3 Ways “Teachable Moments” Can Harm Your Homeschool

Be wary of going overboard with teachable moments!

I’m one of those “all or nothing” kinda gals. When I decide to do something, I give it everything I have, no matter what. When I decide not to do something, I don’t even give it a second thought.

This trait has overwhelmingly taken over in my parenting, as well.

Back when my kids were still in school, I trusted that my children’s teachers would give them a good education because that’s what they were trained to do. Because of that, I went about the rest of our lives not really worrying much about whether or not my kids were learning as we were out and about.

After all, that was the teacher’s job, right? 

Fast forward to when I decided to start homeschooling. The realization that my children’s entire education was being shifted to me inspired me to make sure that I would make every. single. moment. count.

“Teachable moments” became one of my favorite methods to fall back on anytime we weren’t officially doing school on a given day.

You just saw a squirrel in the yard? Let’s go look up what they eat, where they live, whether or not they hibernate, and their length of gestation!

Oh, it just started raining? Come on! Let’s go read that book we have on what causes it! I KNOW we read it every time it rains. Don’t you want to learn?

You have a stomach ache? Uh oh. We’d better go on WebMD and research every single illness it could possibly be, how it’s passed on, and the year it was first ever recorded. 

Okay. Maybe I wasn’t as bad as the last one, but I think you get my meaning.

What I finally discovered over time was that I was hurting my kids’ love of learning by going overboard with teachable moments.

Before anyone gets worked up in a tizzy, I fully acknowledge the value in them. In fact, I often use them to this day. What I have learned, though, is that there are some things you really need to avoid to prevent your kids from wanting to run in the opposite direction whenever they see you doing a Google search.

I’m going to share those with you today. 🙂

3 Ways Your Homeschool Can Be Harmed by Teachable Moments

1. Turning every. single. thing that happens into a “class” or a lecture.

Don't turn everything into a lecture!

As with all things, moderation is key. I do not deny that there are an abundant number of opportunities to enlighten your kids, but be intentional about what you choose to go into further. If your kids who love insects find an anthill on the sidewalk, then yes, do consider studying it with them, but is it really necessary to ask your kids to write a report on what caused their dad to burp?

I’m going to say no.

2. Spending all of your free time looking for teachable moments.

Teachable moments

This was one of my biggest mistakes when I was a newbie homeschooler. I was so desperate to give my kids a proper education that I became completely distracted by trying to figure out what lesson I could pull out of each and every thing that happened to us.

It can be so easy to waste a lot of time searching for teachable moments that you start to miss out on just living life with your kids and being fully present with them.

3. Talking a topic into the ground.

Teachable moments should be used in moderation in your homeschool.

Although finding the right topic to delve into more deeply with your children is a must, be very careful about driving the topic into the ground. No matter how interested your child may be in something, watch for signs that they’ve had enough.

Are they looking everywhere but at you? Are they answering with little mumbling noises? Most importantly, are they trying to get away from you? Those are all good signs that they’re no longer listening.

That means it’s time to stop.

Teachable moments can be a phenomenal way to help your kids make connections through everyday living. As with so many things in homeschooling, though, just remember this one thing:

Less is more.

Want to find out what relaxed homeschooling is all about? Join my FB group!


Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

15 thoughts on “3 Ways “Teachable Moments” Can Harm Your Homeschool”

  1. Love this! I’ve found my best teaching moments have not been planned, but just happen, such as when a child comes to me confessing something they did and we fall into a natural discussion about it. Really, we teach more by example. But I am working on living more in the moment. Great post, Shelly! 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yep! I also found that if I had to remind the boys of their question by the time I found the answer or a book… that was a pretty good sign that they really were not interested in that topic but just had a passing thought or remark. Those questions that persisted or they eagerly sought answers to were the ones that were important.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Shelly, I have been guilty of going down too many “rabbit holes” as well. As homeschoolers, we have two roles that cross over a lot, mother, and teacher. I have had to remind myself that I am their mom first, teacher second and that helps me to stop myself from chasing down every learning opportunity. Thanks for the great thoughts, Heidi

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha – right on! I caught myself doing this – thank goodness I could read the sign (massive eye rolling). Don’t “kill” natural curiosity – good reminder 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I found this interesting. I don’t usually try to turn everything into a teaching moment, but I am quick to say, next time we are at the library you could see if you can find a book on __________ to learn more. I do often check books out of the library for my kids that I thinj look like something they would enjoy learning more about, but I seldom tell them I checked it out and I almost never tell them they have to read it. I let the joy of their interest peek into the book and read it or ask me to read it to them on their own.

    Liked by 1 person

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