Sunday, May 23, 2010

Homeschooling Breeds Precocious . . . Cats

Here's what you'll find over at Heart of the Matter Online today by yours truly:

When my oldest daughter, Meghan, was four years old, we discovered that she was allergic to cats (and grass and dust). Uh oh. We were very attached to our feline lap warmer and just couldn’t see giving him up. We decided to try keeping the door to my daughter’s bedroom closed so that she would at least have a fur-free place to sleep. That worked . . . except when it didn’t. Meghan continually forgot to close her door.

As I was scolding her yet again and reiterating the importance of keeping the cat out of her room so that she wouldn’t have an asthma attack, she came up with the perfect solution: “I’ll just post a sign on my door that says ‘Willy, keep out’!” After I gained control of my giggles, I informed her that wouldn’t work because cats can’t read.

Again, Meghan came up with the ideal answer: “Then I’ll just teach him to read!” She was very proud of her reading skills and was sure that she would be able to teach Willy how to read in no time flat. Ah, to have the innocence and confidence of a four-year-old again! The sign Meghan posted at the cat’s eye level on her door lasted longer than her efforts to teach Willy to read.

As homeschoolers, we have the ability to instill in our children that same confidence in their abilities. We can give our children the gift of knowledge to pass along to whomever—or whatever—they wish. How do we accomplish this? By not squashing their natural exuberance for passing along their lessons. By encouraging them to explore the world at their level. By giving them the tools they need to learn. By teaching them in the way that they learn best, which isn’t necessarily the way we learn or teach best. By letting them post signs to the cat on their door.

Want to foster precocious children? Let them teach their cats to read!