The following is a guest post written by Lorilee Lippincott of Loving Simple Living.
Back when I started homeschooling about 3 years ago I had a totally different idea about what it was. Not only did I have a different idea about what homeschool was, I also had a different idea about what my kids needed, about how to teach, … about everything.
It helped that both my kids caught onto ideas fast and could remember an amazing amount of information. I saw it as my job to fill them as full as I could and then send them to Harvard.
I also saw other homeschool families and read about strange concepts like unschooling or child-led education. As much as I liked the people talking about the ideas, I couldn’t help but think – I will never be a lazy parent/teacher like that.
And over the past 3 years so much has changed. I have learned so much. Learned that I know so little. Through it all I have grown with my kids.
I have learned:
- It is really hard to get little kids to sit still
- Kids can’t be forced to learn – at least they learn much slower when they don’t want to
- Kids learn amazing things when they want to
- Sometimes they make the biggest breakthroughs when I am not ‘teaching’ them
- I have no idea what I am doing
Somewhere between battles over worksheets and everyone dreading school I started to change my ideas about schooling. I started to look at my children, to really define my goals as a parent/teacher. And I started to listen to what other, more experienced, homeschoolers had to say.
Now, instead of stuffing them full and sending them to Harvard I see homeschooling much more as molding who my kids already are and encouraging them to dream and learn where they are interested. I am still the mother, and I still structure curriculum to make sure they have the basics they need to know, but much more of our day is spent unstructured and open for them to grow and learn…or just be kids.
Over the past school year I found myself very curious about how this homeschooling thing really worked for families who really stuck to it for the long term. Families with home-businesses, families with way more children than my two, and families with other challenges.
There are great blogs out there talking about ideals and projects but I wanted to know what really went on – day to day. I wanted to know about the good parts and the struggles. I wanted to know how these mothers planned, how they knew they were successful, what they worried about.
If homeschool wasn’t just ‘school at home’ what else could it look like? The beauty is that it can take the shape of what works best for each individual family, but I wanted some real examples.
The result was You Can Do It Too – 25 Homeschool Families Share Their Stories. It is a compilation of these interviews. I created a book from it because I know there are so many more families out there wanting to know the same thing as me.
Putting these interviews together over the summer was such an encouragement. It isn’t that our schooling needs to look the same, or that we need to compare methods and teaching styles. Instead it is about all the possibilities that can work for so many different families.
My homeschooling has looked different each year, and this year it has changed again based on listening to some of these women talk. My kids still don’t like worksheets, but our style and schedule is way more relaxed.
I can’t help but think back to how we started and realize that now I am that ‘lazy parent’ I didn’t understand. We have lots more learning and growing to do, but I am excited to be on this path with my kids.
Has your idea of what homeschooling looks like also changed over time?