As many of you know, I’m a former teacher. I’ve taught children from 2 years old up until 4th grade, so I thought I knew our approach to early childhood education. But I was so wrong! When I got into the blogging world, I began reading a lot of blogs about homeschooling, early childhood, and specific approaches to education. After reading each post, my mind would be set to teach in that specific way.
I recently read an entire blog. Yes, every single post from the beginning to end because I was so in love with the way Kate was homeschooling her kiddos. I visited An Everyday Story, every day for the past month reading 2-3 posts a day. I wanted to homeschool just like her.
But every time I tired to recreate her style, I failed. I spent tons of money on materials just because she was using them with her kiddos. After multiple failed attempts I started reflecting on my approach to homeschooling my toddler. I loved the Reggio approach, but Reggio isn’t a methodical approach to early childhood education.
After thinking a bit, I realized that I just need to follow the core values of the Reggio approach instead of recreating the Reggio inspried activities I see on Pinterests and other blogs. The main value of any Reggio approach is to follow the lead of the child. Observe, document, and plan activities that will capture that individual child’s interest.
Choosing the Right Approach for Your Child
When we sit down to think about the school year, we may read articles and fall in love with a particular style of learning. However, our children may not think it’s the best way for them to learn. You may love Montessori, but your child doesn’t respond to those types of activities. Your child may learn better with structured activities, but you want a more independent approach. Sometimes we have to let go of our preconceived notions and just listen to our children.
If they are not learning or either of you are frustrated over activities, then it’s time to rethink your approach. You don’t need to follow one approach because it’s something you believe in. You don’t even need to follow a specific approach if you found something that works better for your child.
Take time to follow your heart. I was refusing to do certain activities because the materials weren’t natural, like a Reggio inspired activity. My daughter missed out on some really awesome activities that could have been a good learning experience because I was being stubborn about our approach.
The Turning Point
What really lead me to this conclusion was the fact that I felt like I needed to teach some academics. I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of children learning these academic concepts (shapes, colors, numbers, letters) on their own through play. I was struggling with the lack of pre-planned activities that I knew my daughter would love and learn from.
This week I started to follow my heart. I’m still a full fledged Reggio supporter, but after countless hours of research and reflection, my take on the Reggio approach is much different. Their is no specific way to teach the Reggio approach. I feel as long as you are documenting, observing, and planning activities around your child’s abilities and interest then you are following Reggio.
Don’t feel forced to follow an approach or curriculum because it’s the new “thing.” It’s okay to mix multiple approaches or add in your own flare. The bottom line is you need to follow your heart and do what is best for your child.
With this realization in our homeschool, things have changed a bit around our house. I’ll be writing another post this month about the changes we’ve made.
Your Turn: What is your approach to homeschooling? Do you follow one specific approach or multiple? Or do you just do your own thing?