Is your homeschooling how you envisioned it?

Drawing posts for her garden.
Planting the posts in her garden

Mom, dad, and sister...she's sharing her garden with her
This bird stumped on me while weeding
Our dog harmed it...I don't know if it survived, poor thing
My oldest spotted this caterpillar
 

Lately I want to write about lots of things and about nothing at all. Sometimes I feel as if I wanted to convince others to conduct their homeschooling in the same way we do, but that's not my desire, I truly think it's legitimate and necessary to think and to do things differently.

I'd like to share my limited experience with my daughters, close to six and three and a half. I have no doubt that my girls are making progress, they are learning, developing as happy well rounded children, and for now we don't think about changing our life style. Every time we choose, we leave other options out, such as their experience of meeting different teachers and staff members in schools and them meeting my daughters, the visits to their classrooms, buying school supplies every new school year, the celebrations, festivals, field trips, projects, events, challenges, meeting other children and moms, etc. Even though that option is not as optimal as homeschooling them, it will always be the 'other side', the unknown, that which we have renounced. Even when you homeschool, there are so many different ways of doing this that our adventure will be particular to us and others won't be able to replicate it in all its authenticity.

In other words, which is the fiber that composes our experience? Many of you already know that so far we don't propose formal or structured academics for the children at an early age. However, it's difficult to explain we are formal and structured people in other areas, such as discipline, habits, health, our faith, our life without TV (only for an occasional DVD or VHS). But I don't know if I have explained why we believe this, or given our reasons for this type of homeschooling. We do this because my girls, the oldest in particular, is very reticent to me guiding her learning. Since they explore things on their own, I want to be careful with their environment and know they have wholesome choices, as Heather does too. We were talking about this and she also was thinking about writing a post to inspire or share with others why she does what she does in her family. In our case, if I propose some craft, specially artistic craft, pretty much they tag alone, though they always modify it to do it their way. But it's them, specially the oldest, the one who finishes everything she has suggested herself. It's better, as Heather's mom said, if we just leave things around that are wholesome and interesting, and we wait for them to eat the 'bait' and start learning about that topic. I also tell them sometimes I'm going to read aloud something just for me, and soon enough, they both come like flies to a pie to hear it. If I want them to write, I sit down and start writing myself, and sooner than later, they come to see what I'm doing and start writing themselves. To tell you the truth, both are creative, have good dexterity, the oldest has good handwriting, can read if she wants (again, I can't push too hard or she'll become discouraged), and that's why if I try to conduct the orchestra my 'musicians' start playing a different song!




Here you have an example in this picture. The youngest got the sticks they had picked before on one of our park days, and she started writing in "Chinese", the oldest did this kite after writing her name and other things with letters.

My homeschool is not how I envisioned it at this point. It's far better in many regards, but much less about me in other aspects. We are not the same, many families like to use a particular curriculum, workbooks, a schedule closer to school or fit for their needs. I still don't know if we'll ever evolve to that, I believe yes. I believe in a few years they will be more independent in their studies, and there will be tasks they will complete individually and that will have to be suggested by me (I plan to follow ambleside online, their suggested readings), and I'd like to keep that Charlotte Mason spirit that we have, and many things will be negotiable to some extent. But I think I'll always have to be mindful of their initiative and I'll keep proposing and throwing baits at them so they will continue being curious and making their own connections, suggesting their own ideas and being active in their learning. This approach is bearing fruits in our case, and for all those in the same junction in life, whichever your route everything will have tense moments, discussions, being upset, bad manners, accidents, desperation, doubts, boredom, tiredness, more doubts, answering back to be corrected, some yelling, wrong punishments, some contradictions with your spouse...and I usually don't take pictures of those times, LOL, so nothing is as good as it looks, but all in all, we continue our journey the way it is, even if we have to adjust our dreams of it to our daily reality.

13 opinion(s):

Jeanne said...

