Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Q & A - Homeschool

1.  What made you decide to homeschool?

We decided to homeschool for many reasons.  We were unhappy with our school system and our daughters' experience in school.  We didn't like the emphasis on the standardized test.  We dealt with a bully and didn't agree with the way the school handled things.

2.  Are you a Christian homeschool family?

We did not decide to homeschool because of our spiritual beliefs, but I will say that since making the decision, we appreciate that we get to impart certain values to our girls.

3.  What is your homeschool style/philosophy?

In recent months, we have come up with a new term for our style: hybrid.  I was originally drawn to unschooling, but I also want to explore history and science with girls.  I know they would never willingly do math, so we have curriculum for that.  My girls are natural writers and write frequently on their own.  My oldest started a book club with her friends, where they read and discuss classical literature once a month.  Our "sitting down and reading together, notebooking and narration" time takes three hours or less a day and the girls are free to explore their own unschooling interests the rest of the time...they sew, make stop motion videos, read, write stories and plays, act out plays with friends, create jewelry etc.  I say we are hybrid because we do some curriculum, but also make sure to leave a LOT of time for exploration.

My original answer: We are eclectic.  From the very beginning, there were things I liked about various styles of homeschooling.  We love unit studies and lapbooks and notebooks.  We love living books.  I like Susan Wise Bauer's approach to history and writing.  My girls are visual learners and we like math manipulatives.  I love science experiments.

I am also interested in allowing for a lot of time for my girls to explore on their own and learn about what they are interested in.  We have sort of a hybrid model of what I want them to learn and what they want to learn.

4.  Are you a homeschool blogger?

I consider myself a mom/family blogger that homeschools.  The thing I always loved about blogging was that it was like that invitation in to that house with the light on in the windows, where you wondered what was going's that view into someone else's life...they show you the inside of their kitchen cabinets or bedroom closet in an organization post and admit their failings and shortcomings.  I would rather my blog feel like sitting down over a cup of tea with a friend than write about lesson plans and science experiments ALL the time.

5.  What advice would you give a new homeschooler?

If you don't know any homeschoolers in your area, join a local Yahoo group and go on the field trips and meet people.  Read blogs, do your research on how you want to approach things.  Do your own thing.  Enjoy your family.  Learn about your kids.  Read blogs for inspiration and ideas.  Don't let other blogs make you feel you are not doing something right or as well as someone else or that you are not doing enough.  Take time to de-school if your kids were in school - this is as important for you as it is for your kids.  If you decide to use curriculum, add things slowly...decide on one subject and see how it goes, maybe you want to change your approach with another subject, try lapbooks or unit studies.  Go slowly.  Don't ever feel that you don't have enough is more important that your children understand something than that you move fast.