We homeschoolers

Published by Lori Pickert on July 27, 2008 at 12:45 PM

A friend sent me a link to a blog where an excited homeschooling mom had listed the curriculum she’d purchased for the upcoming year — a list as long as my leg. Wow!

She delightedly said something to the tune of “this is how we homeschoolers do things!”

Of course, in truth, the homeschooling community is as diverse as America itself. There are many, many different ways to homeschool. “We homeschoolers” can’t be pigeon-holed.

The gleeful mom’s mile-long curriculum list made me smile. It reminded me of my diaper bag evolution. When my first son was born, I really would have been most comfortable if I’d had a diaper bag big enough to fit around the entire house so I could bring along absolutely anything I might need in case of emergency. By the time my second son was born, I could just stuff a disposable diaper in my pocket and grab my car keys.

That’s not to say that every homeschooler is evolving toward unschooling, but “we homeschoolers” do get more confident as we go along, no matter what methods and approaches we use. We trust ourselves and the process more, because you can’t help but be amazed by how much the kids themselves bring to the table, regardless of the materials we’ve gathered. Not to mention how much learning is just sitting outside the front door, waiting to be discovered.

I’ll be stuffing a field guide, a notebook, and a magnifying glass in my back pocket as we head out the door this fall. Because “we homeschoolers” know it’s an amazing world out there, chock-full of possibilities.

19 comments

Comment by kirsten on July 27, 2008 at 03:12 PM

you make a good point! as this is our 4th year homeschooling (wow!) i feel so much more comfortable and confident - and have to chuckle/sigh when i hear new homeschoolers talking about 'the right way' to do things, or a certain 'magic' curriculum.

Comment by Sam on July 27, 2008 at 03:14 PM

evolving toward unschooling..I love that. I've been reading about some people who already have their whole year planned out and I was starting to wonder if something is wrong with me:) I can't wait to see where the year will take us!

Comment by Annika on July 27, 2008 at 03:58 PM

It always baffles me when homeschoolers choose to do things just like school. Not that it's an invalid choice but part of me wonders what the point is of imitating the very thing you are trying to get away from.

Comment by IgnoreMeItsEasier on July 27, 2008 at 05:05 PM

Thanks - made me laugh too. We just attended our local Homeschooling Expo - not in search of curriculum, but in search of other opportunities and a few extras. It's astounding how many different and "best" ways are out there FOR SALE. It's overwhelming!

Between the internet, the local library, and the world around us who needs more?

AmyDe

Comment by estea on July 27, 2008 at 10:24 PM

YOU'RE BACK!

YAY x ∞

dude, i got way too lazy, cheap and tired trying to dutifully follow what i thought was The One True Way of h.s.

martyr mom? 0 dollars.

happy mom trusting her kids and her instincts? PRICELESS.

(lol over the diaper bag evolution. or perhaps... revolution?? when my first was born Those Bags were hideous mint green things covered with teddy bears and doled out for free by the formula companies. one look at those and i immediately traded in my teeny pre-kid purse for a slightly larger bright purple camo sportsac fully capable of carrying a diaper, 6 wipes in a ziploc and an ungodly amount of cheerios. i left a trail of the suckers wherever i went.)

so proud of you, you poster you.

xoxo

Comment by greenchickadee on July 28, 2008 at 03:09 AM

I have gotta tell ya, I chuckle at those first time moms with their massive bags lugged around too because by the time #2 came along, I was the same way.
And whhat an encouraging post about homeschooling. I wish everyone who is so discouraged in those first few months of schooling would read this, and realize that once you get over the "hump" it only gets better.

Glad you're posting again. We've missed ya!

Comment by kim on July 28, 2008 at 04:50 AM

So well said! How did you do that in so few words?

Comment by Shannon on July 28, 2008 at 01:44 PM

Good to see you back!

Comment by Stefani on July 28, 2008 at 03:32 PM

Hellloooooooo! So glad to see ya!

Ah yes... if I only had a dollar back on each tried and chucked curriculum that I thought would be the be all end all answer for my kids. If I could get back all those hours upon hours that I spent planning out calendars and lists that got sidelined when we took off down our (so much more interesting) bunny trails.

I guess it's just a road you have to travel down before you find your own path.

Much love to you, mama!

