I recently answered this question over at The Homeschool Lounge. Thought it would be good to post it here too.
Question: How do you decide what to have your children learn? What does relaxed mean to you? Has the definition changed as your children have grown older? Easier to be relaxed when they are 5 than when they are 15?
Relaxed to me means that we aren’t pushed into a mould, that we aren’t rushed to perform and that we aren’t copying someone else’s model. We may glean from other models but we are free to take on what suits our family.
How do I decide what my children learn?
We have written a scope and sequence that covers their whole life development. At the beginning of the year, or whenever I feel things are lagging, I review these aspects and consider the gaps or opportunities that I can see in each child’s life. I then plan towards finding resources to help in that area.
Just to give you a brief overview of that scope and sequence:
Relationships – God and Man
Intrapersonal – personal skills
Academics – Basic skills
Academics – General Knowledge (History, Science, Geography)
The scope and sequence link gives more details of what gets studied under each category. Many of these topics happen during everyday life. Recognising these has been an aspect of us becoming relaxed homeschoolers.
I probably prefer the term discipleship homeshooler though that is not as widely understood or recognized as Relaxed HS. The definition has changed for me as my desire to disciple rather than educate has become clearer and stronger.
I had a “freak out” moment when my son reached 8. I suddenly realized that this was serious and that I had to buckle down and do this properly. I remember saying, “No more sandpit time for him during school time!” This lasted for about 1 month. Then I set about to discover if we could have a relationship based approach, a living life approach with the older children. We are still conscientious over studies but not at the cost of our family life, or relationships. Is it easier older or younger? I think once you’ve made the switch in your own understanding of what and why of being relaxed/discipleship then it is the same – looks different (15yo Josh no longer plays in the sandpit! LOL) but the famiy dynamics are the same.