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Are we getting in the way of our children’s education? Have you become a ‘Lawnmower Educator?’
These are questions we should all be asking as homeschool parents. The public school system is often accused of getting in the way of our children gaining an education that is suitable for them. I too agree that to a large extent, the current design of many school systems, doesn’t allow enough room or scope for each child to learn in the way that suits them best, to pursue their interests and for the teachers to take the time to personalise lessons and activities for each child.
Many of us homeschool so that our children do have that opportunity but sometimes it can be that we are ourselves getting in the way of that education we believe our children deserve.
The Day That I Realised I Too Was Guilty Of Getting in The Way!
This particular day I was sitting with M whilst he completed a Khan Academy lesson on addition and subtraction. The + and – signs had been presenting a challenge and M was confusing their actions with one another. No matter how many times I reminded him he would always attempt to add rather than subtract.
Several questions in and I was sure he was getting the hang of it. I said “Right I am going to let you do this one on your own now and we will see how you get on.” Well I inadvertently lied, because M was about to make a mistake and before I knew what I was doing, I stepped in to steer him in the right direction.
“Why are you adding more bricks to the pile? It’s a minus and if it’s minus we take them away remember?”
Doh. I immediately kicked myself. I knew the only way he would start to learn and understand, would be through making mistakes and following it up with a discussion to figure out why. My early interference was hindering his learning! It was so hard not to but I was careful for the rest of our lesson not to do it again. I had to get out of the way!
This scene kept playing over and over in my head for the rest of the day and it really got me thinking. The scenario reminded me of a term I recently read in an online article – “Lawnmower Parenting”.
Think of helicopter parenting, where the parent is always there hovering right beside their child waiting for them to encounter a problem or have a fall. Now, imagine magnifying that scenario. Instead of just waiting for something to happen, the parent will do every single thing in their power to stop their child from ever encountering any problems, mistakes or misfortunes.
Clearly, that’s an exaggerated version of what happened between M and I on this occasion. Still, even a small interference could be impact his learning.
How many of us homeschool parents are getting in the way of our children’s learning simply by trying to help them?
Letting Our Homeschoolers Learn From Their Mistakes
It’s by getting things wrong that we begin to question why something is the way it is. How did we get it so wrong? Mistakes require us to figure things out and find reason in them. It is by being allowed the space to make those mistakes that our children will desire to learn how to get it right next time.
We have to allow our children room to fall and to fail.
When someone tells you how to do something you may forget. When some one shows you, you may remember but you might not always completely understand. Do it for your self, make mistakes, encounter problems and overcome them! That is when the real learning occurs.
Let your child make the crafts themselves, even if it ends up looking nothing like the Pinterest picture! Let them answer a Math’s question and get it wrong. Then follow up with discussions that will help them to figure out why!
If we are always there to prevent a fall, we are blocking our child’s path to getting an education that really matters!
Today, ask your self “Are there times in which you are getting in the way of your child’s learning?”
Sometimes we make a task easier before our child even attempts it. We want them to succeed. It’s out of love! Out of a desire to see our child do well and to feel confident that they can, but it doesn’t always pay off!
Do your child a favour and take a step back, move out of their way and let them learn.
Don’t become a lawnmower educator, teacher or parent!
Become a parent who gives their child the space and freedom to make mistakes. Give your child the opportunities to gain an education that will serve them for life. They’ll thank you for it!
Found this post useful? You may also like to read – Family Yoga: The Perfect Kick Start To Your Homeschool Day or 30 Days of Learning Through Literature