Let's look at the way children in general learn. Children are wired to be active and engaged openly in the activities that pique their interest. For example a child would much rather go to the kitchen, pull a chair to the counter, step up on it and get involved literally with cookie making. They do not want you to tell them how to make cookies; they want to show you that they know how and are willing to get busy with the cooking. When I cook with my granddaughter, I make sure that all the tedious preparations are completed before she comes into the kitchen to help. She is all about the actual activity.
Children learn with their whole body. They hear the songs and want to imitate what they hear. They see the action and immediately begin acting out what they see. They learn rapidly and with great enthusiasm. This is wonderful. As we mature we may lose much of this enthusiasm for learning. Somewhere, somehow, learning becomes work and ceases to be fun. This is sad. The challenge for us as parent educators is to retain the enthusiasm while providing structure and time for activities that require more patience (like worksheets etc.) It is a balance to be sure but one that can be achieved if we will listen to what our children are telling us.
The first lesson we as parent educators can take note of, is that children can not and should not sit for long periods of time. It is boring and tedious for them. The second lesson is that when possible we should strive to create a school/learning environment that touches all the senses of the child. Thirdly we should allow for the child to lead us (within reason of course) and take our cues from them. Let's look at a typical math lesson.
Certainly it is simple enough to give the child a worksheet to complete but this does little to make learning fun. Make a game of the lesson. Find ways to use all the senses. One lesson taught well and understood completely is far better than a mountain of work that goes unfinished. When my own children were little they loved to watch Sesame Street. I noticed that the entire hour-long show would focus on only one letter or math concept or language skill. This is great. Think in terms of building foundations for future learning opportunities and challenges.
My own daughter had a great deal of trouble with the multiplication tables. I drilled and drilled with her but she would always get confused. I was poking around our teacher store one afternoon and found a CD that had several math songs on it including one for learning the multiplication tables. I purchased it and Laura loved the little tunes and seemed to learn the multiplication facts overnight.
I think that your dear children are very eager learners who are bright and will not tolerate humdrum learning experiences. You are their mother and as such you are the best one to determine when to introduce different teaching methods. A little educational TV is fine within reason. A little time with worksheets is fine as long as it is not the major part of the day's activities. A little play outside in the yard between lessons is wonderful as long as it does not detract from the day's work. Use your imagination and think of ways to make the lesson fun and most of all cooperate with your children as you introduce new concepts.
One of the greatest advantages that I have found in the CHC lesson plans is the common sense approach to what is expected of the student. The lesson plans introduce the day's lessons into two categories: core subjects and non-core subjects. This is so nice for the parent. We can see the priorities at a glance. The lesson plans are guidelines for the parent. However there is plenty of wiggle room for creativity.
Remember that the goal of teaching is not to have a student spit back what we put in, but instead to ignite the desire to discover and learn. My daughter is a 1st grade teacher in a small K-8 school. The school has a banner hanging in the lobby that reads: Teaching to Make our Jobs Obsolete. What does this mean? It means that a teacher actually teaches her students the joy of learning. When children have the joy of learning they begin to yearn for opportunities to learn. Children are always learning, we just have to remember that and encourage them in this endeavor. If we enjoy teaching, our children will enjoy learning. Remember that reading to our children is by far the most helpful activity we can do to improve the potential for learning in our children.
To my mind your dear children have the best ingredient for success in their studies: a mom who is sensitive to their needs. Pray for inspiration and use your natural gift of creativity to create a learning environment that is engaging as well as stimulating for your students.
Let us pray together a Hail Mary for all those moms who are struggling with financial challenges that may prevent them from providing adequately for their dear children. Lord, please guard and protect them. Please send persons and opportunities into their life that will help them carry the burdens of limited funds. Amen.
Sending out a prayer,