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Homeschooling: My learning journey as a parent


The Adult Learning Hub advocates for life long learning, and we love hearing inspirational stories of where the joy of learning started. Jacinda Giesbrecht is our guest contributor this week in this special piece. She is based in the cosy mountain town of Hinton, in Alberta, Canada.

She tells us of her learning journey in adulthood towards becoming a homeschooling teacher to her four children. You will often find them engaging in activities like building zip lines in their back yard, baking solar panel cookies, working on their pottery wheel, writing their own books, climbing trees and mountains, kayaking and growing their own butterflies. 

They are well on their way to becoming life long learners!

Jacinda shares her story with us of how she got started, why and lessons she's learned along the way... 

I am an educator, though not in the way most would think. 

I am a mom homeschooling my four young children. As they grow into adults, it is my responsibility to prepare them and my desire to give them an abundance of skills, grit and perseverance for every opportunity that comes their way.

I recently read aloud to them the book "The Year of Miss Agnus" by Kirkpatrick Hill. My favorite part reads:

Miss Agnus didn't think school was just for kids. "You have to keep learning all your life." She said. That was a good thing to think about, always learning something new. It wasn't like you had to hurry up and learn everything right away before the learning time was over, it was like you could kind of relax and take your time and enjoy it.

I believe this is so important to be encouraging in youth and adults alike. That learning never stops. It's often necessary for our occupations but more than that it is vital to our health and wellbeing to be continuing to explore new ideas, passions and curiosities. 

How enriching for our communities to have a wealth of knowledge and experiences that are growing and being shared, and our personal worldviews to be continually expanding by the stories of those around us.

A crucial factor to a lifetime of learning, and joyful learning, is the foundation of a growth mindset. That is exactly what Miss Agnus was referring to. There is no set window of learning that could be missed, rather an understanding that growth is a process and journey rather that a switch. Your "I can't do this" changes to "I can't do this yet."

Ten years ago I never would have guessed I'd be a homeschooling parent. But the passion for an alternative style of education stirred up and I leaned into it. I wanted my kids to be lifelong learners with passion and curiosity.

To begin my journey I attended local conferences, seminars and workshops. I soaked in the styles of learning, assessing my children as visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners. I listened to ideas of growth mindset. I delved into the topic of mediated learning where my role was a gentle guide, asking a lot of questions to my students to develop their thought process and reasoning, creating meaning and relevancy to them as well as bridging their new skills and knowledge to things they already know. 

Topics such as mastery and spiral learning became familiar. I've waded through stats on homeschooling and on reading aloud being the biggest influence of successful education. I've read many books written by homeschoolers, or teachers turned homeschool advocates. But even more than all of this, it was connecting to other homeschoolers, finding that community of people to share ideas with that has made the most difference.

One of the biggest criticisms of homeschooling is the question, "Well, are you qualified to teach?" And with that I think, well I'm certainly qualified to learn! 

One of the greatest joys of homeschooling is learning along-side my kids. They are more engaged when they see that their education is exploring, questioning, and processing together often with me following their lead. John Holt, an author and educator advocating for home education wrote, "Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners."

I hope that the very act of stepping out to homeschool my kids will inspire them that learning has no limits and that it should be propelled by passion, meaning, joy and curiosity into a lifelong endeavor.

Thank you, Jacinda, for this inspiring piece! 

The future looks bright for Sariah, Astrid, Brielle and Dorian.

Do you have an inspiring story to share about how you've learned something new in adulthood? We'd love to hear it. Email jane@theadultlearninghub.com

Find out more about membership opportunities with The Adult Learning Hub here.