So, how do you homeschool?

Written by contributor Amida of Journey into Unschooling.

“You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.”

~Galileo Galilei

When people first find out that I homeschool my children, their first response is inevitably, “Wow — That’s great!” followed closely by, “How do you do it?”

They wonder if there is a set schedule with a set curriculum. To them, “homeschool” translates to “school at home”. They comment on how hard it must be to keep four kids under control or even hint at my brilliance for being able to “teach” them everything they need to know.

Usually, I just shrug it off and say it’s not really anything extraordinary. It’s all we know and very much just a part of our lives. If anything,  I find the act of getting kids to and from school and extracurricular activities, in addition to making sure they complete all their homework everyday to be an amazing feat all its own.
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Moms Just Wanna Have Fun

Written by contributor Amida of Journey into Unschooling.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

Some days, we don’t do any school-related work at all.

These aren’t planned in advanced and they aren’t penciled in on the calendar. These days are brought on by my own inspirations and happen as spontaneous as those thunderstorms in the middle of summer. I can feel it creeping up on me, just not sure when it will hit.

Maybe I’ve been leafing through some really cool craft books, or surfing a little too late into the night, and something pops out at me that I just have to make. Then out comes the sewing machine, cutting board, and the kitchen table becomes sewing central.
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Interest-Driven Curricula and an Open Mind (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by contributor Hillary Boucher of Infinitely Learning

Children’s ages: 6, 3, and 10 months
Educational Philosophy Influences: Unschooling, Enki, Eclectic

Our children are quite young and so far interest-driven learning has been all we’ve needed. Philosophically, we are what is described as “unschooling.”

I am not particularly attached to unschooling as a rule-set as much as I am dedicated to individualized, case-by-case, interest-driven learning.

If there is anything I’ve learned in life and parenting it’s to keep an open mind and heart. You never know what might be around corner, how life will unfold or how someone’s needs may change.

I’m open to using any tool that helps facilitate growth and learning and I acknowledge that at some point it could include a specific curriculum.
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Relaxed Elementary Education (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY

Ages of my children: 12, 10, and 8

Educational Philosophies I pull from: Leadership Education, Literature-Based, Charlotte Mason, Unschooling

When Jamie first proposed this series I thought, “That will be easy to write. We don’t use much.”

Then I saw all the questions from the introductory post and realized I might actually have something useful to say.

A few of your comments jumped out at me:

  • The repeated request to know what has worked and what hasn’t, and why.
  • How to “make your own” curriculum.
  • How to use readily available resources (like the library) and literature as materials for learning.

I can answer these because of our own eclectic and interest-led elementary homeschooling experience.
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Resources for Early Learning (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

Ages of my children: 7.5, 6.5, and 6
Educational Philosophies I Pull From: Waldorf, Leadership Education, Unschooling

When I had two children, both still toddlers, I planned out their entire education for the next 15 years. I spent hours drawing charts, researching, thinking about socialization, and narrowing down curriculum options.

We haven’t followed any of it.

Since then I’ve found a better strategy is to plan for tomorrow, not next week or next year. I don’t mean you should never look ahead; I just mean that when stress or overwhelm kick in, that’s your clue to stop.

Today I want to share not only the resources we’ll be using in the upcoming year, but also what we’ve used in the past. Hopefully this will help those of you with younger children as well.
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