Lately I want to write about lots of things and about nothing at all. Sometimes I feel as if I wanted to convince others to conduct their homeschooling in the same way we do, but that’s not my desire, I truly think it’s legitimate and necessary to think and to do things differently.
I’d like to share my limited experience with my daughters, close to six and three and a half. I have no doubt that my girls are making progress, they are learning, developing as happy well rounded children, and for now we don’t think about changing our life style. Every time we choose, we leave other options out, such as their experience of meeting different teachers and staff members in schools and them meeting my daughters, the visits to their classrooms, buying school supplies every new school year, the celebrations, festivals, field trips, projects, events, challenges, meeting other children and moms, etc. Even though that option is not as optimal as homeschooling them, it will always be the ‘other side’, the unknown, that which we have renounced. Even when you homeschool, there are so many different ways of doing this that our adventure will be particular to us and others won’t be able to replicate it in all its authenticity.
In other words, which is the fiber that composes our experience? Many of you already know that so far we don’t propose formal or structured academics for the children at an early age. However, it’s difficult to explain we are formal and structured people in other areas, such as discipline, habits, health, our faith, our life without TV (only for an occasional DVD or VHS). But I don’t know if I have explained why we believe this, or given our reasons for this type of homeschooling. We do this because my girls, the oldest in particular, is very reticent to me guiding her learning. Since they explore things on their own, I want to be careful with their environment and know they have wholesome choices, as Heather does too. We were talking about this and she also was thinking about writing a post to inspire or share with others why she does what she does in her family. In our case, if I propose some craft, specially artistic craft, pretty much they tag alone, though they always modify it to do it their way. But it’s them, specially the oldest, the one who finishes everything she has suggested herself. It’s better, as Heather’s mom said, if we just leave things around that are wholesome and interesting, and we wait for them to eat the ‘bait’ and start learning about that topic. I also tell them sometimes I’m going to read aloud something just for me, and soon enough, they both come like flies to a pie to hear it. If I want them to write, I sit down and start writing myself, and sooner than later, they come to see what I’m doing and start writing themselves. To tell you the truth, both are creative, have good dexterity, the oldest has good handwriting, can read if she wants (again, I can’t push too hard or she’ll become discouraged), and that’s why if I try to conduct the orchestra my ‘musicians’ start playing a different song!
Here you have an example in this picture. The youngest got the sticks they had picked before on one of our park days, and she started writing in “Chinese”, the oldest did this kite after writing her name and other things with letters.
My homeschool is not how I envisioned it at this point. It’s far better in many regards, but much less about me in other aspects. We are not the same, many families like to use a particular curriculum, workbooks, a schedule closer to school or fit for their needs. I still don’t know if we’ll ever evolve to that, I believe yes. I believe in a few years they will be more independent in their studies, and there will be tasks they will complete individually and that will have to be suggested by me (I plan to follow ambleside online, their suggested readings), and I’d like to keep that Charlotte Mason spirit that we have, and many things will be negotiable to some extent. But I think I’ll always have to be mindful of their initiative and I’ll keep proposing and throwing baits at them so they will continue being curious and making their own connections, suggesting their own ideas and being active in their learning. This approach is bearing fruits in our case, and for all those in the same junction in life, whichever your route everything will have tense moments, discussions, being upset, bad manners, accidents, desperation, doubts, boredom, tiredness, more doubts, answering back to be corrected, some yelling, wrong punishments, some contradictions with your spouse…and I usually don’t take pictures of those times, LOL, so nothing is as good as it looks, but all in all, we continue our journey the way it is, even if we have to adjust our dreams of it to our daily reality.