Your homeschooling looks perfect for your family - and that is the important thing really isn't it? It is funny. My homeschool day isn't as I envisaged it being either. Like you say, in some ways it is better; in other ways worse.

I hope that we will always follow a Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum; I hope we will always homeschool, but at the moment we say one day at a time. At the moment homeschooling suits us. At the moment I believe it is good for Jemimah. In five years, who knows?

I think I'll have to write a post about this as well. it has certainly got me thinking.

Renelle said...

I have been concerned that I talk & teach too much and am trying to guide it instead but I am finding it a bit difficut. But, I love the suggestion of suggesting to the children I'm going to read or write something now and the suggestion of leaving things in their path (as bait!)to be drawn into. Thanks for this post, most needed right now as we begin another term. It's got me thinking. What is right for us now I'm sure will change but I am already seeing the benefits of our CM homeschool in just 1 year. Blessings Renelle

Books For Breakfast said...

I love this! So good to see you relaxing. The youngest can write her name in Chinese? That's amazing.

Silvia said...

Jeanne: I'll love to hear what you have to say about this, if you ever write a post on it! And you are right, one step at a time, we can't predict the future and family needs and dynamics are always changing...(speaking of which, I'm sorry to hear about your dad).
I've told you this before but I could say it a million times and not get tired of it, your blog is an enormous inspiration. I do love the way you incorporate CM into your homeschooling, I enjoy what you share about life, books, trips, nutrition, home making...Thanks for showing us there is a way for each family and we can all find it.

Renelle: it's so great to have you chatting with us, another CM inspired mom that joins the club! Yes, this is a constant adjustment, isn't it? Before another term starts it's always a good time to reconsider and as you say ponder about what we did, what worked, what we'd like to see. I'm always reflecting about our life and learning. I do think that's an advantage we have over teachers in the public schools. I've been there and with all the bureaucracy there isn't enough time to give to the meat and bones of teaching. There are other advantages, but I believe homeschooling to be very personalized and the relationships we form are very strong and have a great good impact on our children.

Books for Breakfast (Heather) : I'm very grateful you came into our life when you did. The more I relax the more I see the girls thriving...and I don't know if that was her name LOL, she just thought that looked Chinese...nothing I could have made her do if I had wanted, that's for sure!

Thanks for all your comments.

Kim said...

Nice blog entry! It's great to have this freedom with our kids where we can do what works best for them and for our families. It's hard to figure out if they're getting all they need (academically speaking) but I do believe they are getting even more than we could imagine :)

Silvia said...

No doubt Kim, I think this freedom can be scary for some of us more than for others, but just seeing them and how they thrive, we should only recharge our faith in that, as you say, they are getting MORE THAN WE COULD IMAGINE...that's very TRUE. And I should say THEY are getting it THEMSELVES, nobody is artificially attaching it to their surface.

No Ordinary Me said...

I love to read and see by pictures how your days go. I mean the creativity from the girls and I respect your way.

All I can say is that I am a very stuctured person when it comes to school and I am learning from God and others to be a little more flexible. That would probably be where my struggles are in my expectations of our homeschooling.

I do know that it works well for my kids to some respect. I also listen and try to teach my kids according to who they are. For instance, ever since Ethan (oldest) was a baby he thrived on structure, learning, and doing. He loves school. Hannah (middle) she is my free spirit. Loves nature, loves to do things on her own pace, laid back in the learning area, Kyle (tot) he is in the middle of the road, but is SOOOO Hands ON!!!

So, I try to respect who they are when it comes to teaching them. I am trying to leave more free time for Hannah to continue her exploring on her own and free time for Kyle to be hands on all he wants.

I love your writings, you information you have on your site, I love your blog in general. Thanks for being a Great Blogger. I know it has nothing to do with the topic, but I wanted you to know.

Silvia said...

