If you’re a homeschooling family, you have a list of reasons why you chose this educational form. You like the freedom. Your kids need a challenge. You want to direct your child’s education and avoid a cookie-cutter approach. Fill in your own reason below.
As we prepare for a new school year, what our homeschooling looks like will shift because our 13 year old will be taking two classes at the local high school. I didn’t really see this coming, but it’s clear to us that this is what God has for her next. He’s filled in my gaps in science with a bio-med program that is perfect for our future nurse.
But I’ve also taken the time to rethink what I like and don’t like about how we homeschool. The beginning of a new school year is a good time to reevaluate what’s worked and what hasn’t. Here are a few ways that our homeschool shouldn’t look like a traditional school.
1) My kids aren’t forced to sit quietly at a desk all day. I stumbled across this article yesterday, which reminded me that homeschooling provides many benefits beyond the academic for our kiddos. One is this freedom to move about and do what they need to help them pay attention. My 13 year old is constantly doodling, my 10 year old is continually constructing lego creations, and the 6 and 3 year old are in orbit while we do our read alouds. This is good. Slowly I’ve tested and realized that my children really can pay attention while their hands are busy.
2) My kids can move! This means work is often done on the floor, at a small library table, in a tree, in the hammock, etc. There are times I wish my kids could just sit still for a couple hours, but the reality is where we homeschool moves around. Some days I have to remove distractions from their rooms, but the reality is that sometimes they focus better when the location changes. And why not do that? Am I so focused on how I “think” school should look that I don’t allow them the freedom to move around?
3) My kids can explore on their time table. Now, I am far from an unschooler. I like textbooks and a workbook. But I’ve learned to adjust. I spend time praying and considering what will work for each child in each year. We’ve collected quite a variety of curriculum as a result. But what I’m learning is that just because the 13 year old used something doesn’t mean it’s the right way for the 10 year old to learn or the 6 year old. I have to be willing to be flexible and adjust so that learning can best happen for each of them.
4) We have flexibility! This year our flexibility will be curtailed by the 13 year olds classes, but we can still go to the pool at ten a.m., if that’s what we need. I want to do more this year to celebrate the flexibility and get our noses out of a textbook and into exploring what’s around us. Whether that’s following the Underground Railroad in our own town or going to a museum. I want to celebrate the ability to learn and adjust. I want to make sure we’re getting out and moving.
If you homeschool, what do you want to do differently this coming school year? What works really well and you want to make sure you continue it? If you don’t homeschool, what works well for your kids? What makes you most excited about the new school year?