Once upon a time there was an English teacher. When asked what she taught, she would reply, "literature" or "writing." Once upon a time the same teacher eventually realized she wasn't teaching "literature" or "writing." She was teaching students.
Once upon a time that very teacher became a mom then a homeschooling mom. She taught her little students math, reading, and handwriting.
One day this teacher, this mom, this homeschooling mom, realized her oldest student was actually teaching himself. And one day (one very important day) this mom had a metaphor moment.
She had taken her little students to a dairy farm for a field trip. At the dairy farm there were chickens (and cows, too, of course, but the chickens are what's important in this story).
The tour guide explained all about chickens and why it was so important to free range them. You see, most egg-laying hens are kept in cages. Sometimes too many chickens in one cage. They are cooped up with the other chickens–all sitting in their own filth.
These hens are given the same diet. And it's not what they really need to produce rich Omega 3 eggs, but it does get them to produce eggs. And eggs (even if they aren't the best kind) are the goal.
But the hens at the dairy farm this mom visited were free. They could walk where they wanted, build nests where they wanted, and eat what they wanted. All they needed were a few grassy pastures which the farmer provided for them.
And that's when this once-upon-a-time mom had her moment: chickens and children are somewhat the same.
She knew she didn't want to keep her students in cages or a give them a diet of state standards. She knew she didn't need to give each child the exact same thing. And she certainly didn't want them sitting in their own filth.
She determined–my chicks need a green pasture from which to feed.
Once upon a time this mom grasped that when she supplies her children with rich resources and large doses of inspiration, they will be wild with curiosity and passionate to learn.
"I never teach my pupils;
I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn."
Note from Ami (six years later!): This was a pivotal moment in our homeschool adventure. This was when we started moving toward an interest-led or delight directed approach. If this post resonated with you, if you are looking for something more for your homeschool, please read my Cultivating Curiosity posts. I share the nuts and bolts of our homeschool there.