It is very intimidating to write about your homeschooling life – what you do, the subjects you teach, the schedule you keep, how your kids are doing. There are two reasons for this:
- There is lots of competition not only just in mommy rivalry, think ‘my kid is better/smarter/cuter/faster/etc. then your kid’ but also in all the other mommy homeschool blogs/yahoo groups/Facebook pages; and
- There is judgment everywhere…especially when you are a homeschooler. People just look at your children differently, like they either are going to have serious problems or know everything! But you know what…here goes.
As I may (or may not have written about before,) our homeschool life changed dramatically this year. For the last 4 years it’s just been me and Hannah and Cade. They’ve never been to public school and since we started from the beginning there no per-conceived notions so we’ve just kind of flowed along, bouncing from year to year, subject to subject. They’ve done quite well on their ‘proof of progress’ tests and while each of them definitely have some strengths and some weaknesses, I have been wholly content that this is working for us.
Now, start this year…not only are Hannah and Cade here, but one of the twins has joined us at home (the Why? on that is a whole different story) and a neighbor’s daughter has also joined us, both coming out of years of public school routines, expectations, learning ‘styles.’ We started back to school the same time the public schools did since my other twin is still going to public school. And we were off…
It’s been 6 weeks now. And while it’s been fun and I’m confident that this is the right decision for each of them…it’s not been without it’s challenges. My younger two have picked up my older two’s habits of waiting to be spoon fed what they are to do, when they are to do it and how to do it and what they are supposed to learn from it. That is EXHAUSTING to a teacher, I don’t know how public school teacher’s do it!?! And my older two have picked up on the slower paced work flow and gotten a bit lazy, even failing to complete assignments. So in both cases we had some problems.
I’ve tried all sorts of things, changing the schedules, reward systems, being a nagging monster…nothing sparked. Nothing I did got them motivated and passionate about what they were doing. We were falling down a very slippery slope of just mimicking public school here at home…DEFINITELY not what I wanted or what they NEEDED. And then I got inspired…and I know it’s new and borders closer to unschooling then homeschooling (I’ve always considered my style right in the middle of the two.)
But we are slowly backing away from the nailed down, scheduled craziness, and seeing that spark of interest, that light of passion that when full blown just drives them to learn, to research, to expand their horizons…ART. So I am now focusing on learning through art…seriously learning through art, letting it be the stigma for the learning, the catalyst for the research and the prompt for expression in acceptable boundaries.
And the results…outstanding! Can’t wait to tell you more, but for now, take a look at my crew when they had to present their first pieces focusing on communication methods: THINK – Thoughtful, Honest, Intelligent, Necessary and Kind.