Learning is Better Together6 min read
So many families make the decision to homeschool in order to learn and grow together, at home, as a family.
Each one championing the other and everyone together, giving and doing their best for the family.
All for one, and one for all!
If you too, like many other homeschool families, have chosen to learn and teach at home, we hope you don’t doubt yourself because you’re doing the best you can for your family’s needs.
Every day that you and your family live and work alongside each other in a home learning environment, your children are learning how to empathize, to disagree with the other person in a manner that is respectful, to sacrifice, to encourage someone who is low, to motivate, to celebrate each other’s achievements – small or big, and so much more!
And it goes way beyond simply academics too. Your kids are watching you each day and they are learning how to be better human beings, how to be siblings, future spouses, future parents, professionals as well as good and responsible citizens.
But what does it really look like on a daily basis?
Is it actually so fairytale-like when you’re educating children of different ages, personalities, interests, needs, and goals? Or do you find yourself running around in ten different directions all at once?
That sounds very far away from our dreams of building a united and undivided family, doesn’t it?
So, what do you do?
How do you honor and celebrate the individuality of your children while simultaneously building togetherness as a family?
You need to be intentional about creating an environment of brotherhood and harmony.
Set out to create an atmosphere that allows a wealth of opportunities to foster and grow loving relationships within the family, and especially among siblings.
Here are some ideas to help you to establish family unity and harmony at the very crux of your homeschool
1. Work towards common goals
Encourage your kids to work together towards common goals. You could plant a garden together. Or work on a family art project for the living room. You could also do something together for your community or neighborhood – grab some trash bags and gloves and clean up a park. The important lesson that your kids should be learning through this is not only that they are strong and independent individuals, but also that they are pretty much unstoppable as a team.
2. Celebrate each other’s achievements
Celebrating each other’s achievements – both big and small is such a great practice to build and grow family relationships. Learning to rejoice in another’s success is a wonderful life lesson to teach your kids. Whenever one of your kids learns all the letters of the alphabet or learns to play a new song on the guitar that he has been working on for weeks, or makes a new friend, be intentional about bringing everyone together to celebrate, in whichever way you can. You could have a family dance session, or cook a favorite meal, or have another child make a card for her sibling. A brother’s victory is a victory for all.
3. Catch each other when someone is falling
Teach your kids to edify each other. Whenever a class presentation or a performance doesn’t go well, help your children to try and find real and concrete ways to help their siblings to get up and keep going. Encouraging each other is so important, especially as a family. And anytime someone faces or feels defeat, the others should work with them towards reinforcement.
4. Involve each other in your efforts
Make a habit of talking to each other about goals, interests and ideas. Involving each other in your efforts is so important because having a brother or sister by your side in a learning endeavor is a great strength to have. It is always easier to gather the courage to take on a challenging task or goal when you know you have a brother who is cheering you on from the sidelines. Knowing that you have someone right beside you to guide you and then to celebrate with you brings so much confidence.
5. Cherish and relive old memories
Sometimes sitting together and reminiscing about the old times is a great way to facilitate bonding. If you have a younger kid who is now beginning to learn things that your older kids already have before, encourage them to talk about their experiences, something they loved learning, something, in particular, they really disliked. Having children of different age groups doesn’t have to be a cause for panic or chaos. In fact, it helps your kids to understand that their siblings will help to multiply their opportunities to learn and savor the most amazing parts of childhood and growing up.
6. Practice trickle-down education
As a homeschool parent, it is normal for you to feel like the whole weight of your kids’ education rests solely on your two shoulders. But the truth is that if you have children of different age groups, you are actually blessed with the help you need right in your house. Once one of your kids learns a new idea or a task, encourage her to share and teach it to her younger siblings too. You can have an older child read to the younger ones, or help out in a few math sums, and so on. Not only will your burden be eased, but while your younger ones learn things from their older siblings, the older siblings also realize that every little thing they learn is a gift to treasure – not only for themselves but something valuable that they get to share with their family too.
7. Care about another’s interests simply because you care about them
Your kids will not necessarily share the same interests and goals, and that’s okay! They are different individuals with unique personalities. That doesn’t mean that they’re left on their own to pursue what they love. Every time one of your kids has a karate test, a ballet performance, or a presentation in Spanish, encourage everyone to take interest in it and cheer the person on. Everyone else may not necessarily understand everything but the main lesson is that they care about their siblings’ interests because they care about them. When you care about a loved one, you don’t need a reason to be there for them and cheer them on; you just show up!