I have noticed more and more people are homeschooling in my area. They do it for various reasons such as religious freedom, problems with our public school system, children that have special needs, personal enjoyment of teaching their own kids, and the list goes on.
My children have been homeschooled from day one because we enjoy learning together. Also, my husband works Saturdays and has Sunday/Monday as his weekend, so we can do "school" Tuesday through Saturday and have two days off with him.
I believe in "school choice" and what works for our family won't work for everyone. Conveniently I live in Texas where parents have the freedom to decide how they want their children educated without any interference with local, state, or federal government. Pink Floyd said it best: "We don't need no thought control". ;-)
I have a really good friend who is going to start homeschooling one of her sons next year and I am so excited for them. She asked me about curriculum advice and I had to admit that we don't use just one. We have been very happy with Math Mammoth (love this program!) and Duke is using IEW for some of his spelling/writing, but other than that we loosely follow some Charlotte Mason, Classical, and Unschooling methods. We are eclectic homeschoolers and change it up all of the time, and it has worked well for us.
I honestly believe that as long as you a learn to read, write, and do math (the three R's) you can learn anything you want. Most curriculums copy the public and private school systems which were developed during the industrial age and not the ideal way to prepare for our uncertain technologically-advanced future. The schools aren't broken, just working the way they were intended. Times change and it is hard for the schools to keep up, so I would rather teach my own kids rather than complain about the system.
I read this interesting blog post about Unschooling and found it very inspiring. I want to live on their farm! But I really disagree with the idea that unschooling is "a sort of code for being secular". That makes no sense to me. What better way to appreciate God's work than spending time outdoors in nature and also using your God-given intelligence, imagination, and creatively to explore the world around you. Learning is a gift from God and one that I hope to continue to do as long as I live.
C. S. Lewis wrote:
"I do not perceive any thing with my sense organs alone, but with a great part of my whole human being. Thus, I may say, loosely, that "I hear a thrush singing." But in strict truth all that I ever merely "hear" - all that I ever hear simply by virtue of having ears - is sound. When I "hear a thrush singing," I am hearing not with my ears alone, but with all sorts of other things like mental habits, memory, imagination, feeling and (to the extent at least that the act of attention involved it) will.
I feel that our school system teaches us to hear with our ears, but not with all of our other senses. Homeschooling allows us to experience and learn from life.
So what are our "school days" like? The boys do their three R's and then we read books (science, history, fiction, classics, comics, etc.), explore our neighborhood, visit parks, go camping, visit family members and friends, do science experiments, clean house, argue a bit, shoot rockets, play in the mud, go to the library, get bored, cook, do yard work, bike ride, and play with our pets. We do all of these things during the hours their friends are in school and working on homework.
My kids are never stressed out. They have never felt bullied. If someone is mean to them they don't take it personally and just think the person is rude. They have never been labeled. If they are bored they find something to do. They are learning how to cook, clean, and fix things. They have friends of all ages that homeschool or do private/public school, have different cultures, religions, and different skin colors. They are happy, love to learn, and incredibly creative.
So what does our "school" week look like? These are some of the things we did the last week.
We visited the zoo on Monday. It was really cold and we almost had the entire zoo to ourselves. I have never spent so much time in the warm reptile house! My husband hates snakes so he was less than thrilled. But we learned some biology and zoology.
The boys played games and at the same time learned some history, math, and geography.
Dad brought them to the go-cart place and they practiced driving. Duke drives like a granny...
They organized their artwork. And made a giant mess. And cleaned up their giant mess after I fussed at them.
We walked and played in the greenbelt area behind our house and soaked up some much needed Vitamin D. The kids are little tiny dots in this image.
They played on a rope swing and up in an old treehouse of the neighbors. It was warm enough that day to go shirtless. I kept my shirt on. No need to scare the neighbors. ;-)
The boys worked on landscaping our side yard by digging holes and making everything muddy.
Yep, they love mud.
Some weeks we hang out at home, other weeks we take car trips and explore. Some weeks are full of excitement and learning, other weeks are boring and we are grouchy. But no matter what, we make learning a part of our daily life.
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