Homeschooling

The Beauty of Homeschooling.

I come from a family that highly values Christian education. 

 

All growing up, there was this negative stigma that came with our encounters with homeschoolers. I, naturally, came to ignorantly believe that homeschoolers were weird, dumb, weird, unfortunate, weird, awkward, and weird.  

 

Never ever ever would I ever consider homeschooling for my children someday. 

 

Besides, doesn't every mother look forward to that day when their child is gone into someone else's care all day?! I mean, after five long years of correction, training, staying up all night, changing diapers, simmering down tantrums, and countless play dates, you're tired and all-day school will finally free you up to start a new career, a hobby, and finally get some things done without a baby, toddler, or preschooler underfoot. 

 

And why would you homeschool? Homeschoolers are weird. And you don't want your child to turn out like them...you want your child socialized, tested, and able to meet educational standards.  

 

Where does one begin, anyway?! You may not have a college degree, the know-how, or the ability to even teach your child, right?!  

 

This series of posts will help turn the tables on the many lies you've encountered about homeschooling and homeschoolers. And how you, yes you, can make homeschooling the most awesome, least awkward thing ever. 

 

As I was digging thru the past five years of homeschooling photos, I must confess that I broke down. The tears flowed as I was reminded of all of the wonderful memories we've shared over this journey I swore I'd never take. 

 

Some days, I want to pull my hair out. I question everything. I mean ev.er.y.thing.  

 

Last year, I'll be honest, I was a disaster. But these kiddos, by God's sufficient grace, did amazing despite my failures.  

 

It was proven when Hunter tested for the last school year and got in the 99% percentile for all areas except one. That's God's grace. I cried on that one, too. 

 

Homeschooling really is beautiful. It is. It's not just sitting down all day and doing book work. No. Not even close. It's mother (and fathers)  and children interacting in God's creation, reading stories of famous American's, making pies and cookies, serving others, discovering together, and learning all of the time. 

 

 

Our very first day of homeschooling, August 2012.  

Our very first day of homeschooling, August 2012.  

Homeschooling is watching butterflies, moths, cocoons, and chrysalises  

Homeschooling is watching butterflies, moths, cocoons, and chrysalises  

Homeschooling is caring for new life.  

Homeschooling is caring for new life.  

Homeschooling is developing a passion. Carter's passion is cooking.  

Homeschooling is developing a passion. Carter's passion is cooking.  

Homeschooling is being together.  

Homeschooling is being together.  

Homeschooling is setting up camp at 10am on a Tuesday.  

Homeschooling is setting up camp at 10am on a Tuesday.  

Homeschooling is understanding where food comes from.  

Homeschooling is understanding where food comes from.  

Homeschooling is French lessons while your little sisters play.  

Homeschooling is French lessons while your little sisters play.  

Homeschooling can be sitting down, but that's kind of rare.  

Homeschooling can be sitting down, but that's kind of rare.  

Homeschooling is creating.  

Homeschooling is creating.  

Homeschooling is painting on a cool, fall day on the porch.  

Homeschooling is painting on a cool, fall day on the porch.  

Homeschooling is Teaching Textbooks math, which is fun and not stressful.  

Homeschooling is Teaching Textbooks math, which is fun and not stressful.  

Homeschooling is baking cookies.  

Homeschooling is baking cookies.  

Homeschooling is watching and waiting patiently.  

Homeschooling is watching and waiting patiently.  

Homeschooling is preparing meals.  

Homeschooling is preparing meals.  

Homeschooling is sometimes a little bit like traditional school, but not really.  

Homeschooling is sometimes a little bit like traditional school, but not really.  

Homeschooling is hands on learning. As much as you want...even in your pajamas. 

Homeschooling is hands on learning. As much as you want...even in your pajamas. 

Homeschooling is the freedom to choose your field trips...and go on as many as you want to.  

Homeschooling is the freedom to choose your field trips...and go on as many as you want to.  

Homeschooling doesn't have to happen at home.  

Homeschooling doesn't have to happen at home.  

Homeschooling is one-on-one, and catered to your learning style.  

Homeschooling is one-on-one, and catered to your learning style.  

Homeschooling means having the most loving teacher in the whole world, who always wants the best for her child.  

Homeschooling means having the most loving teacher in the whole world, who always wants the best for her child.  

Homeschooling is solo cup bowling times.  

Homeschooling is solo cup bowling times.  

Homeschooling is making co-op lunches. 

Homeschooling is making co-op lunches. 

Homeschooling is about learning whatever you want...whenever you want.  

Homeschooling is about learning whatever you want...whenever you want.  

Homeschooling makes us really happy.  

Homeschooling makes us really happy.  

Goodness, is this life beautiful. It's beautiful because of all the reasons mentioned above and so much more.  

 

The days aren't rushed. Sometimes a simple question prompts an entire day of discovery. There is no "wake up" time, no rushing out the door, no lines, buses, or traffic. There's all of the time to explore, get dirty, play outside, learn household chores, develop passions, spend time as a family, and the freedom to go as you please. 

 

Want to to take a vacation in the middle of February? You can. And no one will give you a stack of make up work, or permission slips to stay gone that long.  

 

The next post will include what curriculums I recommend, and finally, I will post about the logistics of starting your homeschool.  

 

I am so thankful for homeschooling. I am thankful to be called by God and for the grace I need to do it. You can too. 

