This is a great article by another TOS Crew Member! Pay close attention, especially if you are a new homeschooler or someone thinking about homeschooling! ~Kelli
When you first start homeschooling, the information and choices can be quite overwhelming. Many people recommend beginning with a boxed curriculum from one publisher. And although I completely understand this reasoning, homeschooling is so much more than replicating mini-classrooms in our homes. In the April 2009 edition of The Homeschool Minute™, Dr. Ruth Beechick encouraged, “Homeschooling naturally is natural. Don’t work too hard on making it artificially schoolish.” And that is the kind of homeschool journey I want to take.
Homeschooling encourages an environment of building strong relationships with our children. It allows us to use those teachable moments that occur throughout the day to encourage good character traits. And it provides an opportunity to give our children the education that best suits them. Can this be accomplished with a boxed curriculum? For the right household, I would say yes. But it can easily become just a checklist covering “all the right things.” A strong academic foundation may result, but homeschooling can go so much deeper than just academics.
Seven years ago, I was that parent starting with “school at home.” But by my second year I knew it was not what I wanted. I have tried various things throughout the last few years, some of which I liked and some I did not. But as I look back, my children were still checking off boxes, just working through their day to get it done. Our material requires active thinking instead of allowing passive involvement. So that element isn’t the issue. However, the picture is not yet complete. How do I cultivate in my children the mindset that school is not just another thing we need to check off our “to do” list? How do I teach them that learning is a life long endeavor of which academics are a part? These are questions I am still answering, but I think a lot has to do with my attitude toward learning. Do I really view it as a part of life or is learning just about “school” to me? Yes, I need to provide a strong fundamental foundation on which they can build. However, just as important is instilling in them the sense that we can learn from everything around us and that we are never too old or too good to learn something new. They also must learn that we don’t want to gain knowledge for knowledge sake, but to enrich those around us and ourselves. As their teacher, I can best help them by modeling a lifestyle of learning.
Homeschooling is becoming more and more of a joy. Why? Because I am slowly breaking out of my box checker, control freak, compartmentalized mode. I am stretching my boundaries and allowing myself to grow. I know I have just scratched the surface, but I look forward to delving deeper into learning through the ebb and flow of life.
I hope this has been an encouragement to make your homeschooling journey a full and enjoyable one. Learning can be just about “school” or it can be a way of life.
My name is Cynthia and I live in Alaska with my husband of 15 years. I am a stay at home mom to three daughters and one son who all bring us much joy. Helping others is my passion as I learn through this great journey. I am blessed that my children are enjoying walking this path with me. You can read more about our family at http://hiddenjewelalaska.blogspot.com.
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