The Best Lessons Don't End at Noon
By Contributing Mama Writer: Barbara Curtis
Barbara is a seasoned homeschooling mommy of 12 (yes, twelve blessings), now a grandmother of ten, and a happily married wife. Barbara is a "revert", she was baptized Catholic then Evangelical for many years and has come back to our beautiful Faith! Barbara and her family are a " Family-First kind of family."
[This is third in a four-part series: Why Your Preschooler Can Thrive at Home taken from a chapter in my book, Mommy, Teach Me! Read the first, The Best Teacher is Forever and second, The Best Classroom Has No Walls.]
Some of my best teaching moments with my kids have taken place spontaneously. They simply weren't the kind of lessons I could plan in advance. They were sparked by questions that children asked me in the laundry room or in the car, at the grocery store or the park.
Isn't it an honor the way your child looks to you as the one with all the answers? A privilege to be the one who guides him through the early years - the ones filled with so many questions and so much eagerness to learn? And even when we don't know the answers, to set an example of humble curiosity as we model using resources (books and computers) until we find the knowledge that we seek.
As mothers of preschoolers, the special significance of such moments can get lost in the other things that tug at our attention: laundry to be folded, groceries to be put away, lunch to be made. You may not truly appreciate how much your child is learning or could be learning from you as you go about your daily routine.
When you think outside the box in which our society currently defines where and how and by whom education is delivered, you will begin to understand that education is not something that begins at one certain hour and ends at another. It is taking place continuously as the child - whom Maria Montessori characterized as having an "absorbent mind" - soaks up knowledge like a sponge.
Our current dominant model of education treats the child as an empty vessel whom professional teachers in buildings called schools can fill up with knowledge at scheduled times. But this model shows no regard for how God designed human beings.
If you're the mother of a preschooler - no matter what educational option you plan for your child in the future - why settle for this stunted educational model so early on? For during these preschool years you have so a tremendous opportunity - and all the time in the world (well, in between laundry and groceries and lunches) - to begin your child's education with much more sensitivity to the way in which God created his mind and learning capacities.
Here, one particular word has a story to tell. The word education is derived from the Latin root educare which means "to rear or to bring up." Educare can be traced to the Latin root words, e and ducere which together mean "to pull out" or "to lead forth." A true education is less about drilling information into the child, and more about leading. Which sounds a lot like the process God had in mind from the beginning.
Perhaps you're just beginning to catch a glimmer of that part of the special role God intended for you as a mother. As you grow in confidence, you will find that you are much more of a teacher than you might have ever imagined and that you can fulfill that role for your preschooler not only with the specific ideas in this book, but also by the lessons you teach throughout the day - from housework and meal preparation to the songs you sing and the words you speak while driving the car.
You will probably find, as I have, that there's nothing like having an eager learner - or better yet, a whole bunch of them! - to bring out the teacher in me. As Florence Littauer says, her kids knew that "Where two or more were gathered, there Mother would give a sermon."
And that goes 24/7! Love,