Your Style

Sometimes a "one-size fits all" thing is a good thing but not when it comes to homeschooling.  The thing I appreciate the most, when it comes to homeschooling, is the freedom to educate how you see best fit for your specific family and circumstances. 

I spent the entire year before my oldest began Kindergarten, researching all about homeschooling.   One of the first resources I read was the book, "So you're thinking about homeschooling?"   This definitely helped open my eyes to the many styles of homeschooling out there.  I went to public school from Kindergarten-12th grade so I only knew one way to "do" school. The more research I did the more I began to see a shift in my thinking. It was as though a light bulb came on and I realized the freedom I had to teach my children in a manner that worked best for us rather than trying to copy the public school format. You don't need to go out and buy a school desk and hang an American Flag in your home (unless you want to!).

You can google "homeschooling styles" or "homeschooling approaches" and will come across:  "School at home/Textbook Learning", "Charlotte Mason", "Classical", "Unschooling", "Unit Studies", "Online Learning", and several others.  A few links you can check out to learn all the details are: The Homeschool Diner, Homeschool, Homeschool Learning, or Design your homeschool

It can definitely feel overwhelming as you navigate your way through the many approaches to home education in an attempt to figure out which "one" is right for you.   But knowing your options and being able to choose what  you feel is the best fit for your family can make all the difference in the world.  Which picture reveals the kind of educational atmosphere you want in your home?

Courtesy of Google Image
Courtesy of Google Image
                           
Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Although there are homeschoolers who are committed to following a specific approach to the core, from what I have seen and experienced, many homeschoolers adopt and take ideas from multiple approaches.   So please don't feel like you have to stick to one style! 

2) And if you are using a specific style in your home, and discover it is just not working for your family, you are at liberty to make changes at any given time!

3) Knowing your style can help you to know what sort of curriculum to choose or not choose.  So it can work as a great guideline in that sense.  If you know you absolutely want to steer clear of textbook learning than you don't even need to bother checking out curriculum's that market themselves as that.

Courtesy of Google Image
In our home, I love everything behind the "Charlotte Mason" approach.  Charlotte Mason was a British Educator in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  She believed education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.  Her methods were gentle yet effective.  She believed in Living books, Narration, Copywork, Nature Study, Short Lessons, Dictation, Poetry, Picture Study, Music Study, Handicrafts, Recitation, Foreign Language, Shakespeare, and Bible.  She also had opinions about how to learn math, geography, history, and grammar. (another great link for Charlotte Mason)

Now do I incorporate "ALL" the things listed above into our day to day life?  No I do not.  Do I go outside of the Charlotte Mason approach and incorporate other styles?  Yes I do.  But knowing about her style certainly does help guide me in the curriculum I choose because I do agree so much with her philosophies.  (You can review what curriculum we use Here)

I want to switch gears now and impress a few things from my heart to yours that I feel are even more important than what "style" of curriculum you choose for your family.

1) Have a Discipleship Mentality.  The most important role in raising our children (whether we homeschool or not) is to disciple our kids.   If you homeschool than you are blessed to have more time in the day than the average family to invest in your children's hearts.  

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says, "And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.  Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates".

What an incredible calling!  If my goal in homeschooling is to produce the smartest, most intelligent, academically advanced children on this side of the Mississippi....I may fail miserably.  But if my goal is to instill in my children: truth, godly values, wisdom, love for others, a giving attitude, compassion, a servants heart, a hard working mentality, character, and a love for learning....I have done good!

Our family at the Lincoln Memorial
2) Adopt a "Lifestyle of Learning" approach.  Learning doesn't just take place in a classroom or set hours in the day.  Learning doesn't just happen when you open up a workbook/textbook.  Learning happens everywhere and anytime.  As a homeschooling mom, I have seen that the "sit-down formal school time" is really just a very small fraction of the learning process.  They are learning so much more just through daily life experiences, through interaction with other children and adults, through opening "living books" and reading, through helping me with chores, through conversations we have in the car, through being outside playing, and through going places and seeing things in person (not just in a book).

It's easy to put so much pressure on ourselves, because we have chosen to be the primary educators of our children, and we want to make sure they are getting everything they need academically.   It's also easy to think we need to mimic exactly what Susie Q is using with her kiddos or adopt a certain style or approach.  But if there is anything we should be committing to its to being a homeschooling parent who doesn't get caught up in the latest and greatest curriculum or being a die-hard follower of a specific style of homeschool....it's a commitment to relationship, to reaching our children's hearts, and to not taking life so serious all the time...to have fun and be silly with our kids!  

2 comments:

  1. Great advice, Andrea, and I wholeheartedly agree!!

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  2. The Homeschool JourneySeptember 25, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    Thank you Jennifer!

    ReplyDelete