Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Full Circle of a Homeschooling Family

The continuing cycle of homeschooling really fascinates me. As the eldest child in our family, I recall my mom remarking that the younger children learn a lot simply from listening or even engaging in the school work of the older children. This is a common sentiment that you might have heard or said yourself in the homeschool community. Is it really only a one-way street?

I’ve seen this in my own little family, such as how DD started writing the alphabet and that encouraged my other two kids to also write the alphabet to keep up with her. I remember thinking as a child that somehow this means I was cheated. At any rate, it sounded to my little ears as if my siblings were benefitting off my hard work! Not only were they exposed to my schooling and passions, but as I got older, I also began to include them in projects and tutor them. It seemed to be a one way street.

Now that I have children of my own, I see a heartfelt sense of giving that humbles me. 

My little brother, for example, the one I feel I most inspired in science and biology, was today carefully analyzing snakes with my daughter. They were busy handling his snakes to learn ways to identify venomous and non-venomous snakes. I recently saw a chart about this on FB and had told DD about it, but nothing compares to actually holding the snakes with “COOL UNCLE L” and learning in a hands on, engaged way. She was mesmerized and able to identify the scale differences, pits, and eye shape. I might have encouraged my brother on his way to limnology for his own benefit, but in turn, he has given back to me in a different way.


Another example is that of my little sister. I remember all the time spent baking with her and discussing logical theories. I remember being her little mentor and encouraging her to finish her school work. The other day, she introduced my children to physics. Just for fun, because math is her interest. It’s not something I’d have lying around in my early childhood home. Yet, because she was happy to share her passion with my kids, I now have little ones asking for their own math books and asking very trying theorem questions that scare me a bit. O.o

Earlier this week, my littlest sister carefully sounded out the instructions for a craft project. She sounded out words to my daughter, creating a comforting full circle, taking me back years ago to when I patiently sounded out word after word for my littlest sister while she was learning to read. It never occurred to me that the unquestioned giving of my time, attention and knowledge would trace its way back to me through my daughter.

And today, my littlest brother carefully put together a Lego set with my son, guiding my son on how to follow organized steps and how to stay focused on completing a project with simple machines. They worked together not as a parent telling a child how to do something, but as peers eagerly enjoying each other’s presence.

The giving circle of a homeschooling family is not something I understood when I was younger. I’m glad I helped my siblings in the ways that I could, now that I think about it as an adult. I feel a sense of responsibility for my siblings and deeply desire them to find their ways in life and to have fulfilling experiences. And now I realize that they desire the same for my kids. Life learning is never ending!


Related reading:

In School A is for Everyone

We are Life Learners

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