For me, my children’s learning styles were really evident from a young age. I have a background in Developmental Psychology and Primary Teaching, so I’m naturally interested in children, their growth and their educational needs.
But I also think most parents would be able to see in their children what makes them thrive – are they very active? Do they love stories? Are they good listeners? Do they need very specific instructions? Can they complete a task independently or do they like to have someone to support them? Are their fine motor skills developed enough to hold a pencil? Are they asking questions or making observations about numbers, letters, colours, shape, size – and/or interacting with you when you speak of these things? I tried not to push my children to do what they were not ready to do. I sometimes encouraged them to try a bit with something that wasn’t that interesting for them (such as improving handwriting, or swimming lessons), because I could see that it was something they needed, or would gain a lot of value from achieving. Adapting between the siblings wasn’t really a problem, it’s a bit like any parenting in a larger family, each child has different needs. Sometimes a younger child was ready for a skill that their older sibling hadn’t learned yet, and I never made a big deal about it. We each have unique strengths, and achieve at different rates. Many times I’d do the same projects, stories, activities and workbooks with different aged children, and they did not seem to mind at all. They were quite close in age though – the six of them born within a 9 year period, so age gaps of 15 months, 20 months and so on. If the children are quite far apart in age, it works well to have the older one/s help the younger one/s with some activities and projects. Two benefits of homeschooling are that you really know your own children, and you have lots of time together to adapt to their needs.
Belinda Moore is an HEA member and mother of 7 who has been homeschooling for 20 years!