Monday, May 12, 2014

Our Homeschool

People often wonder how homeschoolers educate their children. Do they sit at the kitchen table and scribble away in workbooks for six hours? (Some families do.) Do they enroll in Internet classes? (Some families take one or more classes online.) Do they hire tutors? (If you're rich you could do this!) Do they let their children pursue their own interests without any adult interference? (A surprising number of homeschooling families follow this model of education known as unschooling.) Do they use public school textbooks? (Sometimes!) Do they give their children tests? (Some families do; many do not.) Do they put in six hours in the classroom like public schoolers? (I hope not!)

The cool thing about homeschooling is that you can use what works and throw out what doesn't work. You do not need school board approval when choosing your classroom materials! Kara has purchased seven or more math curriculums and an equal number of English curriculums. She tries them out and sees if they fit Bentley, Jake or Viva. Are they academic enough? Do the children like them? Is the course too dull? Does the course take up too much time--ours or the children's? 

One good reason we homeschool is so that our curious young learners have sufficient time to pursue interests of their own choosing. Public school children have to get up quite early to get to school on time, they are at school for six and half hours, they get a ride home, they do homework, they eat dinner, and they go to bed early so they can get up early to go to school the following day. When do they have free time? When do they play? Chase butterflies? Build forts? Kick balls? Ride bikes? Make cookies? Doodle? Craft? Play ukulele? Go swimming? Read books? Watch TED videos? Hang out with their dad? Play with their younger siblings? Childhood is too short to spend the majority of it pursuing public school education.

So what exactly is it we do in our homeschool in the pursuit of academic learning? 
The children use one or two workbooks--grammar books, for instance:

They use textbooks such as Saxon math:

They do online courses:

Or listen to TED talks for kids (excellent material!):

They have lessons with their mom:

We do weekly science lessons:

And occasional art lessons using a video course:

And they read, read, read:

They also help out by taking turns playing with their younger siblings:

Bentley, Jake, and Viva are well ahead of their public school peers academically. As far as socialization goes (the most asked question of homeschooling families is BUT WHAT ABOUT SOCIALIZATION?), our children are being socialized to live, work and play in multi-aged groups which is how everyone outside of the public schools lives and works. The only place where it is important for a child to be able to get along with twenty-five other six year olds is inside a first grade classroom. Avoid such classrooms and the need to be so socialized is taken away. It really is that simple.

No comments: