Tuesday, January 8, 2013

5 Things We Did Right In Our Homeschool


5 Things We Did Right

(or 5 things we done good on)

I wrote the following because my kids are grown now.  In all our years of homeschooling, I was so afraid I was ruining my kids with my inadequate skills.  I can look back now and see a lot we got right. 
I hope this encourages you.  Hang in there. 

1.  Read Aloud ~ This was by far, the best thing we ever did as a family and in our homeschooling.  I regret so much not doing more of it, as now the time is gone.  *sniff*  Start them young.  If your children are older, start now.  Some of our best, most powerfully moving memories and moments shared as a family, came from sharing great literature together. 

2.  Word of the Day ~ not only was this amazingly helpful, most of the time it was hysterically fun.  We all kept little journals for unfamiliar words.  We would choose a word of the day, write it on the fridge, memorize the definition, then use the word all day in as many conversations and sentences as possible.  This game became a riot.  Not only were my children learning vocabulary, we were laughing and making memories. 

3.  Go for walks and collect things ~  We loved rocks, feathers, shells, plants and insects.  I think I loved the insects more than the children, but because I was excited about my AWESOME bug collection, they learned.  :) 

4.  Realize as soon as possible, every child is different ~  Each child learns differently.  Watch and listen to them carefully, pray for wisdom and teach your child his/her style of learning.  If you're forcing your child into hours of workbooks, when all they want to do is read.....hmmm....you're child is telling you something.  Are you listening? 

5.  Unschooling (or relaxed) is not a dirty word. ~  There are seasons of life.  Be flexible and be at peace about it.  Give yourself permission, turn your kids loose to study what they want.  Life happens.  (Mom has car wrecks, Dad travels 2 weeks every month and grandparents die, for example). 

Psssttt...And whatever you do, during this "unschooling" time or any other time, do NOT compare yourself to the Trivium family or Mr. and Mrs. A Beka, who has it all together (or to anyone else, because you'll literally go insane).  Do. Not. Compare.  They are not you.  You are not them.  We are all unique units with different needs.  (For the record, we used Sonlight).      . 

*More to come in this series.  My daughter and other friends are making their lists. 

Sharing with Sunny Simple Sunday


My favorite thing about this photo is it wasn't staged.  I love capturing "real" moments in my children's life

I have homeschooled my children for 12 years.  We used Sonlight at home, as well as other fine curriculums in co-ops.  One child is in college, has her AA and is working on her BA.  The other will graduate this May.  I've had some success as well as many failures and many "head against wall smashing".  While this is not a homeschool blog, I do hope to encourage other parents out there who are traumatized by math, terrorized by their child's latest melt down, or tanking from lack of motivation ..........
I want you to know and believe the following:
*It can be done*
*You're doing a great job*
*Your children are going to grow up just fine*  
*You're not messing them up as much as you think you are*
*chill out.*  
ALSO, (I've heard it all, so don't go there)
1.  I don't hate public school.  I love teachers.  Some of my best and closest friends teach in public schools.  
2.  I am not superior or inferior because I homeschool.  You are not superior or inferior because your children attend school outside the home. 
3. Homeschooling is not for everyone.  Not everyone can do it.  If you cannot or do not want to homeschool, you're not a bad person or a bad parent. 
4.  Parents (and teachers) are VERY OPINIONATED, SENSITIVE and DEFENSIVE regarding education.  If you feel a need to "fight" or share a condescending, nasty opinion, take it else where.  Ain't no body got time for that. 


Mary said...

Home school is so ideal....as in olden days when every one did that. Public school was for those who could not have the help at home. Cool to do it, but I agree, not for everyone. I would have love it as a kid.

Luke Holzmann said...

Read-Alouds? Still love 'em! My wife loves it when I read to her [smile]. And, yes, you hit the nail on the head: Every child is different. So true in our family!

Thanks so much for sharing this!


Allison said...

thanks for a lovely post - so full of things that I need to be reminded of frequently :)

Embracing the Insanity said...

Just stopping in for the first time! (Saw a comment you left on another blog.)
Your post is spot on!
One of the biggest struggles for homeschooling families IS in comparing. Not only are children uniquely gifted, with unique learning styles, but families are also remarkably different, with various combinations of dad/mom schooling (or unschooling) or dad/mom/both working (in/out of the home), various combinations of ages & stages of children--all factors that contribute to individual family "rhythms."
We are at the very "beginning" stages: our kids are just-turned 6, 4-1/2, 2-3/4 and 17 mos. We just started homeschooling this year. It is always encouraging to hear those moms who have "made it" (and their children have done well) remind us to "chill out." :-)
I also agree with and appreciate so much your last four points. Some parents insist their way is the only way, the right way, the superior way to teach a child. It really is such an individual decision!
Thank you for your post!

Embracing the Insanity said...

Just stopped by your blog for the first time today!
As a brand-new homeschool mom of four (ages 6,4,2, and 17 mos.), I really appreciate your encouragement! Thank you for posting!

nancy said...

Just curious- how do you deal with teaching technology? Students using a SmartBoard, Notebook formats for presentations, making videos, etc.? We start teaching this at our Boise schools in 3rd grade...

AllyJo said...

Hey Nancy. Teaching our children technology was not a problem for us. My husband is a geek by trade; he programs statistics, so my kids have always been around computers and technology. In fact, they pick it up so quickly, they are the ones teaching me.

I think they started to learn to type in 3rd grade for us as well. They took technical classes through Florida Virtual school.

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