What is your why for homeschooling?
I never once thought about homeschooling. If you've read my other posts, you know I just sort of fell into it. If this is your first time reading, then the short of it is I started working with my daughter when she turned 3. When it came time for kindergarten my husband and I saw how she was doing and decided we were going to homeschool. Every year since then we've had complete peace about this decision.
As a former classroom teacher, I had a hard time transitioning to the homeschool world. The overall goal was the same, teach my child, however I had to change how I went about teaching my daughter. I had to learn to view homeschooling as different than what is done in the traditional classroom. I had to change my mindset.
Our first year I tried to cover reading, writing, math, science, art, music and social studies everyday with a 5 year old. She was tired, I was tired and stressed and just not doing a good job at anything. By January I realized that this wasn't working but quitting wasn't an option. I made some adjustments and have made several more since then.
Our homeschool day has transformed since that first year in several areas.
I was used to the traditional classroom schedule. I tried to mimic it at home and have instruction time from 8-2:30. We never started on time but were always finished by noon. Although this was a nice change, I tried to add more things to make up for the time difference.
After realizing the difference in time was due to the lack of transitions and lack of behavior issues, I decided to relax and have fun.
Now in our homeschool day we have a defined time frame for book work but learning doesn't have a time frame. Learning starts as soon as the kids are awake. They have responsibilities around the house. They also interact with each other and spend time building relationships with friends. These are life skills that are learned outside of book work time frame.
Mindset Change: The homeschooling day is more than what happens when the books are open.
My daughter often asked me at what age we were going to begin homeschooling the baby. I explained that homeschooling is just learning at home and that learning begins at birth.
Most recently Sara has started to sing her ABCs and counting and saying shapes and colors. These are all things that I have not taught her through direct instruction, they are just songs we sing, games we plan or conversations we have. She has picked up these things through incidental learning.
By definition learning is not restricted to a certain age. We all are learning something new everyday, whether we are 2 or 82. The goal is to be life long learners.
Mindset change: Age does not define what you should learn.
We started preschool when Sofia was 3. She grasped the concepts easily and didn't struggle at all with learning. Because of this we chose to go straight into kindergarten. She did great and was able to master the concepts. Around second grade I saw that she wasn't progressing in reading like she was in math. I decided to repeat second grade reading but let her move on in math to the third grade.
Our homeschool classroom doesn't follow a traditional grade level. She is currently doing sixth grade math but in fifth grade for her age.
Mindset Change: Grade levels in the homeschool world can be fluid and one size does not fit all.
When we first started I spent way too much money on curriculum. I bought stuff for every subject and felt that I needed to cover it all.
As time progressed I started using the curriculum as a guide. I looked at it to see what needed to be done and then either used their idea or came up with my own.
Now we only use a writing and math curriculum. They are very guided and help me to make sure I am teaching the correct information.
I combine reading and history. She's moved from learning to read to reading to learn.
Science is usually some fun experiment where we review the scientific method. It may also be a Magic School Bus video. It just depends on the week.
Mindset Change: Curriculum is just a tool that is used in the homeschool room. It doesn't drive my instruction, my daughter's needs drive my instruction.
In our house we have a room designated as the "School Room". We started out at with her at a desk to do her work. However she is a wiggle worm and can't sit still. So we started doing instruction time on the floor. This was fine until she started rolling around. This was truly a test of my patience. This was usually my sign that she needed to get her wiggles out by doing some exercise.
Now we sit at a table to do math and writing and everything else can take place where ever. Her favorite place to read is laying on the floor under the coffee table.
Mindset Change: Learning can be done anywhere, not just at a desk in a "schoolroom".
Homeschooling is often viewed as doing school at home. It is so much more than that. It is the opportunity to be the biggest influence in your child's life. It's the opportunity to instruct your child in every area of their life. It's the opportunity to see them grow and not miss out on 7 hours of their life a day. It's an opportunity to have important conversations in the moment not later when the window has already passed.
Homeschooling is an avenue that God will use to draw you closer to him. He will show you your rough corners and ask you to depend on him to help you soften those rough corners.
The most common mindset about homeschooling is that it isn't easy. The people that think that are right, but God gives us the strength to do it.
Always remember when you are weak he is strong.
I'm praying for you!