Are you frustrated with homeschooling, wondering how to make the light bulb in your child’s mind turn on more often? Here’s a key that almost always makes a difference: CONNECTING with your child. It’s like a switch.
Connecting with your child enables better learning. You may have heard homeschoolers say “The relationship with your child is always more important than curriculum.” This post elaborates on this idea, giving you an explanation and practical tips that will help you improve your homeschool journey from the foundation of a solid relationship.
This guest post is by my friend Meaghan Jackson, a parenting and homeschool coach and a homeschool mom of 3 busy boys. She is a wonderful and encouraging person, creating wonderful content to help parents and families navigate this crazy world. Check out her blog at Joyful Mud Puddles.
Thank you and welcome to the blog, Meaghan.
Children feel a sense of love and belonging when we take the time to connect with them. Connection impacts so many different areas in their lives.
As homeschooling parents, you naturally spend more time with your children. Doesn’t that mean that you and your child are already connected? Not necessarily. It depends on the quality of the time you spend with each other. Obviously, you’d like that to be enjoyable and meaningful.
Why is connection with my child so important?
A connected child feels understood and safe. When a person feels safe, their defenses go down. They are more willing to cooperate and learning can happen.
“Putting your students’ emotional needs first is important because without feeling safe and understood, no instructional strategy will be effective.”~ Jasper Fox, Sr.
When a person is under stress, they cannot learn as effectively, or at all. Their body and mind are focused on the perceived emergency. When we focus on a strong relationship that relaxes the child and helps them feel secure, learning happens much more readily. The brain isn’t stuck in that fight, flight, or freeze mode. It is ready to engage and accept new experiences.
“Any child who can spend an hour or two a day, or more if he wants, with adults that he likes, who are interested in the world and like to talk about it, will on most days learn far more from their talk than he would learn in a week of school.”― John Holt
How To connect with Your child in a meaningful way?
There are different learning styles and each child is unique. Engage with your child, spend time doing things together, and you’ll soon discover how they learn best. Of course, there are many ways to create a closer connection with your child. Let’s take a look at ways that facilitate learning.
1. Show interest in what they are passionate about.
Find out what lights them up. You can show them how much you care by listening, doing their hobby with them, and finding resources to facilitate further learning. You’d be surprised how much learning is involved and where that might lead, even if you do not feel their current passion is all that valuable.
“We can best help children learn, not by deciding what we think they should learn and thinking of ingenious ways to teach it to them, but by making the world, as far as we can, accessible to them, paying serious attention to what they do, answering their questions — if they have any — and helping them explore the things they are most interested in.”― John Holt
2. Let your child teach you something
This provides incredible opportunities for demonstrating knowledge, processing information, giving a presentation, problem-solving, communication, and more. Your child will feel so proud and it will boost his/her confidence. Notice how they demonstrate that knowledge. It will give you some clues as to their preferred learning style, which you can then use to teach them something new later on.
3. Spend one-on-one time with your child
As homeschoolers, we often get so busy with academics, housework, activities, and other siblings, that we forget to do this. Your child needs to know that he/she is special and has his/her own dedicated time to get your full attention (or they will find a less desirable way of getting your attention).
Make sure you spend special time that is child-directed, not just time doing math alone together, for example. It may not happen every day, but try to plan for it regularly, e.g. once a week. Plan a little outing or activity you both can look forward to.
Connecting with your child helps him Overcome
A deeper relationship helps your child to feel secure enough to make them feel more willing to try new things. They accept their weaknesses because they are secure in your love. Some areas he/she struggles with become challenges he/she can overcome, knowing that you will be there to help them when needed.
Children are more likely to handle frustrations and mistakes well if you have been modeling graciousness in your relationship.
Enjoy your child and have fun creating incredible memories of your homeschooling journey together.
Meaghan Jackson of Joyful Mud Puddles is a Parenting and Homeschooling Coach. She has taken her passion for bringing peaceful calm to family life and combined it with her background in education to help parents become more confident and equipped. Meaghan has a Bachelor of Education and Engineering, along with several years of teaching experience at a private school. She homeschools her three boys and is an advocate for the homeschool community, organizing events and leading classes. She helps others to rediscover the joy in parenting. What better way to describe the messy, fun exciting life of a mom with three boys that Joyful Mud Puddles!