The following is a post by contributor Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy.
Last month the kids and I went to our first homeschool group. I was chatting with the other moms, just getting to know everyone a little better, when the conversation turned to foreign languages.
“Which language are you studying?” I asked.
She took a deep breath. “German, French, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, Italian, Spanish.”
Her two girls, ages 10 and 6, were studying seven languages. Seven.
I distinctly remembered the day several years ago, when Will and I debated whether the kids would take German or French. Jack wanted German, Sarah wanted French. Sarah changed her mind, and they’re still learning German.
It had never occurred to me to do two. Or four. Or seven!
One of my favorite things about homeschooling is the freedom and flexibility to do what’s right for my kids’ learning styles, for their interests, for their passions:
• If one math curriculum isn’t working, we can ditch it and try another.
• If my child’s hand is exhausted from tightly gripping her pencil, we can do the work out loud, or on the white board.
• If my child wants to spend all afternoon writing her own newspaper, we can do that.
• If my child is fidgety, she can play with thinking putty during read-aloud time.
• If my single-minded child has a horrible time with transitions, we can do block scheduling.
Shaking assumptions and embracing flexibility
A huge part of our homeschooling journey has been to realize our job as homeschoolers is not to duplicate the “regular” school experience at home. We have the flexibility to do things differently, in order to give our kids a better experience and a customized education.
We’re not tied to any classroom’s “rules,” but it’s been hard for me to shake the assumptions of the school system paradigm. We’ve been homeschooling for nearly four years, but I’m still learning to embrace its inherent flexibility.
I’m not anti-school: there are plenty of things about our homeschool that are pretty much the same as the school we left behind. But I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to do something worthwhile, and fun, and different, just because it never occurs to me we could do it that way.
My kids won’t be studying 7 languages this year. But we did ditch our math curriculum last month. We’re taking a few days off of “regular” school to focus on the Olympics. And we’re thinking about adding French.
Because we homeschool, and we can do that.
Have you struggled with shaking the “regular school” paradigm? How have you embraced the flexibility of homeschooling?