I titled this post “Things I wish I had known when I started homeschooling all those years ago”. This is obviously not a quote from me since I’ve only been homeschooling for just over a year whilst the mumma who wrote the post I’ve linked to has been homeschooling for years – I’m not sure how many but she’s been a mother for 22 years apparently (also a lot more than my 8 years!)
I am writing this post whilst I wait for my Coursera Wesleyan University ‘The Ancient Greeks’ course to download, lecture by lecture. I haven’t been able to finish the course in the time allotted so I’m having to download the lectures I’ve missed to be watched, well, soon I hope and not just shelved (or rather just left to languish on my laptop)! I was about halfway through the course, so it would be a shame not to finish it. I didn’t start it in time so I can’t get a certificate, but I’m no more believer in certificates for myself as a badge of learning than I do for my kids, so I’m not shedding any tears.
I particularly like the following points in ‘Busy Homeschool Mum’s’ post:
Point 4 – “Character training always comes before curriculum”. I am BIG on this. I don’t even follow a curriculum but even if I did, I would put helping the kids develop character traits before everything. Again today I was complimented on how well behaved they are and how Edward is “like a little man”, the way he goes up to people, looks them in the eye, shakes their hand and introduces himself. Petra, at age 4, is starting to follow his lead. How nice for big brother to set such a great example. The complimenter went on to say that it was so great for him to have such amazing interpersonal skills and that they will stand him in such great stead when he’s older (I think they already do). I agreed that interpersonal skills were very important and that they are so hard to teach as people get older whilst technical skills etc.. were much more easily so. I feel blessed to have such an outgoing, confident child and that Hubby and I have encouraged him to follow this natural inclination of his.
I realized that contributing to developing the best in the kids’ characters is more important to me than anything when I was in a schools supply store the other day (the first time I’ve ever been in one, at once an exciting and overwhelming experience that made me on the one hand run for the hills with feelings of teaching inadequacy whilst also wanting to buy up the whole store!) I was thumbing through their huge selection of wall posters which, as you can imagine, ‘teach’ all sorts of amazing facts on a huge array of subjects. But what did I come out with? One on ‘Responsibility/ Character Counts!’ and one on ‘Roman Numerals’ (which my son is really interested in learning and which I could do with brushing up on!) I mean – do I REALLY need a poster that reminds my kids that ‘Character Counts’ when this is something I do try to impress on them in many little ways every day? Well, I couldn’t bear to leave without it (lucky it was on sale!) and I was sorely tempted to buy several others of its ilk. The experience reminded me that if this is important to me, not to let curriculum or other ‘school at home’ type learning get in the way of enjoying these learning experiences with my children and thinking up new ways for my kids to practice important ‘character traits’ or whatever the better phrase is that I can’t think of just now!!
As a unschooler, I am also a big fan of point number 9, “I’m homeschooling, not trying to do “school at home”. There really is a difference.” Even for those following a curriculum, I strongly agree that you don’t need to make homeschooling anything like home. There is always time for your kids to get up in a much more leisurely manner and eat a healthy, homecooked breakfast. There is always time for a short break when the need arises. There is always time to tweak the schedule to fit in valuable family visits or other special events. The list goes on!
I like Point 13, “It really does go by as fast as “they” say so now is a good time to think about what I want the homeschool years to accomplish. In other words, what kind of children do I want to raise?” I do think about this a lot but I could do with thinking about it, especially now that I’ve homeschooled for just over a year and have more of a handle on it, exactly what this means on a daily basis in terms of what I need to introduce to the kids in terms of e.g. critical thinking opportunities.
I also like the reminder to be the person you want your kids to see. You need to model for them. This is more powerful than what you say. I also do think about this regularly but I can of course improve!
I hope ‘The Busy Homeschool Mom’s’ post was as inspiring for you as it was for me; very important reminders.