Homeschooling the easy and joyful way.

 

 

I don’t know what style of homeschooling that is occurring with us right now.  Are we to consider ourselves free range?  Unschooling?  I can’t list the other ideas such as Waldorf or Montessori because we use online lessons and media to educate although we also garden, do forest walks, and are learning other languages.  I can’t say public or charter because I decided against signing up with a structured school.  I am definitely not Thomas Jefferson or Classic because we just have no real structure.

My son is 5 years old. I have no intention of starting to drill him and test him, or to even teach him to read yet.  But I will tell you that this kid has the best life and education daily.  He already understands math and the alphabet and he can figure out words randomly.  He knows more about dinosaurs and all the Mesozoic eras, most of the dinosaur types (or breeds?  I’m not a dinosaur fan, my dino know how is being forced upon me).  He knows about the environment, GMO’s and organics because his mother is part granola-hippy earth lover.  He knows about the solar system.  Some gardening, some baking, animal husbandry, cleaning, farming, machinery, and many other things I can’t think of right now…

He’s advanced in his language skills and he loves to learn and explore.  He has been wide eyed and beyond curious since birth, pushing himself into the next thing and the next idea.  He is so in his head that I often have to call him a few times even when we are in the same room.

I thought of doing the whole chalkboard, one room for the class, structured curriculum and hours.  Then I shuddered and let that awful idea dissipate from the darkness whence it came.

 

 

I was a smart kid that was always exploring and reading and building…and then school happened.

I’m not saying that this is the truth for even many.  I just don’t want my son to lose his passion and drive.  He has to choose what he learns and how.  He can learn so much anywhere and anytime.  Instead of being in a classroom 6 hours a day he is at the beach building kingdoms, visiting family, playing in Tahoe with his godparents, at home with his mama making food from scratch, traveling to Oregon, and all that time and with all that fun he is learning about life, math, science, history, social science, reading, vocabulary.

Just a trip to the grocery store invites a lesson in math and finances, how to shop wisely and be shrewd with the funds.  He also learns about produce in season and why we prefer organic and that leads to discussions about bio diverse farming vs corporate farming, food forest, urban farming, and how we can take care of nature, improve the top soil and insects, which ones are beneficial and why and which ones aren’t and what plants and animals rid our gardens of these pests.  You see?  Just picking out an apple for today’s snack has just taught Arjan all about the various ways to farm and the pros and cons on into the eco system and beyond to the Universe and what it’s all about.  And that was just shopping for fruit.

Now, I only have one little boy that is ready for homeschooling so I’ll try not to act so well versed in the whole thing.  I’m sure by the time he is getting into big math and science I will have to ship him out to a tutor or class.  In the meantime, it’s all fun and rainbows.  His brother is homeschooling naturally but really doesn’t start for a couple years.

I am preparing one long drawer in the dining room for all his school stuff and he will do ABCMouse and some other educational programs an hour a day five days a week.  That’s it.  Everyone who reads my blogs knows how we love our library.  We drag home big, heavy bags weekly and we read them all.  We watch educational documentaries.  And we talk about everything all the time.

Outdoors, that is the biggest…and limit the TV.  I’ve planted a food forest in our own yards and now we have the chickens so that right there is some learning.

I may be foolish but I love this process and I want us all to thrive and really have fun.  I didn’t do so well in school.  I was bright but lazy with the studying and homework.  It was my Achilles heal.  I study and read so much now.  I still skim and I never complete any book.  I do take notes here and there and talk about what I learned to cement the important things.  I’m probably better informed today than all the years in college.  The trick is to study only that which you love and do it.  Then the joy comes, the thriving spirit.

I home make, raise children, write, read, grow my urban farm.  Those are my joys and I’m happier than ever.  That’s what I want to teach my children.  Find what you love and dive in.

But most importantly, my children are learning about themselves and their feelings.  They are learning about community and family.  They are finding those interest that really excites them.  They are being allowed to evolve at their own pace…not someone else’s guidelines or what a school program says that they need to be doing daily.  If they want to study all day on Monday they can, if on Tuesday they want to be left to themselves and play in the sand under the tree most of the day they can.  If they are having an off day they can do what they need to do to take care of themselves.  Usually, the next day they are rested and ready to explore and learn more.

We have routines through the day but nothing is solid because we are human and our energy levels and emotions vary each day.  Things need to have some fluidity so that we can continue to enjoy our life and really blossom.  My children are learning something I didn’t get in my childhood.  They are learning to honor and care for themselves well.  They will be able to truly love learning and see that it is an artfully done journey into the world and the mind.

 

 

 

 

 

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13 comments

  1. I was one of those love to learn kids too–then school happened. Of course, in the 60s, being raised by grandparents, there were no other choices. Let’s just say I didn’t fit in. I enjoyed college better, and now at 60, with the internet at my disposal? I have learned more skills than ever before. You are a wise mama–keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you because I needed that. My cousins schoolteacher wife made a nasty comment about my homeschooling abilities at my birthday celebration and I tell you…it took a few days to cool down from that. But they are traditional and I’m…out there in another vortex.

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      • Well, that was rude! You tell those cousins *I* said they can go ‘suck mud’. Besides, it’s sooooo much more fun out here in our little corner of the vortex, dontcha think? I know a LOT of homeschoolers who do the same things you do with your boys, and let me tell yu–I would far rather be around THOSE kid than some of the ‘normal’ school kids. Better manners and a lot mor interesting to talk to!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved learning but did not like science, history nor math. By the time I was through high school I hated the structure so much I refused to go to college even though my father was ready to pay for me to go. But, when the game Trivial Pursuit came out, people asked me how I had such a wide variety of knowledge. It’s because I love to read. Much of my sports knowledge came from reading Dick Francis mysteries. As an adult I love going to science museums and history museums and living history sites. And I read a lot of historical novels. That history is much better than memorizing dates that have no relevance to anything. And science museums use play to teach you concepts. Learning can be fun!

    I fully support your regular trips to the library. You are a good mother.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so pleased to get all these stories so similar to mine and others. Seems many of us didn’t care much for the structure of school. Learning can be so fun and exciting…when it doesn’t involve testing and, as you said, dates that mean nothing today.

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  3. I enjoy history–I believe there are valuable lessons in it’s study. But I really prefer to study history in the context of subjects that interest me. It’s called delight directed learning. By studying certain subjects thoroughly, you end up covering just about every other subject–math, literature, science, biology, etc. Just as you are doing with grocery shopping. Unit studies can be done at the pace that is right for the child. You may be interested in trying one to see how it works. Hope that helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In the deepest recess of my soul, I believe that the structure and methodology of traditional public schools (and most alternative options) oppress the spirit of the child. Not just a few children-most children.
    I’m nearly 62 and have taught in public and private schools.It is my most heartfelt opinion that the traditional system of education is harmful to the human soul.

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  5. I just found this blog and let me say it is GOLD, I love you’re point of view and I completely agree. What you are doing with your kids is exactly what I would hope to do one day. I’m binge reading your posts. Keep up the quality work!

    Liked by 1 person

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