Tuesday, October 19, 2010


My friend Jessica at Teachable Moments has been writing about how homeschooling has changed her life and her family and how her teaching style is evolving.  I am fascinated at how much we have in common and once again so thankful that our paths have crossed.  Her posts are really making me think.

This is our first year of homeschooling.  We have been homeschooling for about 6 weeks now, but already our family is changing.

A was a reluctant reader when she was in school.  She struggled with reading.  Now, reading is relaxed.  She came to visit me at work the other day and said, "Now that I have a lot more time to read, I can read bigger books."  She likes to read in bed and I often find her there throughout the day.  I am forever telling her to turn off her light at night (but in all honesty, I love seeing her read so much that I really don't push too hard---you have to pick your battles and this is definitely not a battle!)

P always hated math.  It was her worst subject.  Since she started Teaching Textbooks, she actually asks on the weekends if she can do math!  During the week she asks if she can do a second lesson!

Both of my girls asked both this weekend and last weekend if we could work on our history unit and our lapbooks!  They happily looked things up on the computer about our state.  They brought the books about our state to bed with them and kept coming in my room on Sunday night to tell me things that they read!

Learning has become fun for them.  Learning has become not difficult or stressful or drudgery, but something that they enjoy, something they like and want to do!  I find that since they have less work to do, they spend more time on it.  They don't mind grabbing the dictionary (A even used the Latin dictionary this week for her Latin homework!).   They don't feel overwhelmed by the quantity of work, so they are willing to spend the time to do their best and make their work neat.

Learning, I have always believed, is a natural part of life.  When I saw my girls stressed and anxious and upset about it, it was a reason for alarm.  I saw their creativity suppressed.  It breaks my heart that teachers' and students' creativity is quelled in our current education climate and we didn't want that for our kids, which is why we chose to homeschool.
P practices recorder. 
There are definitely struggles.  I struggle to get everything done (thankfully, this weekend when I was in reunion mode, my wonderful husband not only did a science experiment, but did the laundry, made an awesome dinner, made oatmeal cookies and changed the sheets on the beds!).  I work 8-14 hours a week, so there is a struggle to fit in everything: art classes, co-op, homeschool lessons, choir, playdates, field trips....

Myy whole family is less stressed.  We don't fight over homework.  I don't get my girls after they have spent 6.5 hours in a classroom and now have 3 hours of homework and are cranky and tired, I get them all day.  My girls are no longer cranky and tired.  They go to sleep when they are tired.  We are not dealing with the attitudes that we were dealing with.  We have more time to cuddle.  We are growing closer.  We don't have to worry about weekend plans being undermined by a school project that was assigned at the last minute.  My girls can have sleepovers during the week!  We can go to my parents' house for dinner any night of the week.  We can do school on weekdays and weekends if we want!  We can do field trips in the middle of the lesson if we want...we don't have to wait until June!  If something is not working, we can find a better fit.  There is no pressure to learn, learning just happens.... My girls are making connections between things (Orville Wright was born the same year as Laura Ingalls Wilder!  How come they didn't live on the prairie?  The Wright brothers flew the first airplane the same year Naunie (my grandmother) was born!)

Now we are not on anyone else's schedule of learning but our own.  I know we will take off for the girls' birthdays and I know we won't spend Thanksgiving weekend doing a crazy project that was assigned the Tuesday before and due the Monday after "because you have 4 days off..."  Family time is a priority.

These last 6 weeks have been the best 6 weeks my family has had in 4 years!