Welcome to my homeschool blog, which offers insights into loving learning, loving your family, loving history, loving homeschooling, and enjoying your life! With your cup of coffee in hand, take a break to laugh with me, to have your heart refreshed, to be reminded of how cool your kids really are, and to consider the amazing adventure of being a homeschool mom. AND, if you are interested in the History Revealed curriculum, be sure to check out my Teaching Tips!

You Want to Know WHAT?

teachable momentAs a young homeschool mom, I had the privilege of hearing John Taylor Gatto speak on education the year that he was named New York State Teacher of the Year. One nugget of wisdom shared that day, that has stayed with me all these years, is the concept of “the teachable moment”—that moment in time when students suddenly discover that there is something really interesting and important to them, something they do not yet know but are tremendously motivated to learn. Mr. Gatto emphasized to us that THAT is the most powerful and opportune moment for a student to learn something—because it’s fueled by their own desire to know.

Let’s consider two aspects of “the teachable moment” today:

  • How do you handle that moment when your child suddenly announces they want to learn something, but your lesson plans do not include that particular item?
  • Is there a way to create teachable moments, without having to wait for them to show up?

Unexpected, Unplanned Teachable Moment

It happens. You have the day all planned out, all the necessary books are on hand, you even have something special planned for a snack. And then, suddenly, your child (whether 6 or 16) eagerly asks you a question about a topic that has captured their imagination. It was not on your radar and certainly not in your plans.

You have choices, you know.

  • You can look at them with a puzzled expression and ask, “WHAT??? Where did that come from?”
  • You can say, “Oh, honey, we’re not studying that today, but we can dive into it this weekend!”
  • You can weigh the consequences, take a deep breath, and say, “What a GREAT question! I have no idea what the answer is, but I bet we can find out something!”

Depending on the child and the earnestness of their hunger to know, choosing to drop everything so that they will be able to absorb as much as possible in that teachable moment can be one of the best and most powerful educational experiences in your homeschool. In fact, it may lay a foundation for a lifetime of discovery!

Fostering a Teachable Moment

It’s exciting to realize that we don’t have to wait around until our child eagerly asks a question. As homeschool parents, we have a wealth of opportunities for creating an environment where kids want to learn. Here are a few ideas (there are many more in today’s video and in the blogs listed below):
Read books out loud that your kids find fascinating. If they ask a question, take the time to explore it together—looking things up on a globe, finding a photo online, or interviewing someone who knows more.
From time to time, go on field trips to places that will interest your kids. As they begin asking questions, help them find some answers.

The Cost

To be honest, though, this will cost you in time and energy. To be headed one direction and suddenly have to veer off to something unplanned—and that may take hours—can be exhausting!

That’s when it is critical to step back emotionally and consider the big picture. Why are you homeschooling? What is it that you want for your children? What will accomplish those goals?

Is it worth it? With decades of experience in homeschooling and teaching, I absolutely believe it is!!

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