Comment by laeroport on July 28, 2008 at 04:31 PM

even though I have one child in montessori pre-school and one in public elementary, i love finding the teachable, unschooling moments to enrich and go beyond the experience of the classroom.

did a post or link of yours send me off to buy (ages ago) the book about raising calm and compassionate children? I am finally getting around to reading it and am enjoying it so much. And am heartened by the fact that so many of the suggestions in the books are things we do already. whew!

Mwwwwah!

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 28, 2008 at 08:21 PM

aw, hello friends, and thanks so much for the comments and welcome-backs! i apologize for wandering off ... you know how summer is. you see a snow cone truck, then you follow a butterfly, then an interesting cloud floats by .. and then you realize it's almost august and you forgot to post to your blog. ;^)

homeschooling is just one of those things (like raising kids?) that you always think you have a good handle on (*especially* right before you start!) and even as you're revising your old opinions, you *still* think you have a great handle on it -- you know, *now*. ;^) i just console myself with the thought that i am teaching my sons - daily - that it's most important to jump in with a good attitude, interesting experiences trump perfection, and if you aren't making mistakes you must not be accomplishing much. that's my story, and i'm sticking with it.

Comment by Cathy T on July 29, 2008 at 01:59 AM

I am reading John Stilgoe's book "Outside Lies Magic" - someone on another blog (forget who) recommended. Anyway, John writes in the first chapter how he, as a professor at Harvard, stopped giving out detailed lecture schedules so he and his students could "follow leads we discover while studying something else." I love it because that is how I have mostly evolved in my teaching of my kids. We are on year 10 and each year the kids have more personal freedom to explore their own topics of interest. Ah, homeschooling is great!

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 29, 2008 at 03:06 AM

cathy, what are you saying, you read other blogs?

just kidding. ;^)

i agree completely - overscheduling doesn't leave time for following those leads - that's pretty much my problem with regular school! and we have evolved in the same direction. :^)

i'm going to check out that book!

Comment by Sarah Jackson on July 29, 2008 at 06:00 AM

So true, Lori - even for those of us who do send our kids to school. We always are keeping eyes peeled and ears perked for those experiences that we just don't expect. And we're learning in our house that less is usually more, especially when it comes to plans and schedules and "milestones."

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 29, 2008 at 08:05 PM

yes, sarah, and it definitely isn't limited to just hs'ing, i agree completely. and less is definitely more, especially around here - and especially this summer! ;^)

Comment by Kari on August 4, 2008 at 01:13 PM

Well said. We'll be starting our third "official" year of homeschooling in a couple weeks. The first year I used an assistance program because I was scared I'd screw my kids up. Last year I bought a hodgepodge of materials. This year, I don't even have any curriculum. . .yet. I'm sure I'll get something, but I'm learning to let my kids follow their interests. I'm learning to listen a little better. When they show an interest in something (my son is way into birds right now), I go with it, buy books, get online, etc. :)

Thanks for setting the record straight. :)

Comment by nancy on August 5, 2008 at 12:31 AM

Thanks, I needed this. Hubby and I have been brainstorming for our first "official" year of homeschooling, even though we have been teaching since birth. Anyway, I almost convinced myself that I needed at least a teacher's manual as a guide, but I'm resisting the urge and going with my instinct. Less really is more!!

Comment by Deanna Godman on August 8, 2008 at 04:04 AM

We are years away from schooling at this point. My daughter is 18 months and learning rapidly about everything! I am intrigued by your ideas on art and materials. I have been saving recyclables because toddlers generate such interesting trash in pre-made snack food. I'd hate to toss it and wish I had it later. I'm curious though, in looking at your recycling photos, where do you keep completed art projects? I read Young At Art, and I like the idea of saving all my daughter's art projects. But we're talking about years of sculpture, and small houses. Do you save everything or do you ask the child to choose what to keep? Is it more about the process or about the product?

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 28, 2008 at 02:27 PM

thank you, nancy, and i agree! good luck! :^)

deanna, i don't keep everything, because that would be impossible. one thing i do is put a high value on continuing to work on a single project — discussing it, adding to it, improving it, etc. that keeps down the "one giant thing per day" problem. we have shelves for displaying things, and i put some things in their play area. once they are completely "done" with something and don't use it in their dramatic play anymore, i can photograph it for posterity and then discreetly remove it. i'm very careful, however, to keep it offstage for awhile before it's gone for good — sometimes they notice it's missing and want it back! ;^)

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