Conversation: A Powerful Tool For Education

Conversation: A Powerful Tool For EducationI was driving, rather lost in thought, zoned by the double lines in front of me, when he asked the third question.

“But how will they know?”

I had probably answered his first two questions with a half-lying, “I don’t know”, the result of not really listening.

“How will they know how to find my phone number when I have my business?”

I finally snapped out of it and began really answering him and listening to him. For the next thirty minutes, my seven-year-old son and I had the most productive, thoughtful and intriguing conversations I’ve had in a long time about marketing, entrepreneurs and customer demands.

We talked, on a very basic level, about how the phone company gives you a number, and the best ways to distribute that to potential customers. We talked about profit, overhead, and what it takes in terms of character traits to run a successful business.

We talked. He asked questions, I answered. He glowed with inspiration. He spotted trucks with business names on them…”Hey Mom, look, I bet they have their own business. I guess they gave out their phone number too.

We went home and ordered him some “owner-to-be” business cards and we are still honing the details of how to market your own business. I foresee him owning that dream business of his by the age of sixteen.

brooks card

Conversation is the simplest and yet, I believe, most profound and valuable tool a homeschooling parent has. Conversation not only teaches by answering questions, but it involves the element of thinking critically, and learning to effectively communicate thoughts.

But we miss it! We miss it in two ways:

  1. It seems too simple. After all, look at how the professionals educate today’s youngsters. Conversation doesn’t appear to be an important part of it. So we get so busy trying to emulate a method that isn’t even superior, only necessary in a large classroom, and miss out on this crucial element of education.
  2. We’re too busy. Conversation takes an intentional effort. We must listen, focus, ask questions, often putting our own activities and thoughts aside for the sake of our children. It’s a sacrifice; but one worth making.

The art of conversation, especially among families, is largely disappearing in our culture. Sound-byte technology has replaced it, and we are fragmented in thought, relationship and spirit.

Utilizing the tool of conversation as we homeschool,  we transfer knowledge as well as craft in our children the powerful ability to communicate.

Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people. -Jim Rohn

The art of conversation has made me realize why homeschooling is so important, and why learning is really a lifestyle. I’m convinced my children learn far more when their intrigue is met with a listening ear and a willing conversationalist, than they do from the desk work that makes me feel like we’re really accomplishing something. That work is necessary, just not sufficient by itself.

I remember hearing a young lady whose thinking and maturity was advanced well beyond her years, as were those of her siblings. Everyone wanted to know her parents’ “secret.” She told us: “Conversation. The bulk of my schooling involved us talking with Mom and Dad about all sorts of things and them challenging us to defend our beliefs and opinions.”

So, tune in, listen, ask questions and be ready to answers theirs. What do they love? What is it they want to learn more about? If a thoughtful parent engages his child on a regular basis, and nothing else, that child will likely exceed the average student in his ability to communicate his thoughts as well as his knowledge of the world around him.

Don’t miss the conversation!

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5 Responses to “Conversation: A Powerful Tool For Education”

  1. Lisa H. says:

    And doesn’t the Lord do this with us as well? He speaks to us, and His Word demands a response from us, after which He continues to lead and challenge our thoughts, which we pour out to Him in a continuous stream. This is the “pray without ceasing” that He so desires of us, because only then will be learn from Him, and become like Him.

    Should we do any differently with our children?

    Thank you for this post, Kelly. We know this truth but need the timely reminders…. frequently.

  2. Katrina S says:

    Thank you for this post. It has got me thinking and I have come back today to reread it. I am not a very talkative person and I have ten children to converse with. How do you make sure you talk with each one? I want to be more intentional to listen and make time and engage when the questions come from my children. I love it when they ask a question during a read-aloud, like what does this word mean, and, when they give a knowing statement that I haven’t even thought of. It is interesting with having a lot of different ages of children. Some conversations are just with and for teens. How do you not make it so as some children feel left out?

    • Katrina,

      The only answer I have for that is simply, be intentional. Throughout the day, I try to be alert for a child who has some free time and just “hang out” with him or her for a few minutes. Sometimes I grab one to go with me for a walk. I also switch up who I take with me to run errands, etc. If you are aware of it, I think you will see the opportunities when they are there.

      • Katrina S says:

        Hi again Kelly,
        Yesterday my daughter was planning and doing sewing projects while I cleaned kitchen cupboard doors. She asked questions about sewing and I intentionally gave her good answers. It felt like I was doing something different than my usual “I’m busy” mode. We ended up having a lovely time together. Thanks for this blog post. It has got me really looking at my conversation skills and attitudes. I also realise I do converse a lot with my teens and littlest children – they are so fun – and I need to not forget the middle-aged kids.

  3. Eva says:

    I can not tell you enough how this has helped me!! Praise be to God!’ ,,,,,, mama of 9:)

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