Festina Lente should be the motto for my homeschool… make haste slowly. What happens when we rush?
I don’t know about you, but I get sloppy when I rush. Basics get skipped so we can move on to more interesting material. Our focus turns from learning the fundamentals well to getting through the lessons.
That’s a horrible idea in education! The point of education isn’t simply getting through the lessons. It’s teaching skills, wisdom, and concepts, not a list of check boxes!
For that matter, children don’t even learn in a rigid step-by-step manner.
Children learn in a fluid, organic manner. For months you beat your head against the wall trying to teach your daughter to blend. One day you sit down as usual ready for the daily head beating. And she blends. Beautifully. Reading begins to click and you move forward at a surprising rate.
But you needed to spend that time working on blending, beating your head against the wall, spending time on the basics.
The same thing happens in math. A child can’t add over 10 for months. You drill, practice, play with manipulatives, and wonder what is wrong. Then one day the child is adding. In three months this child covers 2 years worth of material!
Then you come to multiplication.
But the point is that rushing forward only slows things down in the long run. Skipping blending isn’t going to help a child sound out a new word 4 years down the road. Getting frustrated and yelling slows things down as well.
Spending hours drilling in a vain effort to catch up doesn’t work either. The kids get frustrated. You get frustrated. The dog gets frustrated. Even the Jupiter the guppy gets frustrated.
It’s time to remember Festina Lente.
I knew a professional drum player who told me he never practiced more than 15 minutes a day. But he practiced 15 minutes a day, everyday, consistently. Those 15 consistent minutes didn’t make him an awesome drummer quickly, but it did so much faster than an hour this week, 2 hours next week, skip a week, 4 hours to make up lost time, skip a month….
When we’re teaching children and they seem to stagnate, it’s time to breathe. Time to step back, turn the lessons back to easy material, or even take a break.
It’s hard to do. The world tells us if we just push harder, the kids will get it. If we just work longer, they’ll start to catch on. If we just use the perfect curriculum or method or activity, all our problems will be solved.
It’s simply not true. These plataus and stumbling blocks happen for many reasons, but rushing through and battering down the door is not the solution. Give your child time to grow into the new knowledge.
Stop and let them sleep on the concepts. Don’t rush and keep pushing, pushing, pushing, and pushing some more until they run off into the night screaming.
Be patient. Work on the fundamentals. Practice a little each day. Concentrate on teaching from rest.
And remember to Make Haste Slowly…. Festina Lente.