Faith Markle got us started. She is a mom who has homeschooled several children all the way through school; her youngest is a senior this year. Faith has such a gentle spirit and is also wise and knowledgeable. Many of us homeschool moms benefit from this true Titus 2 woman. She had us put our names in a bowl to draw for which mom would share about her family. Sharon LaFreniere spoke, and I was interested to learn that she is originally Canadian and has been in the US for about 13 years. I didn't know that, but I could hear her accent in her "out"s and "about"s as she continued to talk. She and her family enjoy riding their horses. Sharon shared how her family has moved from an unschooling approach to a slightly more conventional route and what curricula she explores. It was so nice to have this sharing time because at co-op, we mothers don't always have the chance to really get to know one another, as we are all teaching a class or volunteering in a class or keeping up with our kids.
After an open sharing time where we had the chance to ask questions or share concerns or celebrations about our homeschool journey, the presentation began. Cindy Blackwell shared her knowledge of the impact gender differences make on learning styles. I was excited about this topic because I have already seen how differently Will and Emily Anne approach learning!
Cindy shared that from birth girls hear better than boys. Therefore, boys prefer teachers who are louder, whereas girls prefer softer-spoken teachers. There are also gender differences in vision. Boys are more attuned to motion, where girls are more attuned to color. I remember several times where I've tried to encourage Will to use more color in his drawings, and I probably looked right over any action that he was trying to portray!
Stress affects boys and girls differently, too. For example, if you scold or fuss at a boy, his heart rate goes up, his adrenaline is increased, and his attentiveness increases. Stress, however, causes girls to shut down. Boys also prefer cave-like atmospheres, which is why you often may find them under the table! Girls prefer warmer environments (74 degrees F is optimal), while boys are more comfortable when it is cooler (59-65 degrees F).
Joanne Ludwick, who has two daughters, made the point that there are learning style differences even among the same gender. We went on to talk about how much more kinesthetic most boys are and that they need to be moving or doing something with their hands as they learn. Faith made the great suggestion of making play-doh letters or cookie dough letters that they can shape into letters and then eat when making the alphabet. I will definitely be trying that with Will!
Julie Watkins then shared my greatest take-away of the evening. She encouraged us to look at the gifts that God has given our children and not to neglect them or to push them to the side to try to fit in all the curriculum or even to try to do what other homeschool families are doing. She stated that God blessed our children with these gifts in order to help Him achieve His purposes, and we should not squelch them in our attempts to get everything done that we think needs to be achieved. Moms also made the point that these gifts help our children to learn. For example, a child who loves to sing will often learn best by making up songs about the subject matter.
After a touching prayer time where we prayed for each other's requests, we ended the night feeling encouraged and renewed. Most of us will see each other today at the homeschool group's
Valentine's skating party.
I hope that you have a great weekend and a meaningful Valentine's Day, realizing that Christ loves us with an unsurpassing love.
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight . . . .