I think most homeschoolers when they first begin, start by simply bringing the classroom home. They setup a cute little classroom and have their shiny new workbooks and a bouquet of sharpened pencils. They sit at the front of the room ready to lecture their little pupils. Unfortunately, this method isn’t very appealing to most children. It kind of takes the fun out of learning for the kids and leaves mom feeling frustrated. This method works great for those who are only homeschooling temporarily and their children need to be able to easily transition back into public school, but for most, the public system wasn’t working for their kids, but somehow we think simply changing the environment will change the results…
Schooling at home requires a complete overhaul in the way we have been trained. We have been taught that education is sitting at a desk memorizing facts and taking tests. We may cram for an exam and then brain dump the information never having actually learned what we were intended to learn. Schooling at home takes a different approach.
I see our home as the ideal environment in which to learn and learning doesn’t simply occur while our children are seated at their desks. They learn while they are helping us bake in the kitchen, while helping with car maintenance or taking care of the garden. They learn so many life skills rather than only getting academic subjects. Last week my boys helped my husband build wooden beds, not many elementary students have that opportunity!
Yes, we have times where they sit at their desk and practice writing and math, however most of their day is curled up with a book or exploring outside. My children have time to discover who they are, to pursue their talents and to learn in a way that is exciting. I don’t have to provide them with stacks of worksheets and supplemental activities that mimic learning; they learn and then apply that knowledge all on their own. When we were living in Europe, my son started a notebook of maps and flags and drew a map and the flag of every country we visited. He drew his own copy of our Wildflowers of Britain book. He has copied several of his favorite Picasso’s. When we give our children freedom to learn on their own, they become so creative and will help dictate their education because rather than being a chore to them, it is fun and exciting.
It is our primary responsibility as homeschool moms, to keep the joy of learning alive!