Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Some of What I Didn't Say About Homeschooling

Someone just asked me about homeschooling, like how you do it legally, who checks up on you, and whatnot.  I sometimes get a bit defensive in those situations and just present the facts--about how we are indeed complying with the law and not neglecting to prepare our kids for life in the "real world."

I also had not mentioned in my last post how great homeschooling can be. So here are some of the things I like about it. I don't think everyone should homeschool, and I don't ever try to talk anyone into it.

Homeschooling is cool partly because I get to learn right alongside my kids and, not being a kid anymore, I actually like to learn things.  For instance, I never really learned grammar in school and think it's important, so we are learning grammar.  That is my idea of fun, which proves I am a real teacher.  We also read poetry aloud and sing hymns together, which the boys like too, believe it or not.  I do afflict them with writing assignments, but often they get off easy with letters to relatives.

History is one of my favorite subjects.  Included in that is a lot of geography, because you have to know where you are talking about to understand what is going on.  My kids know basic world geography better in elementary school than I did as a college grad. We started world history three years ago, from the beginning of human civilization. We have worked our way chronologically to where we are now, at the American Revolution.  I think it makes sense to do it this way.  When we reach the present, we will start back at the beginning again and see what we've forgotten!

All my sons are good at math.  Because we homeschool, I can keep them right where they are pushing their limits.  John is two years ahead in math, but not in other subjects.  In fact we are still finishing last year's grammar book (it's hard).  I love that flexibility.  For science, we plowed through a couple of textbooks already this year and are now checking out library books on subjects of interest.  I don't know if it's true of everyone, but one thing we've learned about science experiments is that they frequently don't work!  Which is a part of real research, I'm guessing.

We touch on some foreign language.  For Spanish, I read a daily page out of a story Bible en espanol, and John tries to translate it into English.  John & I are also learning Greek, very very slowly.  I want us to be able to read the New Testament in its original language.  For art I mostly torture them with making them draw what they see, but we do the obligatory clay pots, tempera paintings... For music I teach them piano, which is the hugest test on my patience. 

P.E. is essential when you have boys.  I always make sure they get that in!  They get some of that "social interaction with their peers" people are always freaking out about on sports teams, and at church.  And though I do count church as part of their school, we also do Bible as a subject at home.

I read them a good story Bible.  It is pretty thorough and has gone along well with our chronological study of history.  We also memorize sections of Scripture together, like Psalms 23 and 100.  That is a great thing to do. I highly recommend it.  And John is reading through the Bible on his own now.  He is in Joshua, and insisted on reading right through all the genealogies, etc. in the previous books, though I told him he could skim.  

Aside from all the academics, it is enjoyable just being together.  We are never rushed or hurried with our schoolwork, unless I am out of my mind, which sometimes I am.  It's nice now to have the internet whenever we have a question.  And there are many other homeschoolers doing different interesting things, pursuing them in ways that homeschooling especially allows.

Being around other homeschoolers keeps us challenged and encouraged. We are some of the most laid-back homeschoolers I know, and we probably need to work on that.  But I know what for me is the main thing.  And I'm keeping that the focus.

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