Note: a disclaimer.
The following post is full of happy homeschooling ideas, happy homeschoolers and general good cheer about homeschooling.
Please understand that there is another side to homeschooling, as in any endeavor- a not-so-fun side.
We get cranky. We get bored, uninspired, sometimes there is even (ahem) YELLING and despair, especially when it comes to math. We slog along, some times.
We get tired of being inside (you know how the weather has been lately).
Homeschooling has its own stressful and unpleasant aspects, just like anything. PLEASE know that it is wonderful much of the time, but not always. OK. Now you can read the rest:
I'm reading Project-Based Homeschooling by Lori Pickert (see the right sidebar).
Affirming!! Inspiring!! Reminds me why I homeschool!
The idea of Project-Based Homeschooling goes beyond the typical school curriculums which are packaged up and mailed to the school systems, given to the teachers and served down to all the kids. It even goes beyond typical homeschool curriculum, which is also typically packaged up and mailed to the homeschooler (I know, I ordered one once).
It is fine to teach and learn through packaged curriculum. As with anything, the real value of the teaching and learning depend on both the teacher and the student and their environment. Curriculum or no curriculum.
However, Project-Based Homeschooling speaks to the freedom I have, that I am thankful for every day: to "zero in on what interests your child and stay there as long as she is interested." (Pickert, p. 9) It speaks to the opportunity for a child to discover an author, a skill, a game, an art, a place...all on their own initiative...and launch themselves into it, to explore, learn, perhaps even master the subject.
The parent does not completely get out of the way and leave the child on his own. The parent helps the child identify his interests. The parent provides a workable environment, guidance, supplies. It's a chance to support your child with time, materials, resources, encouragement in an area of their choosing, and watching for where your input is needed.
Project-Based Homeschooling is a name for what lots of parents of homeschooled as well as public school kids do: make time and resources available for the kids' interests, and mentor them along the way.
And here's what it looks like at our house:
So, you get the idea. Amie is into art, Lauren is into baking, Ana is into filming.
The joy of it, to me, is that these things become 'what they do' first thing in the morning. Or at 10:30 am. Or later in the afternoon. When they feel inspired, when they have a large block of time, when Mom can help them. Isn't that how all of us prefer to do things? On our own initiative? And how we perform best- when we're internally motivated?
So. I am on p. 45 of Project-Based Homeschooling and enjoying the encouragment.
Here's my favorite part so far:
"If you have
an honored space dedicated to doing meaningful work
and that space is full of
an interesting variety of high-quality materials and tools
and your routine offers
big chunks of time dedicated to spending time there,
then whatever your child does with those resources is worthwhile.
add a strong, genuine interest
and you truly have something magical.
To build something real and significant.