Chrissy (No Ordinary Me): You don't know how much your words mean to me. I guess we all like to hear compliments, but it's not just that, it's because they come from someone whom I respect and admire as well.
I feel the same about your blog, I love your pictures, your thoughts, the way you get organized. I believe that some children totally thrive, need and welcome structure, and that can also change to some extent. I know other moms with children like Ethan.
I see by many of your posts that you listen to your children, that you accommodate and also make them do those things that you consider important and necessary. I know you look and look to the curriculum that fits your family in a sensible and wise way.
I'm truly glad to be able to share, inspire and be inspired by others no matter how different or the same.
And as you say, this may not have to do with the topic, but THANKS FOR HAVING KEPT YOUR BLOG and continuing posting about all that your heart tells you to write about.

Silvia said...

...I forgot, Ethan is older than my oldest too, and things may change later on as I said I know that a child of seven is different to a child of five, with the same personality but then more formal time with books will be welcome. I'll hopefully blog about it :-)

Silvia said...

Chrissy (No Ordinary Me): You don't know how much your words mean to me. I guess we all like to hear compliments, but it's not just that, it's because they come from someone whom I respect and admire as well.
I feel the same about your blog, I love your pictures, your thoughts, the way you get organized. I believe that some children totally thrive, need and welcome structure, and that can also change to some extent. I know other moms with children like Ethan.
I see by many of your posts that you listen to your children, that you accommodate and also make them do those things that you consider important and necessary. I know you look and look to the curriculum that fits your family in a sensible and wise way.
I'm truly glad to be able to share, inspire and be inspired by others no matter how different or the same.
And as you say, this may not have to do with the topic, but THANKS FOR HAVING KEPT YOUR BLOG and continuing posting about all that your heart tells you to write about.

Silvia said...

Jeanne: I'll love to hear what you have to say about this, if you ever write a post on it! And you are right, one step at a time, we can't predict the future and family needs and dynamics are always changing...(speaking of which, I'm sorry to hear about your dad).
I've told you this before but I could say it a million times and not get tired of it, your blog is an enormous inspiration. I do love the way you incorporate CM into your homeschooling, I enjoy what you share about life, books, trips, nutrition, home making...Thanks for showing us there is a way for each family and we can all find it.

Renelle: it's so great to have you chatting with us, another CM inspired mom that joins the club! Yes, this is a constant adjustment, isn't it? Before another term starts it's always a good time to reconsider and as you say ponder about what we did, what worked, what we'd like to see. I'm always reflecting about our life and learning. I do think that's an advantage we have over teachers in the public schools. I've been there and with all the bureaucracy there isn't enough time to give to the meat and bones of teaching. There are other advantages, but I believe homeschooling to be very personalized and the relationships we form are very strong and have a great good impact on our children.

Books for Breakfast (Heather) : I'm very grateful you came into our life when you did. The more I relax the more I see the girls thriving...and I don't know if that was her name LOL, she just thought that looked Chinese...nothing I could have made her do if I had wanted, that's for sure!

Thanks for all your comments.

Renelle said...

I have been concerned that I talk & teach too much and am trying to guide it instead but I am finding it a bit difficut. But, I love the suggestion of suggesting to the children I'm going to read or write something now and the suggestion of leaving things in their path (as bait!)to be drawn into. Thanks for this post, most needed right now as we begin another term. It's got me thinking. What is right for us now I'm sure will change but I am already seeing the benefits of our CM homeschool in just 1 year. Blessings Renelle

Jeanne said...

Your homeschooling looks perfect for your family - and that is the important thing really isn't it? It is funny. My homeschool day isn't as I envisaged it being either. Like you say, in some ways it is better; in other ways worse.

I hope that we will always follow a Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum; I hope we will always homeschool, but at the moment we say one day at a time. At the moment homeschooling suits us. At the moment I believe it is good for Jemimah. In five years, who knows?

I think I'll have to write a post about this as well. it has certainly got me thinking.

 

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