I am intrigued by how children learn. Adults cannot force a child to learn. The child has to want to learn something and this happens when they’re ready. I’ve always been a child-led homeschooler imbued with a strong unschooling philosophy. I began this journey 5 years ago with the thought that kids are a lot smarter than we think. They don’t need to be threatened, punished, or rewarded when it comes to learning. They just learn.
In my opinion, the parents’ job in homeschooling, is to be there answering any and all questions - looking up what you don’t know. It’s to provide as many resources, experiences, and opportunities to your children as you can. It's to offer help, advice, and guidance and to foster their interests. It’s to listen to their needs and find the joy in their wants.
My preferred homeschool method is based on lists of my children’s favorite things to do. That has always been the underlying curriculum for them - their own choices. Both of my homeschoolers love workbooks, and science, and documentaries, and history projects, and Readalouds, and poems, and word games, and nature, and museums, and doing research, and making their own connections to everything they encounter in life. Allowing my children to do what they enjoy has been incredibly effective.
J is in 8th grade and has been following her interests and passions since she started homeschooling in 3rd grade. She regained her love of learning after it was so obviously squelched by public schooling. She went from constant indifference and a helpless, defeated attitude to an eager, independent learner who was so excited about the world - in less than a year at home. Now, at 13, she still does only what she loves. Her choices have always centered around the academic, which I believe would be the case for most children who are really free to choose, and also around dance. Now that J is choosing to experience high school, the stars lined up perfectly for her as her new school centers around what she loves.
W is an amazing 3rd grader. Homeschooling for him has been so perfect and fits his personality. He is full of energy, ideas, curiosity, enthusiasm, and determination. He’s a natural at arithmetic and loves history and science. And he loves reading. He overcame a huge reading block, mostly on his own with lots of encouragement, and is now surpassing grade level. He is outgoing and confident and loves his life.
K is doing well in high school. She’s going on a college overnight in a couple of days and can’t wait. The year she was homeschooled still resonates today. She’s definitely a better person for it. Over that year she let go of the middle school angst and learned who she was. That sense of self and great confidence she gained has stayed with her. She’s coming up on her last year of high school and is looking forward to college.
Homeschooling has opened up the world to my kids. They are really learning. They are happy, smart, full of enthusiasm, outgoing, and such a pleasure to be around. For anyone struggling with the homeschool decision, I want to tell you it is a beautiful thing.