I love Albert Einstein's quote, "I never teach my pupils, I only provide the conditions in which they can learn."
But what does that mean in practical terms?
How can you create the optimal conditions for your children, so that they can learn?
The answer will likely be different for each member of your family, so sit down with a blank sheet of paper, and put on your thinking cap.
1. Write your child's name at the top of the page
Get somewhere quiet for a mini brainstorming session.
Take a few minutes to think about the steps below and write down your thoughts.
2. Consider their learning style
How do they learn best? Some typical examples are:
- Auditory - learns best by listening, like with audio books, verbal instructions, media. This is the child who can quote stories and movie lines after hearing them only once.
- Visual - learns best through the eyes. Reading, images, documentaries, movies, etc. This child describes what things look like, has attention to visual details.
- Aural - learns through song, rhyme, beat.
- Kinesthetic - learns best with their hands or movement. Other learning styles can work for this child, as long as they are also moving. Try audio books while walking, taking notes while watching a documentary, creating models, etc.
- Verbal - learns best through discussion, reading and writing.
- Logical - learns best with logic, reasoning, statistical detail. This child may love to debate the details.
- Social or Solitary - any of the above learning styles can look different depending on whether the child prefers to be in company or alone while learning.
3. How can you cater to their learning styles?
Write down your child's possible learning styles (they could have a combination, usually one is dominant, but not always), and consider the resources you have available and the environment of your home.
Could you allow your Kinesthetic learner to move around while watching a documentary instead of insisting they sit still?
Do you have audio books available for your Auditory learner or have you thought that wasn't "real" reading?
Do you take the time to discuss things with your Verbal learner or do you often shoo her away?
What resources that are specific to this child's learning style might you want to get?
4. Think about the environment and comfort of your home
Could you get some big, comfy floor cushions for family read aloud time?
Are your spaces conducive to everyone gathering together for learning time?
Is clutter managed so that you don't always feel that you need to be cleaning, and can focus on learning along with your kids?
Are books, games, art supplies and other resources in view so they are not forgotten?
5. Lead by example
Are you leading by example by reading, studying and creating?
The most successful homeschools I have seen, have the parents leading the education, not simply telling the kids what to learn.
How could you better lead this specific child?
Maybe learning more about their favorite subject, showing your visual learner how you take notes when reading, or watching documentaries together and verbalizing your thoughts afterward.
6. Repeat for each child in your family
Even your grown children, and actually, even for yourself and your spouse.
These do not have to be long lists, just somewhere to start. Do this every 3-6 months, as interests change and your children grow up, and you will create conditions in which your children can really learn.
Comment below with what this process has shown you about the learning in your home.