Tag Archives: is homeschooling the right choice

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!

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When in Doubt…

14 May

There are varying ways doubt can creep into life.  We travel along our merry way, pretty sure we got it together!  Then out of nowhere, a thought occurs that all this hard work might not be worth it.  Or that it is unattainable.  Or a waste.

I have some pretty strong convictions.  Some anchor my faith.  Others guide my parenting, diet, lifestyle and relationships.  These guideposts help me to remain grounded and maintain healthy perspective when life gets messy.  Such messy times can cause doubt…loss of motivation to stay the course.  Recently I heard something that made sense on so many levels.  When you are faced with a crisis of belief: don’t doubt your faith, doubt your DOUBTS!

I sometimes doubt the paleo diet solely based on my current body composition.  Train of thought: I-don’t-have-a-six-pack-therefore-I-don’t-like-my-body-AND-no-one-will-think-that-a-clean-diet-is-desirable.  Crisis.  Anytime my mind starts going down that road, I have to push that doubt away, and remember the truths: eating clean has had a positive impact on my life even though I do not have a six-pack.  I feel fantastic, I am strong, and my children benefit from learning principles of healthy eating.

Secondly,  I sometimes doubt my decision to home school based on the thoughts that 1.  I am impatient 2.  horribly uncreative  3.  my children (and I) miss out on so many socialization opportunities.  Crisis.  I have to resolve to remember to pursue my purpose.  A few truths off the top of my head: they’ve learned HOW to learn from an early age, we’ve enjoyed the opportunity to explore what truly inspires them, and I’ve seen substantial development in their sibling bonds.

Those are just two of my personal examples.  There are many more, and it seems like I am in combat with them every day!  Doubt can surface in many forms, and it will trickle in.  (Sometimes it’s a fire hose.)  Is God who HE claims to be?  Am I who I claim to be?  Am I making the right choice in a given situation?  Am I living/eating/parenting/relating the right way?  Is all this hard work REALLY going to pay off?

I wish I had the gift of unshakable confidence.  I see now: it’s another character quality that grows through deliberate discipline.

Doubt, fear, guilt, cynicism, and division–all of them are such distractions.  They poison progress and success.  They are “lie-darts” flying in.  Constantly.   We must practice the art of shutting out the demeaning and the negative.

Upon infection with doubt and lies, we meet an instant decision point…to believe it and feel bad, or call it for what it is.  Paul, in Philippians, hit the nail on the head.  In my family it simply goes by “P4-8” .  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.    That statement is a gold nugget of truth for LIFE.  What a concise mantra to combat the lie-darts.

Don’t be discouraged in your struggle.  Remember to remember your passions.  Draw strength from those who have gone before you and done the same.  And be thankful for another day to walk with confidence.

P.S.  Anyone who REALLY knows me, knows I have a ton of motivation-reminder-note-cards all around my house.  They work.  Write a note to remind yourself WHY you are doing _____________ (<—insert your doubt thing).  Tape them into the inside of your pantry door.  Every time you feel the doubt-trickle, open that pantry door and look at your list.  Then say, “Yep.  this is worth it.”

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