Written by Caitlin Curley of My Little Poppies
One of the most challenging parts of homeschooling, at least for me, is remembering to keep school and education separate.
I know this, but I also spent many years in school both as a student and an educator.
It can be tough to shake that public school mindset.
When we first started homeschooling, we attempted to recreate a school at home. That didn’t last long.
When things are going well, when I’m trusting my gut and my children, our homeschooling looks nothing like school.
It is only when the doubt creeps in that we struggle and start to second-guess… well… everything.
That’s when the Ghost of Public School Past starts to whisper in my ear:
“Shouldn’t you be…?”
“Don’t you need more…?”
“Is that really the best…?”
“Math! Math! Math!”
The Ghost of Public School Past makes me second-guess what I know to be true. It makes me push and when I push, the kids balk.
It never ends well.
Here’s what I’ve learned to do when the Ghost of Public School Past comes knocking:
- Stop all the things, give myself a little minute, and have a good cry if the situation calls for it;
- Get everyone outside STAT;
- Once everyone has settled down, read some Holt.
Trust me: Holt is magical. Holt is the Ghost of Public School Past’s kryptonite.
So that’s what I do on the hard days…
… but the truth is, there are far more good days than bad.
Most days I simply cannot believe that I get to read fantastic books and play games all day.
(Some kids never grow up!)
And that’s exactly what we do on those glorious good days when the Ghost of Public School Past is nowhere to be found.
Our homeschool routine is built upon carefully selected books and educational games.
Over the past three years, I have witnessed incredible learning unfold with the help of books, play, and the conversations that happen in between.
Our family’s favorite way to play is with board games. Your family may play differently, and that is okay. The most important thing is that you leave space for play, because play matters.
Play is learning.
As an educator, I understand the importance of play. It is through play that children learn to interact with the world around them and with each other.
Play allows children to explore, to test, to dabble, to create, to imagine, to practice, to fail, and to try again. It is an important part of a child’s social-emotional and cognitive development. Play helps the child discover his or her unique interests, likes, and dislikes.
These are discoveries that no one else can make for you.
It is often said that play is the language of childhood, and we all know this to be true. And yet when the Ghost of Public School Past knocks at our door, we start to doubt what we know to be true.
Trust what works. Grant yourself permission to play.
Every single time the Ghost of Public School Past comes knocking at my door, I falter. I question, I second-guess, I tweak, I push.
And every single time it ends badly.
I always go back to what works and that is this: giving ourselves permission to play.
Sure, it may not resemble the school of our past, but it is learning. By giving ourselves permission to do what we know works, we decrease stress levels, increase learning, build relationships, and create memories in the process.
I think we should all give that Ghost of Public School Past some homework or something. Maybe a detention. Something to keep it busy and out of our hair for a while.
I am here to tell you that the Ghost of Public School Past is no fun at all.
I wish I could tell you that the Ghost of Public School Past has made its last visit here, but I know better. At some point, I know it will be back. It will whisper in my ear and start to chip at my resolve. I may buckle a bit, start to question and doubt, but I know I will come back to the truth and that is this:
Does the Ghost of Public School Past haunt you? How do you respond? Share here! Tell us in the comments- which obstacle do you find yourself most often getting hung up on?