Learning to Embrace Teachable Moments

Many new homeschoolers are often driven to stick to rigid school hours. Admittedly, when our family began, that was exactly what we believed. It took some time, observation, and the sound advice of some seasoned homeschoolers that helped us see the light. I had to ask myself why I was so resistant to changing in the first place. The answer was clear. Institutionalized thinking.

Institutionalized thinking is the idea that something cannot be done because it has never done before within a given set of parameters (i.e. classroom, industry,etc.). Most of us that are products of the public school system, universities, corporate America, etc. are victims. The side effects can linger long after we have been exposed and indoctrinated. Here are just a few of the symptoms:

  • Following rules, black and white thinking (not flexible, unable to perceive the value in gray areas).
  • Making assumptions – about others, about the world, about ideas, about the expectations you feel weighing on you, about your own abilities.
  • Over-reliance onlogic, along with assuming you have an accurate grasp of what is logical.

I realized that just because” it” had always been that way, didn’t mean that “it” had to continue to be that way. I began my quest to be more flexible by alternating our school hours. I introduced more field trips and unique ways to approach lessons. I began to embrace every teachable moment that I could.

So what is a teachable moment? A teachable moment is that moment when a unique, high interest situation arises that lends itself to discussion of a particular topic. For example, you are teaching a lesson about the seven continents and your child expresses a particular interest in the Panama Canal. You can embrace this teachable moment and delve deeper into the area of interest. You begin to talk about imports and exports and so on. Is it a tangent? Sort of, but your child is more likely to retain what he/she learns because of their interest in the subject.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

~Steve Jobs, 2005

Teachable moments can occur at any moment, any place, anytime, so embrace them! They help restore the zeal for teaching your child and affirm you as a capable educator.

Happy homeschooling!

–LaToia Brown