So you are ready to start homeschooling. Or maybe still thinking about it. Or perhaps you are just looking to help your children be better prepared for the next step your family plans to take.
One of the most important steps that I have found in preparing to educate my son is learning to cooperate.
Mind you Tractor Man is an extremely high energetic three-year old. If he were sent to preschool they would probably be recommending medications, which he does not need.
So what exactly does he need? Well as a former public school teacher I can tell you. He needs to be engaged, allowed to express himself ( within reason of course), given the chance to explore learning and creativity in his own way.
Notice I did not say to learn his ABC’s or 123’s. Don’t think that those basics are not being taught, indeed they are, but we have ways to make it more fun for him and let him move freely.
What am I talking about? Let me give you an example.
Basic flashcards are great but after about a week or two of those the excitement in your voice will not be enough to keep him engaged.
Enter the race game. I place three ABC cards of various letters on the couch and then he races his dad to that letter on the couch. First one to get the letter wins.
Ah but it doesn’t end there! We are teaching our highly competitive son to lose. Tractor Man likes to get his way and of course to win but he is learning to lose with grace.
Emphasis on saying “Good Job Dad!” was not an easy task and it has taken many times but he now says it without being prompted too.
So lets see in the race game alone he gets: ABC practice, exercise, learning to think under pressure, and kindness to others.
So what does all of this have to do with learning to cooperate? Everything!
The key with learning to cooperate is that it is a two lane highway. There will be NO cooperation unless BOTH parties are will to compromise and of course work.
Knowing my son as I do is what enables me to know how to best teach, engage and ultimately educate him on both life and lessons.
If you are thinking of educating your child start with establishing cooperation.
So, how do you establish cooperation with your child? Start with communication. Kids need to be talked to and they need to feel listened to and understood.
Establishing this connection with your child is all about communication to start with. Set basic ground rules and together make a list of expectations. For example I would say we need to learn to write our ABC’s and Tractor Man would say we need to write big, thus writing on a large chalk board would be our best way to satisfy both sides.
Apply this style of communication and compromise to all levels of education. Set goals for each day. I am a checklist girl and Tractor Man is a wipe out the list kid. So everyday we write a list on the mirror in the school room and he wipes out those we complete as we go.
Above all do not be afraid to have to try many new things to make educating your child work for you both. Do not fool yourself into thinking this will be an easy task. You are really about to start a very difficult journey.
The best way to get started is to establish cooperation. And above all be prepared to cooperate yourself as well.