My friend Cori and I were exchanging emails about how to prepare a schedule, what to get next, and how to orchestrate a schedule, book selection, “curriculum” choices to certain extent, when she started to think and write using the food metaphor. I replied to her borrowing from that metaphor as well and that inspired me to this post.
Gourmet homeschooling takes the pressure off of you (at least for a while). As when you are presented with a gourmet meal, it is appealing, done by experts, and it has colors and flavors difficult to replicate from scratch. This could be equated to buying a qualitative curriculum you get out of a box, with all those wonderful books that smell of new, and the already whipped together lessons that weave everything nicely into a theme, or linear progression. Unless you are like one of those Iron Chefs, you won’t be able to pull a curriculum like this in an hour, you have to pay the money for it, my friend. And it has no guarantees that it will be fit your family. Eventually you don’t even know what’s in it, how it is done, and the crave for a comfort meal can soon arise if that’s your only diet. We may dream something which will require no or little preparation on our end, but sooner or later we have to put some thought into the direction our ship is going to sail, (but that’s another metaphor…)
You can guess what I’m going to say about a homeschooling that is mainly like junk food. It’s mainly eaten in the car, you don’t prepare it either, here the nutritious value is not present, you haven’t cooked it, you don’t know what’s in it or it’s mainly bad for you. That’s to me what happens when you have your children doing so many activities, that they end up spending most of the day in the car, and though there are lovely audio books and things you can play in the car, learning like this is limited. There is another way of having a junk style homeschool at home. That’s when you are busy, non intentional, and do not spend any time with your children but let them open the refrigerator or pantry and feed themselves whatever they can get. Some of this won’t kill you, but if that’s your main way of nurturing your family there will be consequences to this style. It may seem cheap, but it’ll give you problems in the long run.
The last method is the one I’d like to say we ascribe too, but not entirely. Pure home-made would be something that you concoct from scratch, preferentially organic, where you know what you are adding to the pot and you think about it to be nutritious and healthy. The equivalent is when you take full charge of the curriculum, internet resources, and even if you buy things it’s when you tweak them to perfectly cater your children. I think we follow a semi home-made style if not a pure home made style, for cooking AND for homeschooling. We may start with something already planned or thought out by another, and we change, add, take away, until we get to our personal combination. This isn’t easy but it’s what works best.
In two weeks from now I’ll start deciding on our schedule and the things we’ll be doing next. I know being intentional is one of them, but I’ll get the books out of the shelves and in our box, and I’ll set up some open goals. I’ll also give more thought to our weekly schedules. I want to have a flexible schedule but something to commit to that facilitates consistency but leaves space for spontaneous learning.