First, a quick note:
This might be temporarily turning into a homeschool blog. You can laugh, but I’ve been in the process of unofficially “diagnosing”myself with ADHD. I watched some YouTube videos of how adults with ADHD behave. It’s me to a T.
Having said that, one of the characteristics of ADHD is hyper-focus. We can’t focus on most things for more than a minute, but we sometimes hyper-focus on one thing, and that one thing can consume our attention for extended periods of time. My current hyper-focus is homeschooling.
I live, breathe, dream, homeschooling now. I listen to homeschool podcasts, read homeschooling books, talk about homeschooling with my friends… So if I’m going to write on here at all, it’s probably going to be about homeschooling. Now, that’s out of the way, let’s see where this goes.
From the decision to homeschool, to the technicalities of how we do it, we get lots of questions. I’m going to attempt to answer some of the most commonly asked ones.
(Keep in mind, these are our answers, and another homeschooling family might have completely different answers.)
Why? Why homeschool?
Our “why” started out as simple practicality. We live too far from the school that we’d put them in. We can do most of their school for the day, in the time we would spend on the road, and for WAY less money than we would spend on gas in a year.
As we go along on this journey, our “why” develops more layers. We keep seeing reasons why this is a fit for us. We love the opportunity to spend time with our children. Just from choosing to homeschool, we get over 1000 more hours per school year, to enjoy our children.
“ Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Educating our children at home gives us more opportunities to do this ourselves, rather than leaving it to the school. Plus it gives us the gift of watching our children learn. That sparkle of understanding when they grasp a concept… I would be missing out on so much if I sent them away for their learning.
I do want to clarify that we are not against traditional school. Homeschooling has been wonderful for our family, but that doesn’t mean we are looking down our nose at those who find it more practical to send theirs to school. Each family needs to do what is right for them.
How do you keep your children from becoming socially handicapped if they don’t learn how to socialize in school?
This is one of the most often asked questions. I think the answer is found in the last part of the question. Just because a child isn’t learning to socialize in school, doesn’t mean they aren’t learning to socialize.
Every case is different, but we are very social people, and our children have friends, just like we do! Each child is different, and of course they don’t all socialize on the same level, but neither do some public schooled adults I know.
A positive aspect I have enjoyed, is seeing them interact with other children across age and “grade” lines. Age doesn’t even seem to be a factor in their friendships. If you ask our son who his best friend is, he will most likely name one of two boys who are twice his age.
What method/curriculum do you use?
We use the Charlotte Mason method, and Ambleside Online curriculum. I want to write a post explaining the CM method in more detail soon, but in short, it’s a method of learning that celebrates beauty in nature, in literature, (especially the Bible) in art, in music…
It is a way of educating that emphasizes the importance of good habits, and encourages a faith in God and a trust in the Spirit and His power to give increase to the seeds we plant in our children.
One of the cornerstones of CM is narration. Basically you read a passage to the child, and the child is then asked to narrate, or tell back what they just heard, in an orderly way. This solidifies the facts in their little minds. It has been a perfect fit for us so far, and we plan to continue using it in the future.
What do you do with the little ones while the older ones are doing school?
This used to be so stressful for me until I figured out that it’s much easier to just include them. Now, Elizabeth sits on my lap or in her chair, and eats snacks and listens to the stories with the others. I don’t know if this is a factor or not, but she has a vocabulary unlike any of my other children had at 16 months.
Ruth sits at her own little spot and practices writing her name, or looks at picture books while we study, and she participates in narrations and also loves to play flash card games. She’s only three, but I don’t think there’s any harm to be done in including her if she wants to be included. Bonus: her narrations are hilarious.
Do you have school all 5 days, or less?
We have school scheduled on all five days of the week, but sometimes life gets in the way. A field trip, a visit from a friend, a busy day on the farm… so many things can derail a school day. I don’t stress about this, but instead focus on getting everything done inside the week it’s supposed to happen. With young children and a literature based education, it’s very easy to shuffle around, and read a few chapters at bedtime if you haven’t gotten to them earlier.
Are you part of a co-op?
Not really. We are part of a small group of homeschooling families that get together once a month, but I would say it’s a social, rather than an organized educational experience. There’s lots of opportunity for learning, but I don’t think it’s official enough to be called co-op. The kids call it “Poem Day” because they get to learn and recite poems to their friends. Poem Day is without question our favorite day of the month.
I like the idea of co-op, but with our current schedule it sounds overwhelming to me. We already are gone a day a week for music lessons, and another day would be too much I think.
I am going to stop for today, and bring part 2 another day. If my answers have brought up more questions, please ask me in the comments. One goal I have in sharing here is to encourage people who want to homeschool but don’t know if they can handle it. It’s not harder than you make it.
I’d love to be able to de-stigmatize homeschooling. The word doesn’t need to cause battle lines to be drawn. It’s a choice that everyone should be free to make or not make, according to their own circumstances and convictions; and man’s opinion should have absolutely no sway on your decision. You do you.
Also this: Homeschooling doesn’t make children weird. It’s just that weird people choose homeschooling. (Sorry, fellow homeschoolers) 😅 until next time, whatever God has you doing, carry on. ❤️
3 thoughts on “Answering Your Homeschool Questions, Part 1”
I like your comment about socializing across boundaries of age. My husband is from Peru, and, now living in Canada, misses this aspect of his culture; he’s commented often on the North American tendency to put people of the same age – same gender – same work status – same everything – together in groups. I’ve seen the ease with which Peruvian children interact with people of all ages. I love this.
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Yes! This! I don’t think I discovered friendship outside my age group until I was 17 or 18🙈
I appreciate what you wrote here. Carry on. It sounds like you’re taking your responsibility seriously and doing a good job of teaching. From my experience in customer service at Christian Light, both on the phone and at homeschool conventions, I can attest that when unequipped parents homeschool to save money, things go awry quickly. But if they are equipped and have community to be plugged into, it’s so much better. Blessings to you.
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