Archive for Schooling Methods

Homeschooling – Yes, It Really Is “That Simple”

I just wrote a line that I’m especially pleased with…

Homeschooling is something that occurs naturally in all healthy and loving homes – it is a child’s natural learning state, conducted by a person who understands them better than any hired teacher ever could.

I was writing it to a friend and the words just flowed out, but I recognize the essential truth of it. This past Monday I attended a homeschooling meeting with L.E.A.R.N. (Let Education Always Remain Natural), which is a secular homeschooling group in Kansas City. My daughter will be four years old in October and while it is early still to begin ‘official’ schooling, I think it is the perfect time to begin making connections and finding other homeschooling moms with children her age range.

I homeschooled my older daughter, now 21, through her high school years out of necessity. I wasn’t happy with the school district we were in and she was so unhappy in school. After I pulled her out I gave her a few weeks to decompress and asked her what she wanted to learn. She would go on to study Women’s History, American Politics, and College-level Algebra, among other things. Sometimes she would spend an entire week on history, other times writing essays on what she had learned. No day was the same, no week planned to the nth degree.

And then along came her baby sister and her dad and I decided we would try homeschooling from the start. And so I have been planning on this for years.I went on to write:

The thing about homeschooling to keep in mind is this: You are already homeschooling. You’ve been homeschooling since the day she was born. Every time you count with her, involve her in cooking, cleaning, exercise, pet care, reading, or nature – you are homeschooling…Whenever you answer her questions, teach her something, ask her a math question…that’s homeschooling.

There are dozens of websites, scores of books, and plenty of people who can tell you more about homeschooling. No, it isn’t for everyone, but it is a real and wonderful option and opportunity that could make the difference for your child and instill a love of learning that is lifelong.

Something to think about…


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13…No…14 Books to Read

I woke up this morning, sat up in bed and looked over at the bookshelf. A moment later I was pulling out books. My husband opened one bleary eye, stared at the stack of books that had appeared on the bed, groaned and rolled over, pulling the blankets over his head.

The stack included…

  • Learning All the Time
  • The Educated Child
  • Home Learning Year by Year
  • How Children Fail
  • I Love You Rituals
  • Guerrilla Learning
  • The Unprocessed Child
  • The Unschooling Handbook
  • Homeschool Your Child for Free
  • Last Child in the Woods
  • Under Pressure
  • The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas
  • Real-Life Homeschooling

I left “Hothouse Kids” on the shelf. I may read it later, or just review it, but the title kind of gives it away. And “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” is currently on its way to me in the mail.

And speaking of titles giving things away…can you guess what my focus is on this morning? Yep…homeschooling, learning, and unschooling.

Who knows, maybe I’ll teach a class on homeschooling in the near future.

I’ve collected these books over the years and some of them I have already read. But as I sat on the edge of the bed this morning I realized, “Emily’s nearly four, she is very interested in reading, so it’s time to begin.”

No, I won’t be reading each and every book from cover to cover. But while I’m waiting for “100 Easy Lessons” to arrive, I think it is time for a refresher on the subject of homeschooling. It’s been a solid five years since I have had to plan any lessons or check homework.

The important thing to remember is that homeschooling, or unschooling, can take many different faces and forms. Many folks purchase a homeschooling program or participate in an online learning site.

Others wing it or create their own homeschooling program, cobbling it together with an assortment of different books, online resources, and by the seat of their pants. When I pulled my oldest out of high school, this is exactly what I did. She learned women’s history, studied politics and government, and we used my college Algebra book for math among other learning tools. Danielle wrote reports, watched the Discovery channel and participated in community activities to round out her home education. It worked well for us and I was able to accomplish it while working a full-time job – questions on Algebra or other assignments waited until I was home or we worked on them during the weekend.

Unschooling refers to a range of educational philosophies and practices centered on allowing children to learn through their natural life experiences, including child directed play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities led by the children themselves, facilitated by the adults.”

Unschooling –  – as the definition from Wikipedia suggests, is less structured. In many ways, I believe that our children’s first five years at home are an excellent example of unschooling at its best.

Children naturally want to learn. Keeping that drive to learn alive, whether through traditional schooling, homeschooling or unschooling is key to unlocking their future potential. In other words, it’s less about what WE want as what is good for them. In as much as we can provide the choices of public, private, homeschool or unschool (I do understand how difficult it can be to be a single parent and want to homeschool–I was that single parent) our focus should be on helping foster a love affair with learning.

I believe that without a love for learning, without the thirst for knowledge and the indomitable spirit that seeks to understand the world around them, we are doomed to live half lives.

So foster a love of learning in each child you meet or have in your life.

You don’t have to read fourteen books to do it. You don’t have to read any of them for that matter.

But you do have to care. And in most cases, your own joy and thirst for knowledge may prove the perfect example or role model for a struggling child.

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