There are many wonderful things about homeschooling that drew me to it: the flexibility in scheduling, the personalization of my children’s education, and the chance to protect them a little longer. There have also been things I have learned that I value even more about homeschooling since I started preschool homeschool and started learning more from the homeschooling community. It is these things that I am truly thankful for in homeschooling. It is these things that have made me appreciate the other homeschooling families all the more. They are also the reasons I appreciate the homeschooling community, everyone from those I have met through blogging to those I have met in person.
1. Homeschooling need not look like school at home
I have learned that if I try to replicate the model of the public or the private school systems in my home it is a recipe for burn out, burn out for myself and for my children. We can do school on the couch, in the kitchen, outside, behind a computer, or sitting at a desk. What they need is time with me coming along side them and showing how something works. And at their young age that can mean sitting down and playing a game of memory, or building blocks and asking them to repeat the pattern I created. I don’t need to drill them, or continually quiz them. With time I am sure tests will find their way into our homeschool but for now they are not here and that is fine. I can gauge their progress without a test.
I have also learned that homeschooling my girls takes fewer hours of dedicated instruction in the areas of book learning than it would take to teach a classroom full of young children. So instead of sending Chloe out of the house for hours a few times a week we can sit down for 10-20 minutes a day 3-4 times a week. For those of you who are skeptical let me reassure you, with this model I will have her ready for kindergarten level work by next fall, a full year ahead of what the school systems require of her.
Now of course if you have older children you will need to spend more time instructing them, but it still will not take nearly as long as the school day for those in brick and mortar schools. The reason is simply this: you will not need to spend as much time with busy work or covering material you already covered. Yes some kids will need you to still review, but working one on one you will know when enough is enough and stop the review portion when they catch on and then you will be able to move on to the next section.
2. There is not one right way to do this
I am beyond thankful that there is no one right way to teach my girls, or to organize a homeschool. There are families who have a school room complete with desks for the kids and a teacher’s desk for the mother (if you are a father homeschooling good for you but I am going on the idea the primary educator in most families is the mother.) Then there are families who have a school room but that is simply a place to corral the school supplies. I have also met and seen families who are un-schoolers, they let all their learning occur naturally albeit sometimes a bit directed. Or maybe some combination of the above.
So no matter what way you choose to teach, take comfort in the fact you are not alone. You are simply doing what’s best for you and your family. If you feel alone start by simply turning to the online homeschooling community. There are many of us, and I have found everyone rather welcoming.
3. Patience is not a pre-requisite.
One of the most common reasons I have heard on why a person can not homeschool is they feel they do not have the patience to do so. I understand this statement, I have said it in the past. Since I have dove into homeschooling, and learning more about it I have discovered patience is not a pre-requisite. In fact many veteran homeschooling moms still don’t feel like they are very patient. Just remember it is something you can learn and develop with time. Although even if you have spent years cultivating patience you will still need to work on it. People will always find a new way to test your limits, and your children more so than others.
4. Learning occurs in so many areas of the home life
As I have started to homeschool I have seen how learning can and does occur in a variety of situations. You can work on math as you are cooking dinner. Cooking offers a chance to explore counting, fractions, division (in some cases,) and following directions. Laundry can help with sorting, organization, motor skills, and more. The point is there is much for children to learn in the running of the home. And the biggest thing they can learn through chores is probably responsibility.
5. Education is Discipleship
The Free Dictionary defines a disciple as, “One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another.” So no matter where our children are educated, we are creating disciples. They will take what they learn from the environment they are in and spread that to the world. So let me ask you, what is it that you want your children to learn to value? If you send your kids away for eight, nine, or ten hours a day they are learning much about the world from the world. Do you like the message they are learning there? I didn’t. I decided to teach them at home so I could help teach them a global view with a Christian perspective. That is not to say this couldn’t be achieved if the kids were in public school, it could have. It would have been more difficult is all.
No matter how you decide to educate your children, there are principles there for everyone. Take your time reflect on it. Digest it. Most of all appreciate that like parenting, there is no one exact perfect way to educate your children. Learn your options, they are many, and find what works for your family.
***What would you add to this list?***