"Homeschoolers are so weird." "They are organizers and planners. They get up early and start their day on schedule." "They must be so patient with their kids." Oh, I must object! After 8 years of homeschooling, I am still unorganized, I have tried every schedule out there, and I still like to sleep late. But I am having a blast and I am compelled to share a little about this passion because it is just that: a passion. Danny and I decided we would homeschool our kids 14 years ago when the first baby was brewing. However, I feared I would be the only mom not wearing Keds and a long bluejean skirt. Well, I think the nose ring helped move me away from that stereotype.
Why do we homeschool?
1. We want to be the biggest influences in their lives.
2. We wanted to instill a love for learning.
3. Home is where you develop your self-image. Family is the foundation. If you know who you are when you leave home, you change the world instead of it changing you.
How do we homeschool?
I think it's easy to assume women who teach her own kids, must be cut from the same cloth. And though I long to have the gift of administration and watch it play out in our daily activities, I am not that woman. So it is with transparency that I share what a day around here looks like. It's not that I think being unscheduled is something to strive for, but I want to dispel any thoughts you may have that you can't homeschool if you aren't a very structured woman!
I do believe children thrive on knowing what to expect so I feed mine 3 times a day. I am here when they wake up and I make sure they know I love them. I do make schedules for the kids. But those will change because life happens and, quite honestly, I get bored. If we have planned to study geography, but it is great apple picking weather, off we go. I do like a schedule that work for us, especially in the area of chores. My kids are energized by the chance to check things off the list.
Each summer we evaluate what we've already learned, what we liked and didn't like about that year, and any special opportunities we will have in the upcoming year. With that in mind, we decide what cirriculum we will use. For instance, after going to China then planning to go back, we used Sonlight 5, which covers the Eastern Hemisphere with literature heavy on missions. This year we are living on a farm. So outside commitments are kept to a minimum so we can enjoy the outdoors and learn from daily life. If the grammar I like to teach gets too monotonous for the kids, we try something else. Different kids respond to different learning styles. So don't be afraid to make changes to better suit your individual kids.
We aim to go to bed at the same time each night so we can get up at a reasonable time and all start our day together. Some days we eat cereal. But some days we have pancakes, eggs, bacon. We always hit the books an hour later on these days! If the goats get loose, spelling is forgotten. Sometimes we get back to it. Sometimes we don't. When we studied American Indians, we made a life size teepee. Instead of writing that week, we measured fabric and made a pattern. Then we did our work in the teepee. I save the history and literature til last. We pile on the couch with a snack or go outside on a blanket. When we are done, I send the kids to play or do chores and I often take a nap. Hey, I earned it!
So there is a small glimpse into how we educate at home. It seems most of what you can find online is written by women who are very organized and homeschool with precision. They are the only ones organized enough to get their thoughts on paper! So I wanted to share a little glimpse of how the rest of us live. So Keds or no Keds, you can do it. And you will never regret the time and energy you are investing in your own children.