have wondered if my children were understanding what I was teaching
them. This week while studying the colonial time period and ready Johnny
Terrmain. I would stop and ask my children if they understood what I
was teaching them. I specifically was observing the learning of my six
year old. He often could not tell me anything about what we had read and
I’d have to retell it or have one of the older children tell him what
bothered me so I talked to him about it. I’d tell him, “I’m going to
read this small section and have you tell me what we read.” I would read
and stop to ask him. He would almost verbatim tell me what we read. The
first few times this satisfied me. He told me the same words I read.
Then it occurred to me he was only memorizing the words and not really
understanding them. “Now what?” I remembered asking myself.
One day while reading Johnny Terrmain I stopped and asked everyone what “desertion” meant. They didn’t really know, so I defined it. Then their older college age brother came in and defined it even better and we talked about examples. When I felt everyone understood I went back to reading. The story about Pumpkin, Johnny’s friend getting caught and tried for desertion continued. Tirzaan, my 6 year old got up from the floor and sat next to me and asked, “What does desertion mean?”
I was shocked. Wait, how in the world could he not have gotten anything from the discussion we just had? I explained it to him again trying not to sound frustrated and a little disgusted.
I pondered on this incident for some time. I have concluded – children must have a question and seek the answer before true understanding can happen. This is a life changing principle for me. I’m so glad I discovered it and will now be a better teacher for my children.
learning what principles are, why they are important and how to
identify and apply them. Let’s look at how you prepare to teach these to
Understand that many teaching experiences will not have much preparation time, however, if you do have or take the time to prepare here are three questions to ask yourself to help you know what to teach:
While teaching your
prepared lesson remember that the spirit is the teacher. You want them
to discover the principles on their own. You don’t need to tell or point
the principle out for them. Allow the spirit to direct them and lead
them to discover it. This may be different principles than the ones you
pointed out, allow it, go with their flow of thought. Once a child
discovers the principle he will naturally relate it to something he
already knows. Often, when it is a new idea, it becomes a
transformational and gives him greater confidence in his abilities and
in the Lord.