...Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Ruth 1:16 This is the journey of our lives...

Friday, June 2, 2017

My homeschooling style

Almost the end of the school year!
I realize every other school in the country is out for the summer, but they didn't have as much fun as we did. ;)
We took some breaks, fall, Christmas, New Years, 2 weeks of Spring and a major surgery. Its the beauty of homeschooling. The freedom to choose when you do school work. I am on a mission to finish World History. We've been working as a family to finish it for the last 2 years and I AM DONE. It's been fun and interesting but I need to be finished! My kids will work a little bit all summer on a few skills and we will do summer reading, but otherwise our days will start later and include lots of adventuring and hopefully a trip across the US to North Carolina.

I have finally grasp and adopted my style of homeschooling. In my 10th year of homeschooling, I can finally pinpoint how I teach. I've always taught the same way and no matter how many times I start differently, I end up going back to what I've always loved. I think I've always tried to hide my style and fit into what I thought was the Right WAY to homeschool. I started with teaching my kids at home by emulating the school systems. I felt that if I stayed the course, my children would fit into the box of future education and seamlessly transition into college. This is silly of course, because not many children who graduate high school can actually do that. It takes something else for kids to transition into successful adulthood. A love for learning, thoughts of their own about their future, an invested interest in the world around them and I believe, passion. In my quest to homeschool the right way, I have tried many curriculums and some worked and some didn't. Even when a curriculum didn't work, I would tailor make it so it fit into our lifestyle of learning. I teach based on the needs of my children. I have struggling learners and I have easy peasy learners. Each one of them has their strengths and weaknesses and some strengths are not recognized in a traditional learning environment. So my job has been to find a learning style that encompasses the qualities that will produce a love for learning and minimal frustration.

Charlotte Mason has been an inspiration to my teaching. She talks about laying before our children a feast of knowledge through literature, nature and the outdoors. That children should play and through play they will learn.

I was afraid to follow my heart and teach my children this way. I wasn't brave enough to step away from traditional learning and just teach my children naturally, the way I as an adult learn. It wasn't until I truly thought back to what I remembered from school that I finally grasped how to teach my children. I was homeschooled from Kinder until 8th grade. And my mom was a pioneer homeschooler and although the only curriculum she could buy was from the local schools, she still taught us in a very natural learning environment. I remember sitting at my desk and diagramming sentences, but I don't really remember how, I know my math facts and I am thankful for that. I have to budget my check book! But what I do remember was the days we spent all day reading books, planting our garden, field trips, movie days with other homeschool families watching Shakespeare and holidays where we dressed as our favorite literary character and talked about it. We studied the fullness of life and my mother was more concerned about the people we'd be and the success we'd have as adults than the scores of our tests. Even when I went to public high school, I only remember learning about the things that I was interested in. The stuff that ignited a love for learning, the teachers who made learning an experience. The Scarlet Letter, dissecting a cat and putting all the bones back together, theater performances and passionate teachers who invested in our individual passions. All of these things left an impact on me as an individual. How then can I sit and drill my children in facts without making them memorable? Other than math ( oh help my bleeding soul), at which at some point we will hire a tutor if any of my children need upper level math to become an astronaut or pharmacist, I am creating a lifestyle of learning. We read a lot of good books, we draw a lot of nature, we build a lot with our hands, we take a lot of trips. I still follow curriculum and I still teach foundational truths that will allow them to go on to be whatever God puts in their hearts. But my heart's goal is to keep them in love with the things they learn, to find their passion and follow it. If there is an interest in something we are learning, we explore it.  I realize that I am not the perfect teacher, I don't have perfect grammar, I struggle with fractions and I don't know all the details of the constitution. The Lord has given me the desire to teach my children at home and the ability to research what I don't know and share what I do. I pray He will cover my children with grace and knowledge for all of my short comings.

Resources for encouragement