Here in the second part of this mini series we’ll expound on necessary steps to ensure home school efforts are realizing the best results possible. To quickly recap, the first covered the need of socialization both in a grand scale, simply learning societal and situational rules and in a a more micro setting, socialization amongst peers. Finally the article addressed learning outside the home from experiences to be had in the world.
A parent/educator must know they are not the end all for their child’s education. It’s okay to recognize one’s limits, in fact it’s healthy and offers a great learning opportunity to a child: seeing a parent know their limitation and how they respond to it. For example, much is to be learned from team sports, not all are equipped to be a football coach, etc. In this case, the parent looks outside his/her self and enrolls the child into a sport league. Perhaps it’s camping or tying knots or painting or building or working on cars, etc., there are many opportunities to expose a child to the world at hand, to provide learning opportunities by recognizing ones own limits and responding positively to the limits.
Too, a parent/educator may be fully able to teach something but may opt to enroll the child in a setting to do the teaching for the simple reason of change. Children will tune into a new voice differently than they do to a voice they hear every day. In other words, they get tired of the same voice. Being a parent/educator is doubly tiring because you are life’s teach and now school teacher and this can stress the parent child relationship. Being cognizant of this natural stress can go a long way to mitigate tensions.
Once limitations are owned new doors can be opened to provide the home school child an unlimited education of life and learning.
Often home school kids aren’t physical enough. In school there is physical education, recess and or team sports. All of these offer physicality an important element in learning. Studies have shown tying physicality to a lesson or during a lesson increases memory retention. Too, there is the physical awareness of ones own body: balance, coordination, spacial awareness, muscle tone, etc. This isn’t to say all kids should be athletes but being physical, being in motion is positive for health and vitality, learning and recollection.
Many park and recreation departments across the US offer relatively affordable organized team sports. In cities, public pools will often have swimming programs. Gyms have ad-hoc league sports, choreographed exercise classes and often stretching and or yoga classes. Boys and girls clubs have group activities. There are non-lead activities as well: walking, biking, hiking, rope skipping, etc. Then there are travel too outings like adventure camps. Plenty of opportunities abound, create some time in the busy schedule and engage in something physical.
Spinning off of physicality is the need for self-awareness and self-discovery. There is a powerful self-empowering aspect to challenging oneself and achieving a goal. This empowerment can come from engaging a new situation and leaving the situation feeling good about one’s self, how they handled the situation. Even more comes from taking on a challenge that has an initial response of, ‘no way, I couldn’t do that’, and then doing it. Students, and adults for this matter, feel better about themselves when they accomplish something. This is why people swim the English Channel, run marathons, enter spelling bees etc. These experiences make us better people, make us stronger and give us a stronger sense of self and conviction to stand by our beliefs.
Often the greatest growth comes when students are engaged in a new environment without the parent/educator around, when everything is new, including the instructors. This newness removes old habits of quitting or turning for help prematurely. The student asks for help and the parent has anticipated this need and is there to help. In a new environment the student relies more on his or herself before turning for help. This allows a stretching of one’s personal boundaries, creating a new territory of self definition, allowing for growth and greater self confidence, greater self awareness.
An excellent source of all of these aspects of learning: socialization, peer-socialization, experiential education, new voices of teaching, physicality and self-discovery, are outdoor adventure camps. We specifically suggest an outdoor camp because these are most often going to have a focus on physical/engaged learning with ropes or hikes, whitewater rafting, camping etc. These camps provide a whole host of learning experiences. If you choose a resident style the learning in magnified exponentially. The concentrated experiences lend themselves to tremendous growth and prove extremely healthy to the home schooler who not only finds new confidence but friends to keep in touch throughout the year.