Tuesday, August 07, 2007
How do you homeschool?
The stress you put on certain words in that question can give it a whole different meaning. For instance, "How do you homeschool?" Kind of a general question, usually asked by a non-homeschooler who really wants to know how to do it. Or "how do you homeschool?" More specific and asked by someone who knows there are all different shades of homeschoolers: are you one of those by-the-buzzer types, or do your kids run amok; have you written a detailed schedule for the whole year and searched for every out-of-print book in The Well-Trained Mind, or do you just smile and pass out the workbooks, or the hammers?
Or there's the third option: "How do you homeschool?" Said with the kind of unbelief I usually reserve for those who try to swim across Lake Ontario. These are my answers to the third question.
1. With support from other homeschoolers: real-life and online. Going it absolutely alone would be very hard. Even Samantha Whiteside had people alongside her in the boat.
2. With support from my husband, a.k.a. the school principal, professor of technology, bus driver, treasurer, and head cheerleader (hairy legs and all).
3. With the help of the public library: a great resource for books and CDs that we need only for a short time. Also with the help of our support group's resource library.
4. With the help of some of the great old and new books, old and new magazines and websites written by and for homeschoolers. Whatever you want to ask, read or print out--it's probably out there.
5. By keeping away from too-cluttered books, curriculum & projects. Time is too short and space is too tight for plastic counting frogs.
6. By not comparing ourselves too closely to other families, other children, even some of our nearest and dearest other homeschoolers whose examples fill us with awe. We have our own circumstances, talents and problems; we do the best with what we have and let the rest go.
7. By using the public school grade expectations only as a rough guideline for our academic goals. Samantha Whiteside set a time goal for her swim comparable on what others had done, but it was based on her own capabilities, not just trying to break someone else's record.
8. By not expecting/requiring the kids to learn everything at a consistent rate or in the same way "everybody else" does. By patiently repeating someone's troublesome spots like telling time, while also understanding that the same student is capable of learning how computers work.
9. By keeping God's truth as the cornerstone of our homeschool, while not expecting that every book and resource we use will come from that understanding.
10. With the intention of eventually working myself out of this teaching job. We work toward maturity, independence, and a lifetime of learning. The goal is to eventually cross the lake, right? One of these days!