This question was posted at The Homeschool Lounge, an online community I visit sometimes and I thought I’d share my answer with you as well:
Question: Would you share something that revolutionized the way you homeschool? Maybe something you read, something someone said, something going on in your own heart, etc….
I’m mostly wondering about people who had some experience under their belt and something changed the course of what they were doing!
My Answer: I don’t remember an ‘a- ah’ moment but I have had many experiences that shaped me – my homeschool journey has been a gradual growth thing as I deal with each situation that comes my way.
I think the things that have defined our homeschool have been:
- Our family dynamics and lifestyle – where we live, my husband’s work, our involvement in the community.
- My children – each of them are different, and have presented challenges at different times. With the mindset to learn together as a family but build each individual, when these challenges surfaced often something had to change
- My desire to be a mum first and foremost: a mum who teaches, never a teacher who is mum
Other defining decisions over the years have been
- Five in a Row – this curriculum has shaped my understanding of learning – how there is something to learn from stories – which we have taken far beyond the picture books we read in these early years.
- Heart of Wisdom Bible Study – the idea that Bible study became a significant aspect of our study programme, not just tacked on as a devotional time.
- Ruth Beechick and her integrated language ideas – we learnt to read and read to learn, we learnt to write and then wrote to learn
- I had the opportunity to talk to Sally Clarkson about the struggles I was having with my oldest son and how my ideology of learning all together wasn’t working for us. She gave me the ‘freedom’ to let him do it alone. Not sure why I needed her to tell me it was okay, but this helped me hold lightly to ideologies in the future
Even as I write these thoughts another idea has come to me that maybe did revolutionise how I homeschooled.
We had been homeschooling for 3 years – Josh was 7, Jess 5, Naomi 3 and Daniel 1. We were enjoying our homeschooling, the older two were reading well, Naomi had some medical issues that were disruptive at times, and Daniel was a fairly adaptable baby. But I was burnt out. We were using Five in a Row, LEM Phonics (an Australian programme) and Rigby Math (also Australian). In the middle of the year I just stopped everything. The kids played, read books, we went about our daily lives. The only ‘academic’ thing we did for about 4 months (other than read books) was file work that they had completed previously. They learnt to file!!
But this time was about me – I read. I don’t really remember what I read specifically but my heart began to change. It was in this time that I started to have a passion for discipling my children, for training their whole life, for being a parent more than a homeschooler.
We had started homeschooling because we wanted to be an influence in our kids’ lives, we wanted to shape their hearts, and give them opportunities to grow as individuals. So this time didn’t really change our focus, but it gave me confidence to continue.