Google The Unplanned Homeschooler: What inspires your kids?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

What inspires your kids?

As homeschoolers, we have a unique opportunity not given to other educators. We get to spend time with our students, around the clock and for years on end, getting to know them as no one else can.

We're not like ordinary classroom teachers. We don't have a new class full of students every year, all coming from widely varied backgrounds, about whose home lives we can only guess. Our time with them is not limited to a scant nine months, a veritable blink of an eye in which to make an impression.

We're not like ordinary parents, either. We generally don't have to rely on a muttered, "Fine," or "I don't know," to glean a bit of information about our children's day in the few hours between the time they get home from school and bedtime. Our days are largely spent with our kids, learning together and socializing with families we are able to get to know one on one.

So, as homeschoolers, we might expect to have a better insight into our own kids than most, if only because of the gift of time we're able to spend with them, both on a daily basis and over the years of their childhood. But still, many of us wrestle with the question of how to effectively inspire our children to learn.

The magical key to learning


Wouldn't it be nice if we could find the magical key to learning and just unlock every bit of potential in our kids? If only we could hone in on that one amazing thing that inspires them like no other.

But in truth, most kids don't seem to work that way. They're remarkable individuals whose interests and fascinations change continually. It's okay if for a while they seem obsessed with one thing, be it dinosaurs or Barbie, Minecraft or bugs. And it's okay if suddenly, they're completely over that interest and on to something else.

Whatever excites your children's imagination, whatever gets them motivated to play, explore, practice and learn, those things are our keys to more inspirational learning experiences.

Building on inspiration


I've used lots of my kids' interests to enhance our homeschool experience. A few years ago, when my twins were raising a pair of fancy mice, Cocoa and Fluffy were frequent features in their art and writing samples. More recently, when I realized that they were filled with passion for Minecraft, we enrolled in a few sessions of Minecraft Homeschool to incorporate their love of the game into studies of creative writing and ancient history. And when my son discovered an enthusiasm for roller coasters, we used that to study physics and descriptive writing techniques.

My youngest is seven, and her greatest inspiration at the moment is our puppy, Loki. Loki makes her happy, and like many homeschoolers, she enjoys school more with her dog by her side.





He even inspires her school work. Take for instance the haiku she wrote last week.


LOKI

Loki is a dog
He won't give me his red ball
Because he loves it



As a homeschooler, you have the gift of time with your kids; time to see what truly inspires them and encourage them to follow those inspirations and learn more. Don't overdo it by painting their whole world the color of their current passion, but build on their inspirations, in simple ways, as if you were adding splashes of their favorite colors to a room. Look for ways to incorporate what they love into their learning experience, and you will make homeschooling that much more memorable and exciting for them.