We officially homeschool. (And speaking of officially homeschooling I think I have to send in a letter of intent this year. Thanks for reminding me.) We’re about halfway through kindergarten because we school year round. So I have no expertise in homeschooling. I’m learning a lot and we’re feeling our way through this thing.
Homeschooling is popular where we live. There are co-ops for the kids and support groups for moms. We have a library card designated for homeschoolers that lets us check out more books at a time. Homeschooling is growing in popularity nationwide and there are enough resources, options, and choices to leave you paralyzed instead of inspired. (Or is that just me? I do like to shop at Aldi because all the options at WalMart overwhelm me.)
But even if you send your kids to public or private school I think we all home educate. You are your children’s primary teacher. They see how you do life: how you love God and serve Him, how you treat your spouse and your neighbor, how you live out what you tell them they need to do. You still provide the rides and help with homework and do a large portion of the work in cultivating a love for learning even if your kids are in a traditional school setting. Life skills are learned in life, not in classrooms. That makes you a teacher.
I don’t think there is any one answer about how to school for any family or even any child. You seek God and make a decision and you do that thing for now. And for now, we are homeschooling.
There are many different ways to homeschool. I have friends that use videos. I have friends that unschool. I have friends that move straight through a designated curriculum. I’ve seen homeschooling done well and I’ve seen homeschooling done poorly. It seems to depend more on the parents than on the method of schooling they choose. Pick whatever method of education you choose and then do it as well as you can.
We are currently doing a lot of kindergarten work from My Father’s World with Micah. He also goes to speech therapy at our local elementary school. We do all of this with a preschooler listening in and asking for the scissors and a toddler running around. So we work in short bursts throughout the day. We don’t try to recreate the school environment and we don’t sit in a desk at all.
We have built several routines into our schedule that we try to do most days.
- reading aloud- the boys all love to be read to so we pile on the couch and read at least once a day, two or three times a day during the winter
- Bible time- after breakfast we read a small section, discuss it, sing songs, and memorize verses
- activity times- 2-3 twenty minute sections of time for activities ranging from a worksheet to working on math skills to painting or sorting or reviewing shapes
- free play- as long as weather permits we do most of this outside but I want the boys to be curious and bored and entertain themselves
Homeschooling is a challenge for me; we’re constantly adjusting and aligning what we’re doing with where we want to end up. I’ve heard veteran homeschooling moms say that they constantly tweak what they are doing so I don’t feel too badly about that. Right now I’m dividing our work up into shorter units and planning activities around our curriculum.
Here are some of my favorite homeschool resources:
- Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson
The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook by Raymond Moore (I don’t remember if I agreed with all of it but I loved their study/work/help others division of school. Totally worth the read to me.)
- At Home podcast
For the Children’s Sake by Susan Macaulay
This category on the blog will totally not be a how-to homeschool list of ideas. Next month I’m planning on talking about modeling life-long learning. But do tell me your favorite homeschool blogs to read, podcasts to listen to, books to read, etc!