Child, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend

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I love the Lord as much as a broken person can; love and loved by my husband; blessed by 5 amazing little people who have helped me to learn much about me; grateful to serve even more as God gives them to me; blessed every day to be a home school teacher; college student; I hope to change the world by loving as many people as possible, because there is nothing greater than loving another.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How Home Schooling Has Changed Over the Years

Another stirring thread over at the Well Trained Mind Forums:

I started my home schooling journey by knowing lovely families who home schooled. I grabbed a few books and compared home school to private and public education. I was the girl, who debated Against home schooling in college (a sociology class req’d for education majors) so I needed to be convinced I could provide a solid education; although, I was already witnessing the social education from the families I mentioned, and those results where great. I was overly confident in my abilities b/c I knew I was a good teacher, although I started my family and did not finish school, I knew it was “in” me. Reality check -- I had no idea what I was in for and over time, two things that have greatly changed are my levels of judgement and humility: they’ve kind of switched places. I’m much less judgemental and a lot more humble!

My very first experiences were with a troubled nephew, pulled from public school, and dropped off with me. We went box…6th and 7th grade Alpha Omega…something I would Never do now. I have formed the opinion that boxes are a nice start. They give one a chance at structure and give you a glimpse that home schooling is real work. They’ll get the job done and cover all the topic areas. After a while, though, as you grow, or at least as I grew, the box is too confining and I need to spread my wings…and as my dc entered the schooling picture, I soon realized the box was not for them, either. (I know it IS for others, so no offense if ymv)

A friend whose three boys, ages 6-11, home schooled and passed on to me a ton of great stuff – not that I knew what I had: SWR, KONOS, and a ton of Abeka. (I sold the KONOS yellow book for $2?!?!) I started with 100EZL, Abeka, a home school support group, and a boy who wasn’t really to start school. We, both my eldest and I, cried a lot that first year. If only I knew the great advice so often heard today…RELAX. Heck, we cried enough the second year too. I was so concerned with outdoing the public school system, that I paid little to no attention to the clues of my student. I was simply schooling at home. That has changed a great deal.

While I still have a core I follow, I am much more attentive to the needs of each student. Those needs are about subject matter, learning style, independent passions, and the need to have life outside of school. My Type-A personality has a tendency to dive right in and be ALL about whatever I’m doing. I have over-schooled to all of our detriment. I am learning, and practicing still, that life goes beyond home schooling and some day, I want us to have a relationship beyond books and numbers. Overall, we’re fairing well there, but I have to keep myself in check so I don’t send us off balance. Who you are as a single person (type A or not) is not the same as who you are as a mother or teacher. In the same respect, who you are as a young mother, may very well change by the time you have teens. It’s not so much that you can’t meet your expectations or that you’ve suddenly become a realist; it’s more that you have changed, but in your mind’s eye, you still see that person from a while back. (OP) You have evolved, you just haven’t accepted it.  It took me a while to allow myself to live in that change without fear, guilt, shame, confusion, dread, etc..

          As a home schooler, I have realized and received confirmation from many home schoolers that it takes about three years to find your groove in home schooling, to figure out who you are. The thing is, you don’t stop there b/c you will keep growing and you children may not be you…ouch. That hurts, doesn’t it? Just b/c I read The Well Trained Mind and said, “That’s me! I finally found out who I am as a teacher!” didn’t mean it’s who my children were or are.  That has led to many times of strife, mostly b/c I’m stubborn and a lil’ slow sometimes at seeing beyond myself. At this point in our schooling, I still balance from totally following TWTM, to doing a generally classic education, with strong flavors of Charlotte Mason in the early years, and the allotment for personal joy, growth, development, and style in the later years. One day you’re cruising along in early elementary school, the next, you’re trying to figure out which Algebra program best suits each of your children. The growth is so far beyond academic…something Really hard to believe as a young home schooler whose consumed with the K-8 boards to find just the right line up…the growth is a part of who you are, who your children are, and who you all hope to be. Really be, not just what you’ve read, who you’ve studied, how well you score on tests or at what level your child is entering college. Initially, there is no way I could fathom that, now I own it…even if I forget its sittin’ on the shelf some days J

So, who I was, was who I needed to be. Like someone else mentioned, we giggle now when we see the newbies stressing about 2nd grade. At this point, we’re also laughing at who we used to be --- that mom stressed about 2nd grade. At some point, what I used was what I was given or found, but who I am now is a master teacher, confident, forever growing, always changing, full of confidence, patience, lesson plans, ideas, I am sure I can take care of K-8; however, at the same time, I’m  avoiding the high school board b/c I’m a big chicken, shakin’ in my boots about high school, wondering if I’ll have them ready for college, trying to stay classical, but offering more choice and freedom to my young men, and rising young lady….and I’ll bet there’s a mom over there giggling at me J Rightfully, so, she’s earned that passing grin, I’m sure of it!

So, you see, it’s less about how much you’ll change materials and more about how much you’ll grow. I imagine the majority of us will change a great deal, the question is…will you get better? Will you build solid people, as well as, solid students? Can you get past yourself in order to better serve your children (I’m also lazy, type-a, selfish, scared, sometimes just crazy!)? It appears, from the wonderful community here, that the answer to each of these questions is positive, and in the end, it doesn’t matter What we use, but How Well we use it, both spiritually and academically.


Jesse, said...


So true, so true!! The pressure we put on ourselves to be something else is overwhelming as a homeschooling mama. I'm mentally going through a metamorphisis of sorts (again?!) on who I am as a teacher, mom, wife and what my expectations are for myself and children. I'm working very hard on the "how well we use it" part of our homeschool and focusing lesson the "what we use". Shopping/researching is so much easier than actually implementing, adjusting and doing though!! LOL

Free Spirit said...

Very nice and well said. And all true.


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