When I made our Homeschool To-Do List in 1995, I included learning to communicate as one of our homeschool objectives.
We know that communication is far more than words. Facial expression, how we listen, when and where we have a conversation — all these are part of communication. Still, words are what usually come to mind first when we think about communication.
Words are potent tools. God revealed that truth on the very first day when He said, “Let there be light.” Four words. What an impact! Of course, our words aren’t that powerful, but they still have great impact.
The good man out of the good treasure of his heart
brings forth what is good;
and the evil man out of the evil treasure
brings forth what is evil;
for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
Homeschooling children — and mamas — sometimes get frustrated with a traditional approach to what schools call “English.”
As with everything in life, it is important to stop and think about the why. Why do we study grammar and creative writing? Why do we assign great literature for our children to read? We do these things so that our children learn how to take in the thoughts of others and to share their own thoughts.
In our early years of homeschooling, we slowly learned how to make homeschooling who we were instead of simply something we did. Though our children learned by completing assignments in language arts curriculum, they learned to communicate in real ways, too. Ray and I learned to move things that we had once thought of as extracurricular to the heart of our homeschool.
When mamas learn to think this way, they can concentrate on important learning that serves their children for a lifetime rather than only checking off completed lessons. Learning to think this way can also help mamas choose curriculum that teaches children lessons important for a lifetime rather than curriculum that is little more than busy work.
Imagine the communication lessons a child could learn if activities such as these were part of the hours that a mama counts as “school.”
- writing plays
- performing plays
- putting on puppet shows
- writing letters and thank-you notes
- writing articles and sending them to Christian magazines
- telling stories
- listening to family stories
- writing letters to elected officials
- studying the Bible
- preparing lessons and teaching Sunday School
- spending time in social settings with people of all ages and learning from the conversations
Given the choice, I prefer living life rather than practicing to live life. I think children feel the same way. Homeschooling gives mamas the freedom to move toward learning that is real.
Teaching our children to communicate in real-life settings helps them learn to put this powerful teaching into practice.
Whatever you do in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.