Saturday, August 11, 2007

Homeschooling..A journey worth taking

My friend Cheryl has posted her thoughts on homeschooling. She is very good at writing out eloquently coherent thoughts that make me ponder. Her gift is definitely not mine, but I have been doing a lot of thinking and the events of yesterday, really put into perspective for me why I love homeschooling so much. Following, I attempt to take those thoughts running through my brain, and put them into words for you to, hopefully, follow and comprehend.

As I posted earlier in the week, MLLA began again this past Tuesday. We've been doing half days with afternoons open allowing us to finish up projects, subjects, housework, or play. Overall it has been a very successful week. But it was yesterday's happenings that made me realize why I like homeschooling and say it is the most family friendly.

We began our day as normal. The older two arise at 7am and then have their Latin lesson with Dad at 7:30am. I awake the three younger ones at 7:30am, help get them ready (if needed) and we all sit down to breakfast together at 8am. After breakfast and morning chores, the two older girls begin their Math lesson at 9am while I teach the next two their phonograms. We were nearing the end of the phonograms for the day and I was going to start them in their Math, but the door bell rang. In walked a young boy the same age as my Nathan.

His dad and grandpa were mowing the church and parsonage lawn and he came over to play. I wasn't overly happy, I wanted to get the rest of the morning school work done because today we have company coming for the week. But we stopped and I let the three young ones go play. This boy stayed through lunch and the kids had a great time playing. Hannah and Ellie used the free time to read and finish Math work.

In the afternoon, neighborhood kids came over to play. I set Hannah and Ellie to work finishing up some history projects (we are using Time Travelers New World Explorers by Amy Pak at the moment) that I'm having them do but not the little ones. The day's big project was to make a cardboard ship, but I wanted David to help with that. We had to wait, though as he was working and also he had a wedding rehearsal that evening.

Late afternoon, I realized I needed some eggs for our supper of bacon and waffles, so Hannah, Ellie, and I went to a church member's home to get some. We stayed and visited for about an hour. She showed the girls her chickens, told us about the weasel that killed two in the last couple of days, answered their questions and showed them the nests in which were found two more eggs. She asked if they were anxious about the start of school, and they replied, "it already has." She then remembered that oh yeah you homeschool, school never stops and proceeded to ask how they like it, how I like it, and how long we might continue.

After supper, David and Hannah went to the wedding rehearsal. Hannah had to go because the organist couldn't be there do to a prior commitment. So she, the organist, recorded the songs on the organ and showed Hannah how to start and stop so the wedding party would be able to practice a little.

While they were there, the rest of us began in earnest house cleaning, preparing for my mom's, my sister's and brother-in-law's, and my nephew's arrival today for a week's vacation. We did a quick clean-up, dusting, and vacuuming finishing shortly before David and Hannah's arrival back home.

David and the kids then went outside (it was now about 7:30-8:00pm) to start building the cardboard ship. I stayed in and finished the dishes and some vacuuming, then went outside. David did a fantastic job (the kids helped and then played, helped and then played) and now the kids will do some finishing work of painting, etc. Once done, I'll post a picture.

We all came in about 9pm and while David helped me prepare the chicken for tonight's meal, the kids took turns in the shower, then off to bed.

If you're still reading, and wonder what I meant that this journey of homeschooling is family-friendly, and these events showed me that, please keep reading, I have a tendency to ramble with hopefully something worthwhile spilling out every now and then.

Home schooling is Family Friendly because:
  • School doesn't have to take place between 8-3 during the day. I can start or stop as the day presents itself and use all hours of the waking day to get it done.
  • Interruptions are more real-life situations that don't affect (as much) our school work. From being sick, to having company, we use these to teach the kids about house work, daily hygiene, etc. They are learning "life-skills" as it comes about in life, not a forced situation in a building and reading from a book.
  • We don't have to start and finish school or school books between September and May. We can start and stop as it is best for our family. Therefore, we've started at all sorts of times of the year and ended at all sorts of times. Plus, for example, we generally continue with the Math book or History, or Science books until we've completed the whole book, and then move on. We can stop and review as the child needs it, or skip ahead if they get it quicker. And we can take advantage of vacationing at times less busy and cheaper.
  • We don't have to do school Monday through Friday. We can take off on the days David has off, so our week tends to be Tuesday through Saturday. This allows the kids to enjoy Dad and Dad to enjoy the kids. Over the years this has lead to our life revolving around trying to get our work done in order to have Mondays completely free of commitments.
  • We can take advantage of interests when the child has them. So for example, when they capture a frog and want to build it a house like they have read, we stop and find the book and figure something out.
  • As their parent and teacher, I know what the standardized tests will tell me even before I get the results. And when the results come, I actually understand what that means, why the child is weak in one area and stronger in another. AND I can actually use that to help them IMPROVE, not just be a statistic on a page.
  • Best of all, my homeschool doesn't look like anyone other's. The only resemblance is the fact that all are based on family. Its needs, its likes, its dislikes, its determination of what is important, and that can change ebbing and flowing with the family's progression in life.
Homeschooling is a wonderful journey that I feel privileged to have embarked upon. The hills and valleys are sometimes challenging, but overall as I look at our journey, I'm glad to have started and I look forward to continuing down the path.


Sniz said...

This is a very encouraging post. This is my fifth year of homeschooling, but my kids are older than yours (the oldest is 13). But reading the thoughts of other homeschooling moms is so uplifting because many of your reasons are the same as mine!

Cheryl said...

My goodness, what kind words. Thank you so much! One of these days I will get around to writing about "Why We Have Continued Homeschooling" in which I will much of what you have talked about here. I love that in homeschooling real life and family always come first.