The Homeschool Family

Our “Curriculum”

Please forgive me for the lack of update, life has been busy. The kids and I spent the end of October in Southern New York. When we came home, that first week was spent getting back into routine. Thankfully, over the weekend I had a few moments to myself to sit down and come up with our homeschooling schedule for the month.

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Learning Through Play

There is really no better way for a child to learn at a young age then through the art of playing. Try as you might to instruct an almost three year old child to learn their left from their right and you are bound to pull a few hairs from your head. Now slightly alter your approach and there will be laughter replacing those tears of frustration.

My first attempt at teaching Myra her left from her right was a huge flop. Just when I thought she was finally understanding, I would ask her to show me her left hand and she’d hold up her right. I’m not quite sure why my shoulders sank so low or the reasons behind me feeling like I had just wasted my time. After all, she is still under the age of three and comprehending the differences between one side of the body from the other is not that huge of an ordeal. Is it?

Before I lost my temper over something completely and utterly ridiculous, I thought, why not turn this into a game. Meanwhile, teaching the Reidster his colours. Two birds with one stone! What a clever idea. And thus, I brought out an ancient of days game. One that I had not played since a young child myself:

Twister.

Right hand yellow.

Reid finding the yellow.

Left foot yellow.

Hmm.. lots of yellow.

The spinner gets stuck on occasion and likes to stop in the same spots. Which is great for little man, he’s beginning to recognize yellow.

So now they are having lots of fun, laughing, falling all over each other and being silly while learning their left from their right as well as colours. I’m happy, their happy, it’s a good arrangement.

I was being quite childish in my reaction to Myra confusing her right with her left. Sometimes I feel as if we spend a significant amount of time “studying” something and it seems to be going well - then the next day the knowledge vanishes and I wonder can I really do this? Thinking long term, there are going to be subjects that will drain them, push them, push me, but through it all I must remember to keep my temper. Life is not a competition. Who says that a three year old should be able to distinguish her left from right? Or that a five year old should be reading? A fifteen year old should be a wiz at calculus and by the age of 21 everyone should have the capability of winning a noble peace prize.

One step at a time. That is, after all, how little man learned to walk only a few short months ago. Why the need to push them? I need to have more confidence in myself, and believe that I have what it takes to teach my own children. As their mother I know them better than anyone else, so in theory I should be the best teacher for them, no?

Do you ever revert to "non traditional" methods to help your children learn new material? Is there ever a time when you feel as if others are comparing your children to theirs? Do you feel that others hold you to a higher standard? Or that you are constantly being watched?

First Homeschooling Adventures

Please forgive the gap between posts. We have been busy getting out into the sun, going for walks to the library, reading, spending time on farms and of course - learning. I love the thought of getting to watch my children learn, encouraging them, feeding their passions. Over the course of the last few weeks that is just what we have been doing.

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Homeschooling in a Time of Educational Famine

My house has become consumed with books about homeschooling, the problems with the public education system, ways that children learn naturally, nature deficit disorder… if it has to do with children and education, the book is probably stacked *somewhere* in my house. They have taken over my living room, the bedroom, my kitchen table, and if I were a bathroom reader, a book or two would probably be there. Unfortunately, I never have privacy when going to the bathroom, so reading in there seems like a joke.

In order to read as many books as a mother of two children under the age of three can, I’ve been attempting to unplug a bit. My goal is to get extremely organized so that our house runs almost like clock work, we know what to expect, the days go rather smoothly and if something is thrown our way, we can handle it without a major break down. Easier said than done.

And yet I realize that if I do not prioritize my children, nobody else is going to. The more I read about the beginnings of public education, why and how it got started, where we have shifted over time, where we are currently at and where we are going. I’m scared. Somewhere along the line we have shifted our priorities and our children are suffering. I believe we are in an educational famine, children are not absorbing knowledge at their full capacity. Okay, I should not generalize. There are children who are growing, learning, discovering their talents and creativity and using these to their fullest capacity. But it is challenging to find such children within our public education system. This is not an attack on any individual in particular or teachers, but the system itself. It’s meant to act as an assembly line, not as a way to nurture the individual child.

Needless to say, my approaches are not perfect and I would be lying if I said I was not a little overwhelmed with all the various curriculum approaches. Every single day I fall short of all the expectations that I had. But when the next day comes about, I watch my children and realize just how much they are soaking in and realize that this is what it is all about.

When I first decided that I was going to hop on the homeschooling band wagon, I watched Sir Ken Robinson over and over again. He is to an educational revolution as Jamie Oliver is to a Food Revolution. I thought that I would end my rambles with his video. Inspirational. There are more, I would strongly suggest viewing them as well.

My prayer for my children is that they will be able to learn in a comfortable setting, where they can discover their passions and uncover a deep love and desire for God.

Do you ever struggle with feeling “different” because you homeschool? How do you respond to people that ask you what is so wrong with putting your children in the public educational system?

“Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his 1937 Phi Beta Kappa address, The American Scholar, said the ideal student should concentrate on three things: nature, to learn of God’s present creation; books to understand the past and human history; and activity.”

—   Laura Brodie from Love in a time of Homeschooliong

Rain Rain Go Away

We had quite a few rainy days this week. Our typical Wednesday outside was rained out and then we had more rain on Friday. After awhile, we were beginning to feel a little cooped up. Myra decided that we should make some muffins and while we waited for them to bake, I took out a matching game for us to play.

Myra received these as a gift for her first birthday and she has really mastered them now. I try to mix them up and make it a bit more difficult but it’s twenty minutes of fun and learning simultaneously!

What do you do on rainy days? How do you handle feeling trapped inside?