Continuing my mini series about getting to know me and the things that make me happy... one of the greatest blessings in my life right now is homeschooling. I get a lot of the same comments and questions. Mostly "You must be so patient" and "Why do you homeschool?".
So here are a couple little tidbits into what we do and why we do it. I've been homeschooling a very short time and know hardly anything about it. But I have learned a lot and really am enjoying this journey.
First of all... I am not always so patient. It's a habit we're all working on. Homeschooling is not just me dumping info into my child's empty brain-box. We are all (dad included) learning and growing and becoming better humans. It's part of the program. We pick a habit and work on it. Sometimes it's patience and when that is mastered (or close enough) we pick a new one. For my middle (only 4 years old) I've been working on not dawdling. For the baby (2 years old) it's obedience.
This comes from the wisdom of Charlotte Mason and her emphasis on cultivating good habits.
So the infamous question I dread most: Why do you homeschool?
Well, it's not because of the public school system. It's not horrible and it's not amazing. I really am pretty neutral on public schools. There are pros and cons to every decision (homeschooling included) and it's up to each family to make the decision that works best for them.
It's actually Charlotte's philosophy that hooked me. Her focus was on effort and character. The goal is always growth and that is something that each child can attain in their way. Some grow faster in mathematics, some in handiworks. It is all about taking the next step.
Isn't that half the battle when we are down, dear friends? Taking the next step? Ugh, I know when I am just not feeling it on a given day and need a little umph that it feels so very good to accomplish something. Clean the bathroom, cut some fabric, plan the dinner for that night.
When my kiddos are breezing through a certain subject or lesson, life is good and they are feeling encouraged. I am so happy to be there and see those light-bulb moments and share in a high-five. Ice cream for lunch after getting everything correct on a math test!
But they also have those days of just not feeling it. Where we slog through a reading and meet limitations head on. Those are tough. There have been tears. But what a blessing it is that mama is there to comfort and encourage. My hope is that we have built an atmosphere that fosters love and learning. Those habits we've worked on (patience, endurance, effort) really kick in at these times and the fruit of our labor is intense.
So in answer to the question WHY, it is all about effort and character. God has blessed me with these three little people to grow and train up. A typical school day consists of your normal subjects but a lot also happens in the periphery. When the baby is getting potty trained and I just can't get there in time, the two big sisters are expected to jump in and help out. They prepare simple snacks and even get their own breakfasts at times.
They have learned to problem solve on their own and seek an answer to their curiosities. Sometimes that answer comes weeks later. Charlotte advised the mama not to supply an answer to every question. Let them ponder. Let them explore. So much happens when a child is able to think on their own.
One of my favorite aspects that is special to a Charlotte Mason education is her emphasis on nature study. She suggested 4-6 hours of outdoor time every single day. We do not get near that but it is a goal to get outside. Period. Once we're out we have no problem staying out. But like running, I have to make it my goal to put on my shoes and go out. THEN take the next step.
Today... take the next step! Put forth good effort! Do your best!