 

Love, Alicia  

 

Homeschooling is learning the states before your first birthday. :)  

Homeschooling is learning the states before your first birthday. :)  

Maybe you shouldn't homeschool...

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Just a mere two years ago, if you would've told me that that coming fall I would begin homeschooling my rising Kindergartener, my oldest, I would've looked at you so crazy, jack. But most of us know how that story ends...or begins, rather...I quickly fell in love with homeschooling and even added it to my, (ever growing) list of passions.

I began to think "why aren't more people doing this??"..."naturally, what any parent could offer their child is so much better than what the public school does." And I began to feel sad (and almost frustrated) at both people I knew and didn't know that grew ever more excited to send their child off every morning on that yellow bus in August.

And up until more recently, I continued to feel the same way...day after day. And while I do agree that home education could positively benefit practically any child regardless of age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, and any special need obstacles, I've changed my mind on the whole stance. Not everyone should homeschool their child(ren). In fact, some people should probably save themselves the trouble and just stop altogether.

You may need to stop homeschooling your child if...

...you think your homeschool should rigidly mimic public school. I guess this one puzzles me. Having only gone to traditional school myself, I get that it's hard to switch what one grew up experiencing and then providing a totally opposite educational experience for their child. I tried, in the beginning, going against all homeschooling wisdom I received from various homeschooling gurus, to make our homeschool as close to typical school as possible. It probably doesn't take too much digging to guess what happened after a few days of frantically forcing typical school in a home setting. I was in tears, I was already exhausted and burnt out, and my kids weren't loving the change of what used to be, a very organic, but fairly organized normal life schedule to something almost resembling boot camp.

I learned that if all I'm intending to do is to mimic traditional school in my homeschool, then I've missed the point of homeschooling entirely. I might as well save myself the trouble and enroll my child in the nearest school building.

...you are not willing and able to love being with your children pretty much around the clock Because of my God, my husband, and our life choices and priorities, I have been able to be apart of 99.9% of my childrens lives. That .1% that I've missed has been because every once in a while, Mike and I get to be alone in public. It's amazing. So I'm very used to constantly being with my children. So much so, that I literally feel like I'm missing an entire arm or I forgot to put panties on or something extreme like that, when they aren't with me. I may as well be completely naked. Some parents are very used to dropping their child off here and there and spending entire days and sometimes multiple days separated from their children and barely bat an eye about it. That's their normal. And I say to those parents who are used to having large breaks from parenting, or who do both work long hours or have help caring for their children, if you cannot imagine yourself being the sole caregiver, teacher, mentor, etc., then you probably shouldn't consider homeschooling.

I know some homeschooling situations are unique and do occur between two parents working outside of the home on separate schedules. These parents are truly making several sacrifices to educate their children at home. It is possible, but I know it's not for everyone. It really isn't.

...if you're child ends up hating it/you aren't willing to change your approach to accommodate your child's learning style/ability.

I know of some homeschooling mamas who cannot fathom laying down their perfectionistic expectations and continue to fight with and force and expect things of their child that the child responds negatively to. To continue to force a learning style and ignore your child's cries for change and longing for adaptability, isn't what homeschooling should display. Sometimes it takes a great amount of trial and error to determine what curriculum works for your child, what learning style the respond to best and what about learning specifically gets them excited. And what works for one child, may not work for another.

In my opinion, homeschooling can be and should be a beautiful collaboration between parent and child. A dance, an adventure, a trail with many twists and turns, a ride that encourages first of all a LOVE for learning. And not just for the duration of all twelve grades, but something that propels them past your instruction...something they will soar with until their final breath. Next, it should be fluid and flexible. Allow discovery to spark a new path. You may have to throw out all the grand plans you had for that day and just go with it. That's okay. That's the beauty of homeschooling. You have freedom. Your child has freedom. Your child isn't learning from the discomfort of a wooden desk, but from life all around them. Surrounded constantly by those who value them the most, the family unit gives benefit where the schoolroom simply cannot compare.

So if you're considering homeschooling, awesome. It can be a most breathtaking journey. If you are homeschooling and find yourself highly frustrated with a child(ren) that would rather be doing anything else BUT...it's time to take a step back and reevaluate. Reevaluate your approach, your attitude, your purpose in doing this in the first place. Do you care more about your child having the most beautiful cursive writing (pushing a child to do so to their detriment) or do you want your child to have a love for learning?

I choose a love for learning. I choose discovery.

Love, Alicia

Easter Activities for Your Littles!

Here are a few fun things for you to do (or get) with your littles this Easter season! • Bible for Kids App (by YouVersion) Have you downloaded this app yet?!! It's amazing. It's an interactive Bible story app for children. It reads through important stories from the Bible, and each story has interactive images and pages for your little ones to learn. It's great for toddlers, and older children. They have quizzes to reinforce the story for older children. It's awesome, and my 15 month old twins love it!

It would be great to go through the Easter story with this interactive app! .... it's FREE!

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Edible Painting I love all things crafts! Here's a cute one that your kids would love! (who wouldn't want to paint their food?!) http://www.skiptomylou.org/2010/06/21/food-painting-with-living-locurto/

Living_Locurto_Painted_Food

M&M & Poem (treats to hand out to friends and family) Check out this poem someone wrote about Jesus and the Easter story, to go along with some M&M's. Super cute for kids to give out to their friends and family! http://ministry-to-children.com/easter-poem/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+Ministry-To-Children+(Ministry-To-Children)

Do you have any Easter traditions or activities you do each year? Please share them with us!