I am constantly asked about what our homeschool is like, especially by people who are considering homeschooling themselves. They want to know how it’s done. They wonder what our schedule and homeschool structure are like. (Interestingly enough, they rarely ask about what I teach, what books we read, or the terrific resources I use.) The truth is, there are as many ways to teach as there are teachers. Everyone has a different style. Everyone has a different schedule. Today I thought I’d tell you a little about mine since it’s probably my most asked question I get.
My Style Is Structured
I am a pretty structured homeschooler. I enjoy the planning as much as I enjoy the teaching. I have a school room in my basement, a notebook of my lesson plans,a file cabinet full of ideas sorted by topic, and shelves full of my favorite books. I have discovered though, that the specific structure doesn’t determine the success. I am organized like that in all the aspects of my life. My filing system, my recipe collection, my household chores–all are planned and organized because that’s what suits my personality. Someone who doesn’t thrive with that kind of setup shouldn’t try to run their homeschool that way though. You have to find what suits YOU.
But Flexibility Is Important
Even with all my organization, I’ve found that homeschool is done best with a lot of flexibility. As the weather has gotten warmer we’ve relocated from our school room to our yard. We learn our times tables on the trampoline, have our science lessons in the garden, and read stories spread out on a blanket in the yard. Our lessons are sometimes spread throughout the day and spaced around the schedules of our baby and toddler. Furthermore, our planned out curriculum often provides more of a jumping off point than a destination, depending on what is exciting the kids at the moment, or what great book was available from the library that week. You can see a reflection of how that happens in any of exploration posts from this website. The “additional layers” you find at the bottom of many of our posts are all directions we may go, depending upon what fancies us all at the moment.
Remember the Goal Is To Educate, Then Do It Your Way
Once a brand new homeschooler was picking my brain about things because she was feeling overwhelmed and unsuccessful in her new schooling adventure. She has toddlers as well as school-aged kids and had a hard time managing it all. I suggested that she move her one-on-one reading time with her son to bedtime after the little ones were asleep. Her response made me chuckle: “What? It doesn’t count if I don’t do it during school time, does it?” She was truly shocked that indeed it DID count, no matter when it was accomplished. She has since had many enjoyable evenings reading and conversing with her son one-on-on without interruption from the littlies. His reading is also improving by leaps and bounds.
Time devoted to learning is critical, but exactly what time and how the learning happens is open to a world of possibilities.
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