When I was growing up, if my classmates and I got in trouble we were sent to the principal for discipline. Depending on the situation, we may even get the paddle. Digressing, I mention that because I sometimes have been called by my wife during the school year and asked to come home to discipline mostly my son and sometimes our girls. For these reasons I normally refer to myself as the Principal or Superintendent within our homeschool.
However, a few years ago, due to our goals at starting our real estate investment business, my wife went back to work for a season to help finance our living expenses as well as some of our project renovations. Due to her hours, I took the mantle as the primary teacher within our homeschool. In the beginning, I operated more as a substitute teacher, by simply facilitating and implementing the lesson plans my wife had put together. As the year progressed, I eventually started making my own lesson plans while still holding true to most of my wife’s teaching philosophy and software program tools.
We all lean on what we know and since I have a professional sales background and personally experienced the importance of succinctly putting my thoughts and words together, I shifted more learning attention towards writing and presentation skills. The primary areas where I made my twist was in the written narration arena. As I assigned literature for them to read and do written narration from, I added having them present their narrations in front of us all. From each chapter they read I gave them specific things that I wanted them to answer as a part of their narrations to help them better engage with the materials they were reading. Once they bought into what I was requesting from them, I saw and heard their writing become more insightful.
By focusing on improving their critical thinking as they engaged with the literature, it also gave them the opportunity to build their confidence when presenting their narrations. What better way to gain confidence in speaking but through speaking in front of others?. I saw my son and my daughter Journee improve their presentation skills each day. My daughter Shaia is a natural speaker, but each week I saw her too get better and really nail down controlling her body language … she’s ready for Ted Talks.
To whichever kid was presenting at the time, the rest of us gave our undivided attention listening intently to their presentation. I instructed them on how to effectively provide constructive criticism. We would all take turns giving feedback. Keying in on pros and cons on content and body language. As one child was presenting and growing confidence in speaking via presenting in front of us, the other children were increasing their listening and analytical skills. Each constructive critique was thoughtful. Their observations at times were intriguing and astute.
As I mentioned, this was where I put my twist on the lesson plans. Of course, there are many other things that I did differently than my wife, but this area was the main thing I focused on. Trying to balance my business responsibilities of getting our renovation projects completed and facilitating the homeschool learning environment for my kids was daunting at times and I didn’t always feel I had the time. Fortunately, my wife has done such a great job of homeschooling our kids for so many years and cultivated a passion for learning. Of course, some days that passion didn’t always show up. But, it’s such a blessing to work with and see growth in your kids directly related to your efforts and work.
On the real though… I was so relieved when my wife was able to come back home and took the mantle again. Straight facts, homee!