Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What I've learned this first year of homeschooling

Our first official "year" of homeschooling is fast approaching.  I'm happy to report we have all survived; both C and I are still fairly sane (most of the time) and the kids are thriving and learning.

What have I learn during this year of homeschooling?

1)  No two homeschooling families are alike
We all have different reasons why we chose this path.  There is no "one size fits all"; and that's the best part about it.

2)  Even when the boys are hanging upside down on the couch, they are listening
I used to believe, in order for learning to happen, kids needed to be sitting at a desk, attentively looking at the person teaching the lesson.  A few months into our journey, I discovered this would never be the case at our house.  Making them sit at the table for every single lesson was torture for them.  Eventually we discovered they are actually listening when they are hanging upside, or playing with their cars on the floor.  Their brains are like sponges and they are absorbing everything.  And yes, I do ask questions just to make sure their brains haven't wander off into the land of gigantic spiders and Captain America. 

3) My house will never be clean again
At least not while all three of the kids are still under my roof.  There will always be books out of place, pencils will mysteriously disappear (only to be found in the craziest of places); and  the laundry will multiply in a matter of seconds.

4) Learning just happens
While at the playground, one of the boys asked me if one of the ladders was shaped like the DNA strand.  Did I mention this is the kid who likes to stand on his head?  I was quite proud that my 7 year old announced to all the other parents he knew what DNA was and what it looked like.   

5) Kids want to learn
We have been talking about the Greeks and the Romans in our history lessons.  They were so eager to hear more about the Spartans, and the Gladiators.  Even more so when I found a documentary about ancient Rome.  Who knew kids would watch educational television without being forced?

6) Everyone has an opinion.  Pay no attention
Everyone has an opinion about homeschooling; specially those closest to you.  Listen to no one.  You are doing what's best for you and your family.  You have to please no one.  Yes, their comments (no matter how well intended) will sting but keep reminding yourself you are responsible for your kids; and you know what's best for them.  

7) There is no need to socialize the kids
This was the #1 question we received: what about socialization.  Unless you are a hermit, you will encounter more people than just those under your roof.  My kids make friends at the playground, at church, at the grocery store; anywhere they encounter another human.  Their social calendar is busier than mine.

8) No curriculum will ever completely satisfy me
Don't get me wrong, there are some great resources out there.  But even the best ones are going to require some adaptation.  My kids are unique (as are everyone else's) so I may have to get creative in order to get the information to them in a manner they can process it and absorb it.

9)  There are days you will wonder if your kids would be better served at school
Those days will come and will take you by surprise.  I have doubted my decision, stayed up at night feeling like the worst mother in the world.  But after the clouds have passed, the sky is always brighter.  The kids will sit on the couch happily reading an encyclopedia; or they will be outside looking for bugs they can later match with the pictures in their bug book, or my daughter will be in the kitchen happily cooking.  Then I realize they are fine; and this is where we need to be.  Right in this moment.  

10) My kids are amazing human beings
I watched my kids smile at the homeless man we encountered last weekend.  They were worried he had no food; and that no one was stopping.  We gave him some money; and they asked that we put together more "care bags" so next time we could give more.  Their hearts are big and filled with love and compassion for other humans, regardless of their stage in life.  I have been able to see their caring hearts at work more often now that our life has slowed down some and we can spend more time doing the things that count.  

Linked to weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers

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