Can I get a little help around here? Homeschooling can be lonely! (Episode 104)
How do you get grandparents involved in a positive way with your kids? Grandparents homeschooling grandchildren may be your dream, but what if your parents actually (gasp) have lives of their own? How do you create community around your homeschooling and don't sit with the pressure that you are the only teacher for your children? With our functional education approach, let's dive in and explore how you can add the community model to your schooling style as well.
In this episode and post below, we'll hash out how we add "it takes a village" to our educational model for homeschooling.
How do I equip my child to learn beyond me?
This week we tackle this listener question:
How do I help grandparents become helpers in parenting...and how do I enable my own children to become autonomous and lifelong learners?
You may have dreamed of the super involved grandparents that would gladly devote time to simply pouring into your grandkids, and that isn't happening. Or maybe you are feeling the pressure that you have all the weight of teaching your children alone with no support.
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Did you have an expectation that your family will step up, yet it was an assumption? Have you clearly communicated a way to have them be involved?
Sometimes it's our own unspoken expectations that cause the biggest frustration. People can't help when they don't know how. Voice it.
Where are we this week?
Back on the road, and loving some mountain biking fun with the family! Did you know that Wilson State Park in the middle of Kansas was ranked 33 in the nation for mountain biking by the National Mountain Biking association? How crazy is that!
It's perfect for beginners to have some technical trails that aren't too treacherous next to a cliff. We all loved going on a ride together, and actually this is our third time here since this has become a favorite to come back to.
Follow us on our journey on Insta as the FieldTripGypsies!
Schedule it in
If you want family or friends to be involved with your kids, a biggie is not just talking about it, but scheduling it in. Whether that's just pulling out calendars to plan a date, or picking a consistent time each week, this can really help so much for actually making it happen!
Putting a date on things and scheduling them in can make a world of difference. When we put parameters around it, we ended up getting so much more, plus having consistent times to connect with those other adults that we wanted to pour into our children's lives.
For example, every Sunday night we FaceTime with my parents and they share a "word of the week" for the kids to learn and use. They have loved it, and love incorporating words like "hyperbole", "euphoria" and "cacophony" in their everyday talk.
Build a Relationship of Interest
I love how Nathan lays this out in the podcast - you need to look for ways to "build a relationship of interest." We listen to our children and pay attention to what they are naturally delighted in. We've found internal motivation is a huge catalyst for learning, so we follow their interests, and then we look for others who may be more experienced in it.
For example, Clara has shown a lot of interest in photography. She has a natural eye for art and thankfully, we have many photographer friends! She has gone on photo shoots, learned how to build her own camera and all about the logistics of it with her Uncle John, and just recently joined her Papa on a photo shoot with the legendary Jeremy Cowart, who so inspired her she wrote a blog post about it here.
When you have a child with a clear interest, connect them with an adult who knows more about it - you can create some incredible relationships as they talk about their common ground!
Some additional resources for you
- All kinds of homeschool resources for you!
- Have a countercultural kid and you aren't quite sure where to start?
- Feeling completely overwhelmed and stressed out?
- Tired of navigating all the toxic people in your life?
- Feeling like YOU have become that toxic person?
- Learn more about "Functional Education" here
- Curious what personality style your children are, and they aren't yet five? Check out the "Family DISCovery Playbook"
Ideas for Grandparents homeschooling grandchildren and more
Maybe you aren't sure what interest would work or you're looking for another way for grandparents to connect. When it comes to grandparents homeschooling grandchildren, it's not that they have to have a set curriculum any more than you do. Maybe it's something simple, like these ideas:
- Word of the week - share a new vocab/spelling word
- Fast facts - share a random science fact
- Family history - invite them to share about their childhood, or dig deep into the family tree and explore genealogy
- Math challenge - share a word problem and work through it together
- Try-it-Tuesday - explore a new food or new place together
- Share something each of you learned today - both adult and child
- Work toward a goal, like running a 5k, reading 100 books, walking 1,000 steps, learning a new language together...
Don't just put the pressure on your parents or others to fill a hole you need - look for what really fits for them. How can you foster relationships that don't have a huge expectation couched in it? It may be that your kids connect best working on a project with a grandparent together. Doing manual labor, or joining in for housework and cooking - sometimes it's simply having your children experience the day-to-day with others as well. Or maybe it's a simply weekly call with one focus.
Apprenticeships are solid
How can you have your children shadow and learn from others? Think beyond just a paycheck career - our daughter Ellie wants to be a mommy when she grows up.
So we went on a "baby tour" and visited all our cousins with new babies. We showed her how to care for an infant vs. a 1-yr-old. We talked about the hard stuff - the lack of space, the insane responsibility, etc.
We share the good and the bad of parenting, and we talk through the decisions we make not just to communicate what's going on, but to open up her mind to how we process and make decisions as parents.
Don't hesitate to ASK
Pay attention. When curiosity strikes, stop and soak it in. Ask questions. If you see somebody doing something that interests you, stop and ask about it. Typically you'll get someone very excited to share with you about their passions. And children will model your example. If you want them to be open and ask to learn more, you need to model that yourself. Grandparents homeschooling grandchildren is just one option - you have a whole world of people to learn from!
And if you question what they really need to learn, watch this powerful video:
Your Weekly Challenge:
Look for those things that spark curiosity in you and/or your children.
Then pursue it! If you see something that piques your interest, ask someone about it!
Go talk to a stranger that's doing something and learn about them.
You'll quickly learn that we all have something powerful to teach others. The world is our school, and everyone is our teacher.
I am passionate that each of us has our own unique strengths that are important to share. You are powerful beyond measure. You make an impact. And so does everyone else in your family. The more you can understand that, know how to interconnect, and have grace, the more your family will thrive. Because ultimately, the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.
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