school days

Although homeschooling with the children takes a good portion of my time, it hasn't been a topic I write about very much. I could analyze that, but I think it's mostly because I want to keep that portion of my life more private than not. Homeschooling is a hot button topic. I've found there are main groups of responses on the topic: people who are very supportive (even if it's not their family's choice of learning), people who act offended and need to justify their choice of learning on hearing we homeschool, and people who simply ignore that portion of my life and don't ask me about it.

I'll be honest and say I don't care how other people educate themselves or their children. I actually love talking about learning, but discussing the pro's and con's of educational choices isn't how I relate to other people. I've been around long enough to have friends in many different camps (educationally, politically, socially, economically) and I don't base friendship on whether you homeschool or not! To be totally forthcoming, some homeschoolers don't know how to relate to us because we're not part of an learning coop or structured group, so even as a homeschool mom I can feel very different from my supposed "own kind!"

I am, however, proud that we homeschool and that the children thrive in this environment. A year ago we quite significantly pared down our out-of-home activities and we've continued with that routine. It's not because there aren't out-of-the-home interests, there are, but I don't think it's a bad thing to be choosy about subjecting yourself, child, family to someone else's schedule. 

I really like thinking back to when I first began working with Ella when she was a toddler and seeing that the way of learning is the same today, although the challenge of subject matter has increased. There is absolutely no reason for a child (or adult!) to despise learning if the subject matter is interesting and the teacher is guiding in a gentle, thoughtful manner. I've always prioritized having a free schedule so there is a flexibility not only to learning but to healthy living (eating, sleeping/resting, getting fresh air) and maintaining our family relationships. This has not changed over the years. Healthy living and relationships provide the secure foundation for minds to learn.

This year we continue with Saxon Math and Daily Grams for both children. We have added typing lessons, U.S. Presidential studies (using library books and incorporating writing and drawing) and continue piano practice and reading time (recently we finished Trading Jeff by Jim Kjelgaard and are currently reading Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome).

The children are diligent with their time and we are spending more of the day indoors now so  I knew another aspect of learning needed to be added. I decided to ask them of a specific interest and they gave me wonderful ideas! Ella has a block of time in the afternoon to read and write essays on world religions (using World Religions in a Nutshell by Ray Comfort) or continue writing her fiction fantasy story while Roone studies astronomy (using Apologia's Exploring Creation with Astronomy) or works on Lego projects (those Lego projects are not for the faint of heart, non-builders like me!). 

The children are to the age where they question our decisions and we can talk openly about our educational choices for them. It's not about disliking any other form of education. We have no need to talk negatively about public, private or even other homeschooling choices and we don't! They are all choices available and just the fact that we have choices is a wonderful thing. This homeschooling path is simply what we have chosen for them and it works! When the children were first born and entered the toddler years there just seemed to be so many mysteries about their needs and personalities and even so many choices about what to do for and with them. So to find a system (whether in regards to education or otherwise) that works is a huge gift itself. I know parents struggling to find how their children will thrive in a given environment. It's no small feat to know your children and to give them what they need. It takes copious amounts of time and observation. It still does, even with both children in double digits.

It seems I became long-winded there. I probably won't write on homeschooling for another six months so this covers me, I guess. I will add that some like to glorify the sacrifices made to be a stay at home mother/work from home mother/homeschooling mom. I'm not into glorifying my life status; truly you can find ways to promote or demote any job/life choice. Some days I'm just surprised (in a good way) to find that I am here doing this! The surprised feeling is because twenty years ago I didn't envision this to be how my days would be filled, but this time with my children in my home is WORTHY work and a PRIVILEGE. I trust I never lose that perspective on these sweet days.