How many times have you changed curriculum because it just isn’t working? Or maybe the whole homeschooling thing just isn’t going how you dreamed it would. The honeymoon is over, the challenges that motivated you to homeschool in the first place have subsided, but now there are new ones that you just can’t work out.
The greatest thing about homeschooling is that your child is being educated by someone who truly loves him. It’s a unique situation that cannot be equalled, and therefore can offer unique results. Many of them we see straight away, but some we may not see for years to come as we watch our child grow through their adult life. It’s never just about “getting an education”, but about being nurtured and learning to live life in a loving environment.
However, it’s not always so rosy and as parents we come up against situations when the “teaching” isn’t working or the “learning” isn’t happening. But it is, just not in the way we had planned. When things go a bit pear shaped, it may be your child’s love language that you are needing to learn. When you speak your child’s language, he can respond.
The 5 Love Languages of Children was co-written by Gary Chapman, and Ross Campbell, a clinical psychiatrist, as a result of the successes that came from people who had read and implemented Gary Chapman’s first book The 5 Love Languages. It’s a fairly quick read, but I’d recommend taking it slow so you can observe and listen to your children more deliberately as you go through the book.
This is not a “homeschooling” book and can be helpful for all parents. However, being a homeschooling parent, I immediately read it from that perspective and that’s why I’m writing this review – relationship is at the top of the list when we seek to teach our children effectively. Chapman has hit on a key ingredient in a child’s learning – love. When things are not working for us, the first things we often look at are the child’s learning style and the curriculum we are using. But that’s only part of the story. We love our children, but how does that work practically with the teaching?
According to Chapman and Campbell a child’s primary love language can be found in any of these five general ways: words of encouragement, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. Are we loving our children the way they need to be loved? Not always.
A child expresses his need for a particular love language in his behaviour, and often it’s behaviour that we don’t understand and may interpret negatively.
Knowing the five love languages is not a fix-all, it’s knowing how your child’s behaviour is the cry for that love language and how it could affect their learning ability. A child expresses his need for a particular love language in his behaviour, and often this is behaviour that we don’t understand and may interpret negatively. His needs will change over time, and so will his behaviour.
The 5 Love Languages of Children explains how some children’s behaviour relates to the need for a particular love language. Not only does it give examples showing that a child is not receiving his love language, it also gives examples of behaviour that shows that they are.
A child needs to be receptive, able to concentrate and focus, and feel comfortable telling you that something is just too hard for him. They need an open communication channel. Apart from trying to find the perfect curriculum, we may also try a different disciplinary plan or investigate if our child has any special needs. Whatever the case, knowing a child’s love language and how he/she is wired can only make the situation better.
The most important thing I got from this book was the mindset of being more watchful and aware of other things that can impact a child’s success in learning. Knowing your child’s love language is not a cure-all, but it could go a long way to improving your relationship and helping your child to listen and engage in learning. Having so much time with our children means we have the best opportunity to connect with them. If you’ve hit a brick wall or are having some issues with your child’s behaviour, it’s worth considering what their love language is and learning to speak it.