Are you homeschooling in a silo? Maybe you’re shouldering the full responsibility of homeschooling your child or maybe your family hasn’t found a homeschool community that works for you.
It’s easy to get stuck in rhythms that aren’t quite right, but it’s difficult to see what needs to change. We can become blinded by our own processes and begin to operate within a silo without realizing it.
We cruise the same online haunts for inspiration, we introduce ideas and lessons with the same techniques over and over, and we forget that our way isn’t the only way.
Making conscious efforts to collaborate with our partners, extended family and our communities can help keep our families happy and healthy and our homeschooling efforts innovative and fresh.
Stepping Out of the Silo
Recent changes within our family caused us to shake things up and change our normal roles and processes. After being a stay-at-home mom for over seven years I took a full-time position and my husband stepped back from his work to care for and homeschool our three children.
As we traded responsibilities something clicked as we began to collaborate to meet our children’s needs.
It had been our intention to homeschool together as a family, but we realized that I had been, quite accidentally, homeschooling in a silo.
Though my husband shared his passions and skills freely with our children, I was the one who took care of the required state reporting, researched and curated info and resources, and guided the day-to-day hands-on learning.
I wasn’t fully happy and something wasn’t quite right, but I didn’t know why.
Looking back it wasn’t easy for my husband to participate because:
- I didn’t include him in my planning.
- I kept all my bookmarks, thoughts and plans on my personal laptop.
- I read books and followed blogs that shaped my ideas and practices without involving him.
I didn’t do this on purpose and generally we have an open and engaging relationship. However, we didn’t set up our processes to make it easy for him to participate and, as a result, he came to view homeschooling as something I did.
Deep down neither of us were happy about it, but we couldn’t quite put our finger on it. At the time we didn’t know what or how to change.
Finding Our Collaborative Sweet Spot
Photo by Walt Ford
As I handed my husband the day-to-day homeschooling responsibilities we learned that he is a born educator. He is passionate, creative and patient; he enjoys making learning fun, engaging and relevant for our sons.
But he found he didn’t enjoy researching, organizing or reporting. Funny, because while I loved these aspects, truth be told, I found myself frustrated and overwhelmed by the day-to-day applications.
So we decided to work together. Having all the planning on the computer didn’t work for my husband so together we organized a simple binder and made sure it fit both our organizational styles.
Currently we plan out the week together. I feed him ideas and resources and he brings those ideas and skill building to fruition. He captures all the amazing things they do together during the day and I write the reports to fulfill our state regulations.
Something “clicked” when we started collaborating. We find we’re a lot happier, there’s less stress and we’ve learned a big lesson. Collaboration is an effective, efficient and healthy way for families and communities to bring their best skills to the table.
The Win-Win Factor of Collaboration
Sometimes it feels easier to just do things ourselves. Involving others takes time and effort. You need an open mind and a willingness to compromise. This can be challenging, but the rewards are well worth it.
Or other times we don’t ask for help because we fear that it means we couldn’t handle it on our own. We’re not supposed to be able to do everything ourselves. When we bring collaborative partners in we enhance our own well-being as well as enrich our children’s homeschool journey.
It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Homeschooling gives us the freedom to create learning environments that fit our child’s individual needs and learning styles.
Sometimes the solution may be working with another parent, an uncle, a tutor or a larger homeschooling collective. My take-away lesson? Actively investigate where we’ve created learning silos in our homeschool practices and embrace collaboration as a solution.
What about you? What homeschooling silos do you find yourself in? What do your collaborative successes look like?