Free-Range Kids

24 Jun

So many people have asked me about homeschooling.  I always have a lot to say.  My awesome writer/blogger sis says that posts have to be less than 200 words or I lose people’s attention.  Well.  I already used 33 so I better get to the point.

No need to list the drawbacks of homeschooling your children.  Every time I had a hard minute, those would go through my mind like a flip-book and I would second guess everything.  Allow me to highlight the amazing benefits and blessings I found in schooling my children from home.

My children learned to learn independently.  From this early age, they are not merely spoon-fed what they need to know, and it has led them to take ownership and pride in their lessons.

I didn’t surrender my house to make it look like a kindergarten classroom!  That is not my style.  I did figure out ways to use visual aids and other classroom-type necessities, and at the end of the day, the house still looked like a house!  You do not have to literally make a classroom out of the dining room for it to be a good experience.  (Although some people do-and it can look fantastic. )

I have an insatiable appetite for “me-time.”  No matter how much time I have to myself, I still crave it.  I have come to realize that it is never going to be enough.  It was actually pretty freeing to embrace togetherness, figure out how to make it work for me, and to be content in our togetherness-circumstances.  I love that we are all doing life as a family, and working hard on our relationships with one another.

Sibling bonds have strengthened throughout the year.  For the most part they have truly enjoyed each other’s friendship, and that is not time they would otherwise have together.

They play outside a lot.  They also get as much library time as they need…unlimited access to all it has to offer.  They get as much education time on the computer as they need…no lines, sign in sheets, or canned programs.  Of course they are still supervised :).  Lunchtime was relaxing, not controlled.  We often did “listening lunch” where I would read to them while they ate, and it was a great way to keep their ears open and their minds ready to absorb.

– My children are learning to take initiative in our daily household operations.  The longer the child is in the home, the more time they have to internalize their role in the family, and in life in general.  My kids are taking pride in being a member of our awesome team.  They feel important knowing they have a valuable impact in our family, and that their personal contributions make for a better place for all of us.

-They have been able to spend time on the subjects that interest them the most.  These days, resources abound on the internet that provide learning enrichment.  As their passions develop, learning seems to come naturally.  They want to read and talk more about it, which lends itself to writing and drawing about it, which lends itself to crafts and projects, sometimes field trips.

A few sites that I found to be helpful in our journey:

The Wonder of the Day
The Bird of the Day
Math Fact Fluency
White Rock Eagle Cam
First Grade Ideas on Pinterest

I don’t know what is going to happen this fall, and I don’t have a lot of time to decide.  I think I would like to compare a year of public school just to see if there seems to be a difference for us…I don’t know.

I have a lot of praying to do!  And so much for 200 words!
Leigh

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10 Responses to “Free-Range Kids”

  1. michelle post June 24, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    Love this Leigh! You articulate my thoughts on so many subjects- you’re truly gifted with words of expression! Thanks for keeping to the positive focus on homeschooling- although I share your similar line of thought that we may just experiment with public school this year. Well said!

  2. Anonymous June 25, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    Well said Leigh! I couldn’t have said it better myself!

  3. Melissa Kinsey Garrison June 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    I have truely missed homeschooling mine the last half of this year. I thought I’d have more time to just relax a little but the demands of public school seem to be even higher than homeschooling. I have definitely seen a difference in the attitude of my daughter towards us, her parents, and her siblings. I’m still debating next year. I had planned on letting her stay in and let Rose go to Kindergarten, then we’ll move and I’ll pick it back up but I honestly feel like I’m not following my heart. I love all your positive reasons for homeschooling!

    • the PRIME pursuit June 25, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

      Melissa, what are some of the unexpected demands of the public school system?! Follow your heart. This is a really hard decision with so many pros and cons on both sides. thanks for reading! where are you moving?

      • Melissa Kinsey Garrison June 26, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

        Just wrote you back on fb. We believe we are moving to the Maryland area. Roy would like to get Ft. Meade b/c it is about 10 min. from where he grew up and his family. We put our wishes in about a month ago so we are still waiting to hear. I know we are supposed to be done with this duty station between 6 months and a year from now. 🙂

  4. Ann July 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    Leigh, do you have any favorite homeschool sites for kindergarten? I really like Mrs. Gilchrist’s blog but we aren’t quite to that level yet 🙂

    • the PRIME pursuit July 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

      Ann, are you talking about sites that provide curriculum, or sites that my kindergartener liked to visit? i will compile a list

      • Ann July 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

        Sites that your Kindergartener liked to visit or that you used for ideas. I’m not looking to buy curriculum but rather to find some ideas of things to do 🙂

      • the PRIME pursuit July 12, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

        Besides the sites I listed above in the post, we used a lot of the following:
        http://www.starfall.com
        http://www.pbskids.com
        http://www.raz-kids.com (you have to pay for this reading comprehension site, and it is for children already reading.)
        http://www.learninggamesforkids.com
        http://www.funbrain.com/FBSearch.php?Grade=K

        These sites are supplemental. I did not get super project/crafty with my kids. They came up with a lot of their own “ideas” that I would then try to facilitate. Last year, I went ahead bought a curriculum with fantastic developmental activites suggested weekly. Nothing fancy–just suggestions that I wouldn’t necessarily think of on my own (for instance, organize a drawer together, teach them to set the table, cutting practice, make a simple mobile, paper mache puppets *yuck*, etc).

        Library time was the most valuable of all of our learning. They are such curious sponges at 5 and 6. I learned not to worry if the book seemed too “easy” for them, because their curiosity was fed by hearing and seeing what they wanted to hear about. When you take your kids to the library, they get to see and put their hands on books that they would not necessarily get a chance to see in a public school setting, because the Librarian or teacher selects books for them–its more controlled and not based on their personal interests. Read read read to them and it will become obvious to you the direction you can take your craft/project ideas.

        This was probably TMI but I am just spewing off the top of my head!

  5. the PRIME pursuit July 20, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    One last comment. This is a fantastic free website that offers math lessons all the way from 1+1 to algebra, and calculus, and beyond… it is delivered to adults, but is a great supplement for HOW to teach math, how to convey the concepts. Great tool.

    http://www.khanacademy.org/math/arithmetic/addition-subtraction

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