What homeschooling means to me and to my children….
This is harder then I thought it was going to be to write out. I am still developing this definition of homeschooling for our household. So that’s the first thing I am going to say to you that I learned right away. Homeschooling is defined differently per household. One thing I have found to be almost uniform if you are going to make homeschooling work for you and your family is that you have to make learning a lifestyle, not something you sit down and do for 2 hours a day. Follow inspiration brought on by a single question asked by your kids. Teach them how to find out answers for themselves. For instance, one night we were sitting at the table early on when we first started homeschooling. We were eating dinner. Someone asked if the Tiger was the largest cat. We didn’t know the answer, so we jumped up after dinner and began seeking the answers on the internet. And this turned into many hours of learning for our kids over the weeks to come. We found that Audrey has a huge fascination with large cats. Grace has an obsession with horses. Elijah loves pirates (And thinks it would make a good career when he gets older, lol). You discover so many things about your kids when you follow their questions.
I am NOT an unschooler at all. We do not follow our children where ever the wind blows today, but we do allow a certain amount of natural curiousity to guide us in their free time reading, etc.
We totally have “school”, though I do not run a tight ship like a public/private school. We sit at a table together and we have school time. It’s mostly a relaxed atmosphere, though I do try to teach them good writing habits, and good manners. I love unit studies and literature. I do not care for worksheets that don’t involve much writing or require just circling or underlining. I thought I did, because the kids could do it completely independent. I don’t think they learn as much that way. I make them work as independently as I can though. I make them open the dictionary when it is time, but if they get stuck, I help. I don’t run off and do other things. I am involved. I find that they enjoy hands on and stuff that involves some thought. We also incorporate music as much as possible and even getting up and moving to the music. I try hard to not be a stick in the mud.
Some words of wisdom for my first year, Don’t buy too much curriculum. Do not think you are going to love something so much that you buy years worth. I have done this multiple times and found I hated the program or didn’t understand how to use it. I have returned to such curriculum also months later. If you have multiple children, find something that you can do with all of them, but that doesn’t require you putting a lot planning into it. Unless you have the time and desire to spend hours planning. Some people thrive on that. That’s not me. I love reading about different things people are doing and printing stuff up, but I don’t have the time for it. Five kids, 2 cats, 1 dog, and a husband keep me hopping and cleaning up after them all.
Another word of advice, if you aren’t already doing it, start teaching them responsibility and the idea of we all chip in and do chores together to make this home and family run. They may not enjoy it now, but they will thank you when they have a real job some day. Doing everything for them will not help them in the long run. They are now saying that most kids get to college and aren’t equipped for the real world. They are unable to understand why they aren’t instantly successful by 25.
Lastly, did I say this already? ENJOY YOUR CHILDREN, look into their eyes every day, hug them, tell them you love them, pray with them, pray for them, snuggle them on the couch, read them books. LOVE YOUR CHILDREN!
I think that is a good ending for today….