Thursday, August 9, 2012

Homeschooling ~ How We Roll Part 3

Talk about blogging procrastination!! It's finally here (as if you've been waiting for it your whole life *ahem*), part three of my reflections on our homeschool life.  Here are the links for Part 1 (why we do it) and Part 2 (how we do it) if you missed those.
This final chapter is a revelation of the fruits, some anticipated, some unexpected, that we have experienced in the past seven years of homeschooling.  While every family who chooses to educate in this form has an experience entirely their own, I hope that you will find at least a few of our reflections encouraging - especially if you are considering the homeschool pathway.

1.  As the primary educator in our home, I speak with great emphasis when I say that it has been a PRIVILEGE and a JOY to be a part of my children's formation and growth, intellectually, spiritually, physically and socially.  It really is a gift to be the person who gets to see how your child learns, how they think, process life and information, solve problems and how they are even, at times, amazed and inspired by what they are learning.
2.  Our children have become thoughtful, independent learners. A positive result of obtaining strong reading comprehension skills is that they can follow instructions.  This strength lends itself to a child naturally wanting to "figure things out" on their own whether it be within the realm of school work or following a manual for assembling something for the home.  They love being able to do things on their own, and so do I!

3.  Educating at home lends itself toward a great deal of conversation based teaching and learning.  Our daily activities inside and out of the classroom present opportunities for discussion about the how, when, why and what's of the world around us.  One-on-one discussions with the kids helps me to gauge (outside of a test or worksheet) what they know and don't know, and how their understanding of subject matter is coming along.  This is so much fun for me - it's like a little window into their minds.  I love knowing what's going on in there!

4.  Tagging on to #3, I can personally see what each of my child's learning styles, strengths and weaknesses are, and make changes to my teaching style accordingly. The boys are primarily visual and kinesthetic learners.  Knowing this allows me to maximize their learning potential by preparing my teaching methods accordingly.
5.  Younger siblings are a part of our classroom.  No matter what a child's age or grade level, they are integrated into the school day.  I am always amazed at how much they pick up on just by sitting on the floor and playing or coloring at the table with us.  By the time their more serious book work or learning to read arrives, they are already prepped for the "idea" of being taught, which is so nice!  The older siblings become little teachers too, and can work on simple lessons or hands-on activities with the younger ones.

6.  Many people have commented to me over the years that I am homeschooling to "shelter"my kids. You know what? To a certain degree, they are right.  It's not the singular reason for homeschooling as much as it is a gift of homeschooling.  You get to be the PRIMARY educator.  I, as their teacher see my children as a whole person.  I'm not just serving their intellect, but their souls as well.  If I get to be the one who guides them in their character and faith formation, especially during the formative years, then yes, they are going to be sheltered from many things - things that have no business being a part of a young child's upbringing.
7.  To add just a bit to #6...Not everyone who homeschools is of a particular religious mind.  But, for those of us who are, a great fruit that I have experienced over the years has been the weaving of our Catholic faith into the daily rhythm of life.  Our life in Christ is woven into everything from chores to study to sports to mealtime.  Our faith, then, has become not just a Sunday experience, but a daily, natural way of life.  It is real and it is beautiful.

8. I get to decide what my kids learn and when - this includes sex education and drugs and alcohol education.  (Parents often think that others, not they themselves, know what's best for their child. They give up the credit and the responsibility for deciding themselves much too easily.) Every year I print out the state's list of standards for each grade.  These standards are met or exceeded every year - BUT, I get to decide how it gets done.  I am not bound by someone else's textbook or testing requirements.  I have the freedom, as their parent, (one that is taken seriously) to design the curriculum each year, one that maximizes their own personal interests and learning styles.
9.  Educating at home can be very efficient. Because we don't have fire drills, lunch count, lining up between recesses, etc., our quality learning time is interrupted less frequently than in a regular classroom.  Yes, we do get interruptions, but they don't usually halt the learning process - the kids can continue to work on their own, or if they need my help and I am tending to another need, they know that they can move on to a subject that allows them to work independently.  This type of efficiency gives the kids more time do to the things they love - sports, music practice, exploring outdoors, crafting and reading.

10.  Finally, and I will end here, or else this list may go on forever: the relationships that are being built within the home are strong and fruitful.  Yes, our kids have friends and plenty of time to socialize with others.  But, the nature of working together with a common goal (education of the child) is that communication and relationships between siblings and parents are strengthened, unified and loving. Those positive relational characteristics translate outside of our home.  When the boys are being instructed by other adults, taking lessons or playing sports, their willingness to listen and to behave respectfully toward others is a result of the formation they have received at home.

I will never regret this time that I've had with my children.  Is it perfect? Nope. Are my kids perfect? Close. (Ha! Just kidding!) Yes, it is a sacrifice to choose this path of learning for my children, but no great sacrifice comes without its rewards, and I wanted to share those rewards with you, in hopes that you might find them encouraging and inspiring.


  1. BEST.POST.YET! Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Susan...I just read all three parts tonight and what a beautiful "entry" into my journey with homeschooling another year. Thank you for giving me some practical tips, and inspiring me with your pictures of your beautiful family. Dan and I are still hoping to make it out to visit the "husband family" soon. God Bless you guys! much love

  3. Beautiful! Thank you for this series!

  4. Finding you via Bonnie tonight, and entering my first year of homeschooling - this is feeding me so! Thank you! Love the few posts I've viewed on your blog! (And the Sara Groves song!) <3


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