The Secret to Homeschooling Success: Teach Your Children to Fish

Teaching your children to fish is the real secret to homeschooling success.

Every homeschooling mom longs for that one, perfect curriculum. That magical homeschool program guaranteed to transform her children into the kind of students who will ace their SATs and attract the attention of prestigious universities.

If you're one of those homeschoolers searching for that Holy Grail curriculum, I'm sorry to disappoint you.

It doesn't exist.

While your choice of curriculum can influence the quality of your children's education, what can matter more is your overall philosophy of education.

So do you teach your children to fish?

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

That is my philosophy of education. And I truly believe it's also the key to successful homeschooling.

Our job as homeschooling parents is not to fill our children's minds with dozens of names and dates; to teach them for the sole purpose of checking items off a generic scope and sequence; or to have them fill out hundreds of worksheets, chock full of multiple choice questions and word banks.

If we want out children to become independent, intelligent, and self-motivated adults, we need to stop giving them fish and start teaching them how to fish – to help them discover knowledge and think for themselves.

How can you teach your children to fish?

1. Don't answer questions. The next time your child asks you a question, such as when a certain event happened, or how a certain thing works, don't give them the answer. Ask them a question instead.

Use your questions to guide them through the process of discovering the answer. If they can't figure it out on their own, then direct them to a source where they can find the answer. Teach them to fish out the answer on their own so they're better prepared to find an answer the next time.

2. If they're old/able enough to do something, let them do it. Teaching your children to fish doesn't just apply to scholastic pursuits. If your child wants a library card or to sign up for a class or sports program, don't fill out the paperwork yourself. Have them fill it out instead (of course, with your supervision at first).

You might even consider not making them breakfast everyday. Instead, show them how to do it, and then allow them to do it by themselves. Real-world skills are easily taught this way, even at a very young age.

Remember this winning homeschool philosophy

There is another great proverb that goes hand-in-hand with my fishing philosophy. "Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand." It's a principle that every homeschooler should keep constantly in mind.

So when you're teaching your children, keep these philosophies in mind. Don't just give your children fish. Teach them how to fish, and you'll be well on your way to raising life long learners.

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  1. says

    This is definitely what we all need to keep in mind. Otherwise we are wasting our days. And as for breakfast…my daughter had made our breakfasts since she was five. Back then she just did the mixing and I did the stove/oven. Now at ten she does it all, and I sleep through the preparations :)


  2. Kristy Rodriguez says

    I LOVE, LOVE this post! Although I was not homeschooled, this was something my parents passed on to my brothers and I; and it is a big reason why I have a desire to homeschool by boys (4 and 2). Thank you for your genuine and realistic insight to homeschooling!


  3. says

    What a great post! I feel this way about my own life and want to pass it on to my kids as well. Little Guy is 20 months already and I constantly am amazed at what he wants to do and what he CAN do if I get out of his way. Here's to raising independent, intelligent, inquisitive kiddos and adults!



  4. says

    While I don't homeschool my daughter, I found this post applicable in our lives. With only 1 precious daughter I often find myself struggling with wanting to help her along (and in some ways feel like she still needs me as she continues to grow) and wanting to raise a confident, problem-solving young person. Thanks for reminding me!


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