Why I Sometimes Play Dumb

Sometimes I play dumb with my kids.

The other day my daughter asked me if I knew what words she could use to replace “show” in a paper she was writing.

Immediately my brain started to churn out ideas — “display” “mirror” “reflect” “exemplify.”

But I caught myself before the words left my mouth … and instead I said, “I don’t know. Why don’t you look it up in the thesaurus.”

A few moments later she had found “illustrate” — a fabulous word! Plus she felt empowered to solve problems and find solutions on her own.

(Bonus: She had also practiced using a thesaurus!)

Over the years, I’ve learned that if I always give my kids the answer, they depend on me too much. Sure it feels good to be the one who knows something, but I have learned the hard way that my job isn’t to “feel good” when I’m educating my child.

My job is to teach them how to learn and how to be successful without me. Which means, I have to let go and let them figure things out on their own!

Does this mean I ALWAYS give them an “I don’t know”? Of course not!

There are also times when I can tell a child is struggling and needs my support … or has already put in hours and is exhausted … or they’re in a position where learning the skill to figure it out on their own wouldn’t be a good fit.

Then I step in and share what I know.

As with everything, it’s a constant question as to how I balance the two.

But knowing that I need to balance has made a huge shift in our homeschool. 🙂

About the Author ToriAnn Perkey

I'm ToriAnn Perkey. I've been homeschooling since 2004, when my oldest daughter was 3 1/2. I'm a mother, mentor, teacher, presenter, and musician. One of my favorite pastimes is learning about ... anything! Read more here.