Wednesday, 23 December 2009

A brief overview of how to home educate

I found the piece below on the website Pioneer Women .

Just a note to us Brits, I know it uses the terms, 'Homeschooling' rather than 'home education', and unschooling' rather than 'autonomous education', and yes 'mom' instead of 'mum' (for some reason that's the most annoying). BUT it says pretty much what I would have said, if I ever got away from cleaning the toilet (or should that be restroom?) and got around to saying it. By-the-way, the home educator writing the piece refers to herself in the third person as 'Mrs G', just in case you were a bit confused.

"If Mrs. G. had to describe herself under the current homeschooling labels she would have to say she is an unschooler who makes her kids do math whether they want to or not. Mrs. G. felt her main job was making sure their house was filled to the brim with good books (hello garage sales and Goodwill) on all kinds of subjects, helping her kids identify their passions and figure out how to explore them on a budget, teaching them life skills at an early age so that they understood the concept of teamwork and that Mrs. G. was not a maid or servant or ATM machine. And loving them.

Mrs. G’s highly subjective opinions regarding homeschooling small fry:

* Homeschooling isn’t for everyone—if it doesn’t appeal to you, don’t do it, because it will probably not go well. It is a huge responsibility and, like all things, there are peaks and valleys. At least three times a year, Mrs. G. accosts Mr. G. at the door and tells him that she is driving the kids to school the very next day, because she can’t take it anymore and she is ruining the kids and their futures, and she is just over it. And what does it take to get some time alone around here. And then she goes somewhere by herself for a few hours and recovers. Take homeschooling on a year-by-year basis. If Mrs. G’s kids had expressed a genuine interest in public school, she would have let them go in a second. Mrs. G. is all about choices.

* Most beginning homeschoolers, in their enthusiasm, bite off more than they can chew and try to do too much which leads to burnout for everyone. For the first five grades Mrs. G. focused on reading to her kids, having them read to her and learning the basics of elementary math. All other subjects like science and history were explored through good books or books on tape, good PBS shows, good magazines, good cooking, good yard work, good playing and good cleaning of bathrooms.

* It makes a huge difference to be part of a like-minded homeschool group or homeschool co-op. Mrs. G’s kids have taken many classes on things that are more difficult to do at home—foreign language, drama, singing, dancing and band. Mrs. G. has done a lot of bartering for lessons and classes. Her kids have participated in parent partnership programs in the public school system. They have volunteered at food banks and the humane society; there are so many community resources out there. You just have to look around and talk to other homeschooling moms.

* Don’t buy the whole socialization issue—Mrs. G. had to put the brakes on some social activities, because she was spending too much time in the car. Of all the BS homeschooling myths out there, Mrs. G. thinks this is the lamest. Also, all children are gifted, so try not to get caught up in that whole homeschool genius thing.

* Don’t rush out and spend a ton of money on a full curriculum—one size rarely fits all and many kids find them painfully boring.

* A child’s main job should be to play. Encourage playing alone—a most excellent result of occasional boredom and not being over-scheduled.

* If you are unable to stick to a schedule, you are probably doing things right.

* Learning takes place all of the time. And it is shocking how much younger siblings absorb as you read or discuss things with your older child. Mrs. G. didn’t know her son could read until he asked what “employees only” meant, and she realized he was reading off doors. He was an early reader; Mrs. G’s daughter was not.

*Follow your own instincts and take all advice with a grain of salt (even Mrs. G’s!) No one knows your kid better than you do. "

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

Like this, Bmf!!!!
Thinking of adding a sidebar to my blog about HE and this could be my starting point!!