Teaching our children to have hope!

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As summer approaches, I can remember as a young child that I wanted to learn to swim so much. I was very scared of oceans, lakes and swimming pools. 

My heart would break when I would see my family and friends enjoying time in the water. Oh how I wanted to join them, but as a child, I understood what it meant to experience hopelessness. 

I remember my family broke down my goal of wanting to learn to swim in steps like pushing off from the wall of the pool but letting my feet still be on the bottom of the pool, then slowly beginning to lift my feet off the bottom of the pool and holding my father’s hands and learning to float as he slowly withdrew his support, then being taught to do simple swim strokes.

As a child, I can still remember how my hopeless state went to hopeful as I gained new confidence and my family cheered each step of the way of me learning to swim when I was eight years old.

During this period of staying at home is a good time for children to begin building hope. It is a strong cornerstone for building character traits for our children. 

Educators in the classroom understand this process of prompting and probing students in answering questions to achieve success and hope. Praise is given step-by-step as children work toward achieving their goals. 

As teachers, we set goals for what we want each of our students to learn.

As parents are taking on the role of teaching their children at home, we may want to approach setting goals in each subject for our child. 

You go from looking at the “big-picture assignment” such as a goal in math is to learn multiplication facts 1 to 12. You take this big goal and break it down into smaller goals such as one week learning multiplication 1 to 3 tables, then the next week learn the 4 to 5 tables, etc. In breaking down the big goals into mini goals, celebrate and praise your children as they continue to learn.

There is more than one way to learn and reach our goals. Children have different learning styles. I would like to help Classroom Observer readers by referring back to an earlier article “How Does My Child Learn?” I’d like to briefly summarize some points that I hope will help parents as they continue to teach their children at home.

1. Visual learners have to see and visualize what they are learning like they love to draw, color and paint. As a parent of a child who is a visual learner, you will need to use a lot of visuals, pictures and demonstrations.

2. Reflective learners are usually observers and like to work alone as he/she thinks concepts through.  As a parent who is teaching your child who is a reflective learner, you will need to give this child their own defined space. Give them time to work on an assignment or activity for a long time or ponder ideas on the computer.

3. A logical learner is a child who learns by seeing patterns, systems, and reasoning. Logical learning comes easy for them. For example, this kind of learner can quickly put a puzzle together.

4. Physical learners use their mind and their whole body as they learn.  If your child is a physical learner you may observe this child using their hands, feet, and whole body as they write, read their own stories, learn math facts or just express themselves. 

5. A relational learner is a child who interacts and relates well with other children. This child will be good at helping their siblings with their assignments because they are good listeners. 

6. A musical learner will usually hum, whistle or sing their favorite songs to themselves. With the multiplication facts assignment, they will sing the multiplication tables in order to learn them. 

7. A natural learner is one who loves the world outside.  Spring is the perfect time to explore and learn about God’s World.

8. A verbal learner is one who loves to make up words and tell stories and jokes. A verbal learner will truly enjoy writing language experience stories and share them with their families at this time. 

I would like to share a personal journey of hope that I hope will encourage readers.

My late husband taught me to appreciate the water and canoe around Lee County in beautiful creeks, lakes and rivers. He was seasoned in teaching people to canoe, but I was probably going to be his biggest challenge of a canoeing student. 

He took it slow with me – flat water first then white water. In white water, I would cling to nearby rocks and scream when we encountered whirlpools and say “wait, wait!” 

He would put me in the rudder position to guide the canoe as he sat at the front and took the lead. When I froze at the rudder position, he would have to do both jobs, lead and rudder. After going through the rough white water, we would come out on the other side, where it was calm and peaceful.

As my husband took steps in teaching me how to canoe, I actually looked forward to our trips so much because I knew after going through the rough water, I would enjoy the beautiful calm on the other side. I learned a life’s lesson from my canoe trips that when we go through rough waters like we are experiencing now that God is carrying us into beautiful calm waters and step by step we have learned to trust Him and have hope!

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