Giving Your Homeschool Kids Time to Think

With all of the distractions that surround our families, it’s easy to gravitate toward zoning out. Often this takes the form of electronics, television, or gaming. But, do these things afford your homeschool kids time to think?

Let’s explore ways we can encourage directing our children toward deeper thinking, and see what benefits that reaps.

What is Giving Your Homeschool Kids Time to Think?

It may seem counterintuitive to ask the same student you just asked to “pay attention” to now let their mind be free of concentrated focus on school work to ponder ideas. But, this is in essence what thinking is. It’s allowing time to mull something over, chew on it a bit, and consider and ponder ideas. The ideas that your kids will entertain will certainly depend on their age and ability, but all kids can think deeply.

Feeding Them Big Ideas to Think On

In order to think deeply, we need some big ideas, right? For adults, this would come more easily– there’s so much going on in the world. But, for our children, it’s helpful to break things down. It doesn’t have to be a hard idea to think on, just a wide or deep one appropriate for their age and ability. Here are some ideas:

For Preschool:

  • How do you know God loves you?
  • How do you know Mommy loves you?
  • What is your favorite food? Why?

Kindergarten:

  • Why do you think the grass grows up?
  • Why is the Moon only seen at night?
  • Where does milk come from?
  • Why is the sky sometimes blue, sometimes gray, sometimes dark?
  • How does the phone ring?
  • Where does God live?

Elementary:

  • What is the Holy Spirit? How does He visit you?
  • When do you feel like God is close to you?
  • How can you pray for your friends?
  • What is your favorite book? Why?

Middle School:

  • What would you do to change the world and make it a better place?
  • How could you volunteer in your church or community?
  • What do you believe about God?
  • Why do you think there are so many varieties of flowers?
  • What would you like to learn new this summer?

High School:

  • Would you rather live to 100 or have endless money?
  • Do you think countries should have borders?
  • If you’d been born at the time of the American War for Independence, would you have been a Patriot or Tory? Why?

These can go on and on. You can pull ideas from your homeschooling materials. There are also some great lists to bookmark. Try here, here, and here.

 

Give Them Time to Think

Of course, they have to have time to think deeply, right? Consider times in your natural daily rhythm that could provide this opportunity.

Maybe you could introduce questions and ideas in the morning at breakfast.

Get creative here — you could write them down for older kids, write them on a whiteboard, have a “question-of-the-week”, etc.  Then be intentional about allowing time for reflection. Limit screen time. Establish a “do nothing” hour, and get outside. Whatever you need to do to create the time they need to work on thinking. And believe me, thinking is work!

Allow Them to Develop Their Own Thoughts

Obviously, some of the questions to consider and ponder don’t require as much as others. But, every homeschool mom knows the value of rabbit trails. After all, that’s how delight-directed learning was born. And seriously, isn’t that part of the reason we homeschool?

To have the time to pursue thought (rabbit trails) that engage our kids’ minds and hearts? If you’ve given them a good meal of ideas, you need to give them time to not only eat them, but digest them.

Don’t look for Sunday School answers; those yes/no questions and answers that rob kids of the desire to think deeply. Ask them questions they can’t know the answer to right away or without thought. Then give them time to develop those thoughts.

Journal, Draw, Orate, Discuss Big Ideas

Now that our kids have an idea they are turning over in their minds, they need a tool to be able to reason through it. What will that tool be? Consider these options:

  • Journaling gives your wordy, writing student the opportunity to reason, reason, relate, and write or record their thought process. This is helpful in many ways. It can allow them to read their own thinking back to themselves to see that it is sound or well-reasoned. Journaling can be an outlet for emotional reasoning. It removes the confrontation of verbally expressing ideas. It prepares them for defending their written words.
  • Drawing or art can be a beautiful way to express thought. Some of your kids may draw pictures of what they are thinking on the inside. This is helpful for both student and parent as it can build communication pathways you didn’t know existed.
  • Discussion, debate, and arguing a point of view are perfect for those teens who feel passionately about ideas and thoughts and are at that age where defending them comes naturally. This is the ideal discipleship opportunity and a true window for growth for your teen (and even for you!)

Benefits of Allowing Kids Time to Think

There are so many benefits, including introducing the world to humans who can think, reason, and relate. But the biggest benefit is the relationships built along the way with your children.

Let’s Talk About Giving Homeschool Kids Time to Think

I’ll be speaking at the True North Homeschool Academy’s Summer SPLASH! Virtual EduSummit with a panel discussion on entrepreneurship, and two workshops: Giving Kids Time to Think and Podcasting as Education. Join me there for live Q & A and the opportunity to learn more about how we can give our kids time to think!

I have a special coupon code for my readers and listeners: Use the code:    felice20 at checkout to get a $5 ticket to the Summit!

I hope to see you there!

Felice Gerwitz

Teaching Your Kids (and yourself) to THINK– MBFLP 238

Have you ever looked at your child and asked, “What were you thinking?” – and then realized that he wasn’t thinking at all? That’s common enough – and to be honest, sometimes it doesn’t improve in adulthood. This episode, Hal is talking about how you can help your kids become more intentional, more aware, more … thoughtful! (And maybe, improve your own thinking skills, too)

The Bible warns against spiritual blindness — we need to be careful about mental blindness in the physical world too. Jesus and the apostles quoted Isaiah and Ezekiel, who said though Israel had eyes to see and ears to hear, they were blind and deaf to spiritual truth right in front of them. (Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 12, Matthew 13, Acts 28, Romans 11) And honestly we often are nearly as clueless about the physical world, aren’t we?

We can help our kids focus a little better on common blind spots like:

  • Figuring out where to start with a big task
  • Organizing a task for fastest and quickest improvement
  • Finding something when it’s right where you said it was
  • Finding something when it’s close but not exactly where you said
  • Giving an honest try before giving up
  • Learning logical troubleshooting skills

Hal shares lessons he learned from more than twenty years in the military, manufacturing, and utilities – and lessons we try to teach our kids now!


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