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Forced Learning Isn’t Learning

I’m often asked for advice regarding homeschooling and I cannot tell you how happy I am when a parent messages me and says they’ve decided to jump into homeschooling!

While I’m not going to say that homeschooling is for all families or all children, I’d be a liar if I didn’t say it could be great for most families and most children.

What I can say with 100% conviction is that all families and children will benefit from parents making intentional choices regarding their children’s education.

The trouble I see is too many parents believing they must send their children to school, when they have a choice, and thank goodness for that!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my child indoctrinated. I want her educated.

I don’t want my daughter to be rewarded simply for sitting down, staying quiet, and following directions. I want her to use her amazing mind and think for herself.

All that said, often I’m asked how to homeschool & how to start homeschooling.

When I answer honestly and say, “you’re already homeschooling,” most parents think I’m kidding.

I’m not.

Why does an alarm go off at the age of five (and now very sadly, even three and four) that says WE MUST SCHOOL NOW!

Children begin learning from day one and it’s my opinion that the best way to ruin their genuine love of learning is to force them into a classroom, away from the world so they can “learn.”

Forced learning isn’t learning

A one-size-fits-all style is a pipe dream. Mass education is an impossibility.

And yet no one questions this. Sending children off all day in institutions with limited interaction with the real world is considered normal.

It reminds me of a quote from Sarah Cleghorn:

The golf links lie so near the mill that almost every day the laboring children can see the men at play.

Of course the children of today aren’t working in the mill . They’re working in schools, occupied almost the same number of hours per week as the adults, and receiving no payment, only empty trinkets and papers that celebrate mediocrity and conformity.

Think I’m kidding or being cynical? How enthusiastic is your child when you ask about school? If you answered that your child is very enthusiastic about school, I’d guess that he or she is in elementary school and most likely early elementary school.

After that, most children lose interest in what they are forced to “learn” for upcoming tests in school.

It’s BS and most children know this.

Ok, but how do I homeschool?

John Holt said it best: Trust children.

It’s so simple, but so unbelievably difficult when we have been trained since we were five, that children cannot he trusted to learn without adult control.

Children need adults for guidance and support and occasional encouragement and help when asked.

They are biologically wired to learn. They don’t need to be forced to do so.

If I were to offer advice on what to include in a homeschool, I’d suggest:
  • The Natural World
  • Understanding & using numbers
  • People in the World
  • Be Creative
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Literature and other reading material
  • Writing

This could be anything you wish it to be and none of it has to be done separately and as a matter of fact, the more your child connects these ideas, rather than thinking of learning in subjects, the better.

I don’t follow a schedule for our homeschool. I don’t think learning should be scheduled. Learning should follow a natural rhythm set forth by the learner.

If your child is super into learning about the weather, why stop that? If your child is all about math challenges, why stop that for a math worksheet? If your kid loves experiments, why force an essay?

Go with the flow.

The learning will happen.

If you feel you need something to go by, look up the standards set forth by your state for your child’s grade level and use them as a tentative guide, but please don’t get hung up on these. Teachers don’t cover all of the standards, because they aren’t tested. Also, if you use these standards as a rule book, your child may learn less than if you just loosened the reins and saw their education as the amazing adventure that it is.



Categories: Homeschool

A Musing Mother

Hi! My name is Theresa and I'm a wife, mom of three, and grandma to two. I am a Nature lover and a follower of Christ. I live in an old farmhouse on the river where I homeschool our daughter. Most days, I can be found reading, making nature-inspired products, & gardening. I also enjoy traveling with my family, exploring cool local places, and helping out others where I am able. On the blog, I must about life, love, and learning.

3 replies

  1. I love going with the flow, and follow the child’s interest! Great post! Personally I like to make a rough schedule, based on my daughter’s interest, and then let that said interest take over, and dig deeper into the things that interests her the most. She likes projects, so I’ve written a project based curriculum for her. It has plenty of room for new ideas, while I know that we cover more than our states minimum requirements. That’s the sweet thing with homeschooling, you do it the way that fits your family the best 🙂 Great post! I’m going to look for more posts form you!


    1. Hi! Nice to “meet” you and I’m so glad to have you here. YES!!! Absolutely! Your plans sound fantastic and I agree 100%. The beauty of homeschooling is we get to make it what we want and what works best for our families. 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

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