If you’re a homeschooling parent, what do you think is the hardest part about homeschooling? Is it keeping the kids Have you heard of slow education or slow schooling?
It’s not a new concept by any means, but the idea has been rising in popularity once again due to the collective pause we all experienced during the pandemic. It’s not just a way to teach our children, but also what we want society to be like.
We want to slow down and enjoy the life we’re in and nurture our relationships. We want to consume less, have meaningful conversations, and learn in-depth. Pretty much what homeschooling is all about, don’t ya think?!
Do you want some tips on how to slow education into your homeschool? Be sure to check out Homeschooling Doesn’t Have to Be Stressful, 10 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy Your Homeschool, and Relaxed Homeschooling.
What exactly is slow education?
The Slow Education Movement focuses on three main things: deep learning, social-emotional connections, and sustainability (or environmentalism).
Deep learning focuses on the process rather than the outcome. It means that students take more time with projects and tasks, they learn less content in one sitting than what would be found in traditional schooling, and they engage in Socratic discussions with both mentors and peers.
Social-emotional connections focus on building personal relationships between teachers and students (or parents and children for us homeschoolers!) and having an environment where everyone feels welcome.
Finally, sustainability means teaching kids how their actions affect the environment and what they can do about it (like recycling, using less water and energy, growing your own food, cooking your own meals, etc.).
Why you should consider slow schooling
Our society is in a perpetual rush, eager to get to the next destination while failing to enjoy the ride there.
The traditional education model has become increasingly time-consuming and competitive. Kids are overwhelmed with school work and extra-curricular activities. There’s no time for kids to play, explore their interests, or develop deep, healthy relationships with family and friends. Instead, kids are losing sight of who they are and burning out at an alarming rate.
Slow education seeks to address the imbalances created by these factors by promoting understanding over the competition, creativity over standardized tests, what you want to know over what you have to know.
The benefits of implementing this concept into your child’s life
Slow schooling is beneficial for everyone involved, especially for our children.
- Supports child-led learning.
- More time is allotted for deeper understanding.
- Develops stronger parent/child bond.
- Creativity is encouraged.
- Experiential learning is fostered.
- Promotes conversations.
- Encourages research and exploration.
- Eases anxiety.
- De-stresses the learning environment.
- Creates life long learners.
- Allows for free time and personal development.
- And parents feel more relaxed and less stressed as well!
How to apply slow education to your homeschool
- Stop and reflect on how your kids are currently doing, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Would my child benefit from slowing down?
- Do we need to cover all of the traditional subjects daily?
- Can we drop an extra-curricular activity or two?
- What is my child interested in?
- How can I help my child dive deeper into their interests?
- Once you’ve reflected on your homeschool, consider downsizing your schedule. We often over-plan our days in an attempt to keep busy, but boredom allows us to be creative, to ponder questions, to be comfortable with ourselves.
- Ask your children what they are interested in and really listen to what they say. It’s so easy for us parents to tune out our kids when they talk about topics we have little interest in. See how you can incorporate their interests into your homeschool.
- Consider focusing on your child’s strengths rather than their weaknesses. This promotes a positive self-image as well as motivation.
- Learn more about higher-order thinking skills and incorporate Socratic questioning into your daily life. There’s no need to give your children worksheets or busy work when you can engage in deep conversations that are more meaningful.
- Integrate the Danish hygge concept into your home. Make your abode cozy with soft blankets and pillows, add some twinkling lights, bring the outside in with greenery, wood, and stone, light a candle or enjoy the fireplace, enjoy tea time together.
- If you have space, start a garden with your child. Learn about beneficial insects, soil types, plant life cycle, composting, and more. You’ll enjoy the time outdoors together and can reap the benefits with a bountiful harvest.
- And speaking of the outdoors, spend more time outside exploring. Go on a hike, join a Wild + Free group, visit the beach, be a tourist in your own town. Slow down and enjoy what your community has to offer.
A personal story
As a former middle school history teacher and AVID coordinator at a Title I public school, I had a much different vision of what homeschooling should look like compared to how I view it now.
Suffice it to say, the first couple of years of homeschooling for us wasn’t ideal. There were lots of power struggles, anxiety about keeping up with our public school counterpart, feelings of inadequacy when comparing what we were doing to professional homeschool Instagrammers, and way too many worksheets and workbooks for anyone’s liking.
I saw how miserable we all were, and I knew continuing to threaten to put my kids back in public school was not the answer. Instead, I needed to self-reflect to find the problem, because I knew the problem was ME!
I needed to reject my idea of what school should look like and embrace how children really learn. I needed to make our home and my relationship with my kids the primary focus of our homeschool. I needed to slow down, follow my children’s lead with their own learning, do fewer activities, and spend more time with them outdoors.
The benefits of slow education didn’t just affect my children. Our entire family has experienced a better quality of life when we chose to slow our roll. Everything happens at its own pace, and things flow better since we’re not stressed about getting things done. We have fewer disagreements and more time to enjoy each other’s company.
Slow education is a movement that encourages families to slow down and enjoy their homeschool. It involves taking the time to understand your children’s needs and implementing various methods of learning based on their interests. It’s about moving at their pace, creating a relaxing learning environment, engaging in deep conversations, and enjoying the outdoors.
And if you’re interested in learning about other homeschooling approaches, don’t forget to check out my blog post, 10 Different Homeschooling Methods You Need to Know.
Have you implemented school education into your homeschool?
Xuan Klevecka is a Southern California-based homeschool mom, wife, and sometimes purveyor of vintage goods. She’s an Enneagram 5w4, a lover of good food, and a former middle school history teacher. You’ll either find her looking at road maps and daydreaming about her family’s next epic adventure or perusing recipes and cooking up a feast for the brood.