A LIFESTYLE, not a classroom.
We are well into our 1st quarter of school, and personally, I am pleased with our progress thus far!
When I first began homeschooling (8 yrs ago), I very much immitated a classroom setting. Desks, full curriculums of subjects, schedules... and the greatest of intentions. My 1st grader began to read well, my 4th grader devoured math, and overall, the year went well.
The next year was way more lenient as many outside challenges came forth; a l o n g layoff, a loss of our home, not one but two of our boys had their appendix out in the same school year; thus my 'ideal' school day became very minimal.
The following year we tried charter school via public school system, which was ok for that season. My husband was back at work, and I was juggling many mini-jobs to make ends meet. My perfectionist personality appreciated the charter schools laid out plan, yet it was clear by the end of school year that it wasn't a good fit for our boys.
Our 4th/5th year of homeschooling was still chaotic, but we worked together to make it work. A new baby was now in the mix, the boys helped out with my church cleaning job, and endured the sharing of their living space (and mom) with many other little people. I was very good at running a daycare/preschool, and it was an accomplished feeling to know I was making a difference in so many little lives. To embrace, love, guide, and teach other peoples children (during the hours when they couldn't) was a responsibility I did not take lightly. Children are precious no matter whom they belong to.
The 6th year brought about a new journey for us. My husband was offered a great opportunity to help start a new company... a risk that has paid off amazingly. Suddenly, I was faced with the reality of not HAVING to work. God started stirring my heart that it was my own childrens turn to have their mom's full attention. We were now up to 5 lil blessings. My oldest was in his last year of high school (he has survived well the public school system- the credit going to much prayer and good communication). The two boys (now entering 5th and 9th grade) were spending more time hiding out in their own space, while I was spending more time w/ other peoples' children...it was time to let go... time to embrace my own blessings, er, children. We discovered Unit Studies... WOW... a 'learn as a family' style. We learn most subjects together, (yes, even me!) and adapt the assignments to depend on comprehension.
Now into our 8th year of this journey, 6 blessings in tow... life IS education. Everything is a teachable moment whether we would like it to be or not.
*When teen boys (most of them) use foul language while they are playing in a soccer game w/ my son... it is my job to step up and say this behavior is unacceptable... to lay a boundary to sportmanship-like conduct... to not be intimidated by the lack of other adults ignoring, er, not addressing it.
*When Dad faces challenges at work and displays grace through it, they learn about integrity.
*When an older child can guide a younger child into a good choice, they have learned about leadership.
*when we see someone different than ourselves, we take the time to explain the why's & how's, not just shush their curiosity, thus teaching compassion.
We also enjoy...
*French lessons with Aunt Chanelle in the evenings.
*Nature hikes to examine natural habitats on a week end.
*Field trips, movies, and games that support a current lesson.
Yep, Homeschool is a lifestyle... and we are lovin' life!