Thursday, February 17, 2011

Homeschooling Hop

I am really enjoying this 10 Days of Homeschooling Blog Hop, and have been reading many of the blogs, hosting this blogging carnival. If you click on that link you will find 16 different bloggers who have dedicated 10 days to writing about different homeschooling areas they are experts in. Their subjects range from homeschooling boys, to Socialization for Moms, to Montessori method, to homeschooling Pre-schoolers, to getting started as a homeschooler, to un-schooling, to many other areas that I can relate to.

I hesitate to talk about homeschooling with my family and peers because I'm not really sure what exactly what we're doing as a homeschooling family. But, as I am learning, that's okay. It's okay to figure things out as you go, and learn as part of the journey. What I do know is that all the stereotypes, labels, myths, and negative stigmas about homeschooling need to be thrown out the window as you're beginning your homeschooling journey. Homeschooling my kids isn't about what my neighbors are doing, or what those homeschooling relatives did, or what crazy story you heard on the news about un-schoolers. To me, homeschooling is about knowing my kids, praying for guidance, and meeting our needs as a family. It isn't even about public school vs. private school vs. homeschool. It's just about us, and what we feel is right.

One of the greatest lessons I've learned as a parent is that there isn't one way to do things, the world is not black and white, and learning and growing in life isn't limited to the classroom institution.

Whenever I read about other homeschooling families, such as on these blogs, I feel lifted up, and I feel inspired. I feel like I not only want to continue on the path of being a homeschooling family, but I also want to be a better organized, more thoughtful, more attentive, and wonderful parent!
A curious friend last week asked me, "So when do you start homeschooling? Around the time they start Kindergarten?"
My answer, "We already are!"
I believe learning starts the moment you enter this world, and doesn't ever stop. Learning isn't limited to Kindergarten registration, or a certain age you turn. Learning is happening now.

When we first moved into these apartments, our kids didn't know how to swim. It really stressed me out that they were 4 and 2 years old, and didn't have any water skills. I can still remember the first day we went to pool, hauling our kids in with all their flotation devices and arm floaties. They were both a little scared to get their feet wet at first, and I was scared to take my eyes off of them. I wanted them to know how to swim so badly, that I tried to give them formal lessons. "Now Zadok, this is how you paddle, and this is how you kick. Now try blowing bubbles, and stop splashing, your splashing too much. Now come here so you can hold onto me while I teach you to kick!" After several minutes of me giving orders, he was annoyed, and pretty much told me to leave him alone. So I did. Micah suggested that every time we go to the pool we just play, have fun, and enjoy our time as a family. I was still worried about them learning to swim, but was willing to let it go and just have fun for the moment.
After several trips to the pool I noticed our kids feeling way more comfortable in the water. Zadok started asking us questions about how to swim, so we told him. And he started practicing what he knew. While our family was busy playing, he would watch and learn, and we would tell him little tips on how to paddle faster, how to hold himself up, or how to blow bubbles. There was no coercion, or formality to it, just family talking to family.
So guess what? Six months later our Zadok is a happy and confident, swimmer. He loves to swim, and he has learned to swim. (I still vividly rememeber the first time he actually swam. He was beyond excited and kept shouting out,"I'm swimming! I'm swimming!!") And Odin is learning, too. They both love to be in the water, and have found a fun new skill that they enjoy doing!

This was the biggest testament to me that education doesn't have to be this formal engagement, with lessons, and classrooms, and authority figures. It's just part of simply living. This was the first of many experiences (these past 6 months) in watching our kids learn and grasp onto things, and me being able to finally throw out the idea that they need formal schooling to do that. I have learned that when you provide a happy environment for learning and growth; an environment where kids can ask questions, feel free to explore, and feel excited to learn, that is true education. For us, this will be done through family homeschooling.

Maybe someday our kids will want to enroll in a public school. That's their choice to make. I'm sure they will also be involved in many social organizations and clubs, community classes, and sports groups. Later on, I fully encourage them to enroll in college, earn degrees, or go to a trade school to learn useful job skills. But for now, homeschooling is the way to go.

Well, enough with writing, I have to get back to my blog hop! I guess I just wanted to say that I feel inspired this week, and am happy with the direction we are heading as a family, and the choices that Micah and I are making together for our children.

Micah graduated with his Masters in Science Education this past week! Yeah


Da Denninghoff's said...

Congratulations Micah! Huge accomplishment!

Cassie said...

You have a wonderful blog. You are just a neat person! Homeschooling has really blessed our family. I seek guidance everyday from the Lord and ask how I can be a better teacher and more patient....even more fun. For me with Brady only being 7 I to am still learning and finding out what I what our homeschool to look like. What I know for sure is that this is a way of life now and I would n't have it any other way.
I am trying to get the motivation to update all 3 of my blogs! I do have a lot to say just not a lot of time to say it!