Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Homeschooling Value

Homeschooling for us means many things. Family time together, an ability to freely explore our world without the confinement of indoors experience, and a highly supportive and tailored approach to each of my children's interest, personality and learning style are among the top of our list.

Family time for us means a quantity of time that allows us to foster deep meaningful relationships. The children understand and know each other. They look out for each other, they like each other and enjoy a collaborative effort in games. They have the time to sink into a particular game. They can be cats for days and never tire of the game, inventing new aspects and expanding the topic. They become a band writing songs and learning music and this leads to developing a program and a performance. We have the ability, the freedom, to work around our adult schedules allowing us to not only see each other every day, but also to interact with each other in a meaningful way. We sit down to dinner, however we are also together for the cooking of the meal, for the gathering of the groceries, for the planning of the weekly meals.

Being able to freely explore our world means that on any particular day we can take our classroom outside. That we can venture to a local natural area and find questions there to expand upon. "What is that species of bird?" is a question that leads us to a month of lessons on birds. We learn species and habitats. We create artwork around these concepts. We have the ability to focus on the one bird species. A birding journals follow suit as does an excitement to find birds in every natural area we visit. Freedom to explore indoors is another component. While not confined indoors to learn, we can choose to or we can visit a different indoor space, like a museum. We have the opportunity to visit when others are not there and thus creating a less frantic, slower, quieter, deeper experience. Teilee has drawn beautiful pictures of dinosaurs by simply sitting in front of a display, uninterrupted for 30 min. I am grateful to have freedom to explore wherever and whenever we desire.

The highly tailored and supportive approach to my children's learning is something I value. This year T is struggling to write, L is craving more letter work. I can simply switch my tactics. This year, T will write small notes, and thank you cards, and programs for her plays, and assist in teaching Landis his letters. Next year we will work on more assignments in writing, when she is ready for it. When T is not confident in a particular subject or learning style, I can address the confidence by creating successes for her. I have the ability to ask, "What would you like to learn about?" and then create our curriculum, our core subjects, around that topic. I can arrange for private lessons, or job shadowing in the children's areas of interest. They are excited about learning, as excited as I am.

I am not always confident about homeschooling until I remember these reasons. Then I know, without any doubt, that this is what is working for us right now. It has helped me to define what we are doing and why we are doing this. The kids are happy, I am happy, we are enjoying our experience.