Saturday, May 26, 2012

Deciding how to homeschool

No matter how I choose to homeschool Cooper, someone will think I am doing it wrong.

I've been reading lots of homeschooling books lately, and that seems to be my consensus.

The classical education people think I should be teaching Latin and reading Cicero to my kindergartner. Not that's there's anything wrong with that.

The unschoolers think that workbooks and structured, parent chosen learning experiences will crush the love of learning out of your children. There's something wrong with that (the crushing part, not their philosophy.) You can imagine how well these people get along with the classical education types.

Charlotte Mason thinks I should be spending hours outside everyday, regardless of the weather (easier said in England than in Idaho, lady) and not allowing our children to read "twaddle." But if reading Cars books is going to get my child to read, is that so wrong?

Then there is delight-driven learning, and unit studies, and notebooking and lapbooking and workboxes and Waldorf and Montessori and Thomas Jefferson Leadership and the whole range of Christian/secular debates and comprehensive versus eclectic and three learning styles and five learning personalities and eight types of intelligence and

And my head just exploded.

And that doesn't even get into the whole educating a kid who has ADHD stuff (fidget toys! sensory pillows! no fluorescent lighting! face him away from the window or close the curtains!) that I am trying to deal with, too.

So, I am developing a mantra:

I am educating my child, not a hypothetical child.
What matters is what works for my child, not what someone else says should work.
You are trained as a scientist, view this as an experiment. Make a lab notebook. (Bonus: new notebook!)
If it doesn't work, I can change it.
If it doesn't work, I can change it.
If it doesn't work, I can change it.


Anonymous said...

Do they really want you to teach latin in kindergarten? We don't start our students on Latin until 5th grade. They do learn ancient history but that's because our curriculum moves chronologically from ancient (including egypt/mesopotamia) to classical (greek and latin) and then medieval and modern Europe before American history. Just like a western civilization sequence.

Anyway. Weird.

Anonymous said...

and of course you're right. one of the valauble things about homeschooling is your ability to adjust as you need.

EmmaNadine said...

I can't remember when they want you to teach Latin. They do want you reading Cicero to your kid in Kindergarten.

Do you do the ancient to American sequence multiple times as they go from k-12? I like the idea of a classical education, I mean, I teach Plato and Aristotle for a living, and have a crush on Marsiglio de Padua, but I also want him to have time to do things like draw and play and yeah... There's always something, right?

Becca said...

That is the very reason I refuse to read those books. And when people ask me what kind of homeschooler I am, I tell them, "I don't know. I do whatever works today."

Honestly, when I finally let go of the first-year-homeschooler anxiety, I sat down and said, "When my kid enters college, what do I want him to know and what do I want him to know how to do?" I made a list. It included things like cooking and mending clothes as well as reading, writing essays, looking at media critically, and the "generals," etc. Then I asked, "How do I get him there?" and we went from there.

There is no philosophy in that other than "Let's get this kid educated using his talents and mine, and working around both of our weaknesses."

Tim reminds me often that we do have the right to receive revelation regarding our children, so we often pray about homeschooling. It works great.

Trust yourself. You'll do fine. I mean, really, if you thought someone else's educational philosophy was going to best for your little one, you could have left him in public school! The point is that you can do better. So YOU do it. And so will he.

Sarah said...

I'm glad you came up with your mantra, otherwise I was going to have to say it to you, and you know how you hate listening to your big sister tell you what to do :) You can do it, and if it doesn't work. You can change it. Also, you must get a new pen to go with the new notebook!

EmmaNadine said...

And the new pen and the new notebook must be purple!

Sarah said...

Well of course purple. That just goes without saying.

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