Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies
I posted the following quotes on my Instagram the other day, and I knew that other mothers would share the same feelings.
See, over the course of teaching my kids, I have delved into the art of deconstruction. The art of taking a simple activity, a topic or even observation and breaking it down into multiple subjects. Of course, subjects are never isolated.
To read a Maths question involves reading skills, a science project may involve Math, and Islamic studies can link to History. But the skill of pulling all the subjects together, ensuring your lesson involves a piece of everything takes time and its something us homeschool mothers become good at.
So why do we do it? Well, the answer is simple. As a homeschooling parent, you have taken on a big commitment. There is a pressure to get things right, make sure you’re doing enough, exposing your child to as much knowledge as possible. So we begin to deconstruct, squeezing out every inch of learning we can from a topic. Some may call it unit study overload.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for intertwining subjects and involving all types of learning and skills into one subject-we do it all the time!
But when is that line crossed? When does that urge to deconstruct something simple, that urge to learn, learn and learn go from being deconstructive to damaging?
Let me give you an example. Me and my daughter were watching a video on animals, she’s an avid animal lover and learning about insects, mammals and sea creatures is one of our favourite things we do together. Whilst watching the video, she must have expressed an interest in one particular animal, something as simple as “aww that’s so cute, I wish I had one!”. Well, being the deconstructive mum I am, I grabbed our encyclopedia, told her to pause the video, and said: “Come on sweety, let’s learn more about it”.
But then I noticed her expression change, and she suddenly lost interest.
Uh Oh. That initial excitement was gone. I had misunderstood that ‘every situation is a learning opportunity’. I had gone from being deconstructive, a positive skill, to damaging, the negative end of the spectrum.
So I put the encyclopedia away, cuddled up with my baby, turned the video back on, and went back to just enjoying the moment. See, at that moment, my daughter didn’t want to really find out more, and dig deeper. She was happy knowing about this wonderful animal at surface level. that was enough for her but clearly wasn’t enough for me. She had learnt about the animal, and I’m sure if I didn’t go overboard, she probably would have asked me herself if we could learn more about it. It should have been fine for me to stop there, but its hard shaking off that homeschool mum hat!
So ladies, let us be aware of when we cross that line from being deconstructive to damaging. It’s great that you are able to pull in so many subjects simultaneously, squeezing those learning opportunities. But don’t overburden yourself or your kiddos, by feeling that EVERYTHING needs to be delved into deeper, that you are somehow failing your kids if you’re not in deconstructing mum mode.
Sometimes it fine just to admire something without the need to research it, or bake cupcakes without talking about the effects of the baking powder or doing an entire project on whales just because your kids like them.
Remember, that you are a mother and that the teaching hat doesn’t always need to be on. Your kids sometimes just want to enjoy things with you, its totally ok if you don’t know any more about it then your child.
The important thing is that you enjoyed it together.