex learns all day long — from fun facts about hedgehogs
to tying a complicated wrap with a screaming child and an audience.
- We Could All Learn from the
Children — Momma Jorje takes time to
get on the floor and play so that she can see the world through her
- Teaching Forgiveness —
Mrs Green at Little Green Blog has a daughter who’s
taught her unconditional love — even when she feels like she does’t
deserve it. (@littlegreenblog)
- Parenting as a joint
venture — Olivia at Write About Birth
appreciates watching the astonishing way her children learn. (@writeaboutbirth)
- Beginner’s Mind — Rachael at The
Variegated Life learns from a child who builds bridges to
nowhere, calls letter magnets his numbers, and insists dinnertime is
truck time. (@RachaelNevins)
- A baby’s present — RS at A
Haircut and a Shave presents a short poem on the differences
between a baby’s mindfulness and ours.
- Self-Confidence Was Born With My
Daughter — Sara at Halfway Crunchy
learned to trust her instincts by responding to her child’s needs —
and saw her self-confidence bloom.
- The Importance of Being Less Earnest —
Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante has one list of
earnest and one list of silly things she has learned as a parent. (@seonaid_lee)
- Lessons my children have taught me —
Sheryl at Little Snowflakes learned that attachment
parenting was the best way to meet the needs of her child and
- Till the water is clear — Stacy
at Mama-Om learns that being present is the best present. (@mama_om)
- I Hold It —
Stefanie at Very, Very Fine has learned that the
ability to communicate is much more important than the number of
words a child knows.
- What My Children Taught Me About Letting
Go — Summer at Finding Summer is
learning from her kids to laugh in the face of heartache. (@summerminor)
- Finding My Tools — The
Artsymama has applied some of what she’s learned as a mama
in the classroom, with great results!