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Tag Archives: environment

Real Life… Learning Around Town

schoolwork waiting room

What does the term “homeschooling” mean to you? Do you picture a family sitting around the dining table with workbooks? Perhaps sitting on the couch reading and discussing a lesson together? These are both valid thoughts, however not every day has to be that way.

Some feel that “home education” would be a better term for what we do every day. BUT, even the term home education has the word “home” in it.

For our family, homeschooling is NOT about staying home and doing book-work all day. We have frequent dentist appointments, visits to the library, we take grandma to the hospital for outpatient procedures, and other time-consuming events which pull us away from home during the typical school hours.

dentist office work

On top of everything above I try to plan a fun day once a month. We take our books with us to either the park, Chick-fil-a, or Pete’s Party Castle (indoor play-place with obstacle course, slide, and arcade games).

My rule for these fun places is they must complete 20 minutes of work to get 20 minutes of playtime, then repeat. Feel free to adjust these times as fits best for your children. I certainly do!

Side note: for restaurants such as Chick-fil-a, make sure to go between their peak hours so you aren’t taking up a table from their other customers. I try to be courteous and aware of my surroundings. When the lunch crowd starts pouring in it’s time to leave.

Whether your family is visiting someone at the hospital, going to a doctor or dentist appointment, or perhaps visiting your spouse for lunch; education can happen anywhere.

book cafeschoolwork hospitalcounting bugles

 

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Real Life

 

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Real Life… Teaching Around the Mess

real life mess3Have you ever been told, “Oh you homeschool?  You must be really neat and organized.” Or perhaps you heard the popular, “I could never homeschool, I’m to scatter-brained.”

Anyone who truly knows me will understand the word “organized” doesn’t really fit me. Yes, I like to have a plan, but living with children means life is rarely organized.

Since so many blogs focus on the seemingly perfect lives of homeschoolers, I’m creating a Real Life series. This series of posts will focus on the un-organized and somewhat messy aspects of our homeschooling life.

Something to keep in mind while reading the Real Life… series. Our children are allowed to do their school work wherever they are most comfortable as long as they are actually working. Often they will choose to sit on the couch or sprawl out on the floor to do their work.

real life mess4  real life mess2

The above pictures are of the kitchen bar. It seems to constantly be a cluttered mess of finished artwork, Sunday school papers, and just-for-fun drawings. Though we do the majority of our lessons in the living room, the kitchen bar is where most of the paperwork and art projects end up.

I try to clear off the lower counter once a week, but life is busy and this is low on my priorities. Since we’re on a 6 weeks on, 3 days off cycle for our lessons, the children’s work area is cleaned and straightened roughly every 6 weeks.

real life mess5

This last picture is a glimpse of how our living room floor looks most week days. I’d like to be able to tell you it’s back to normal on the weekends, but this post is about being open and honest.

I usually stack up the books at the end of each day just so no one steps on them. More often than not the stack of books aren’t put away at all unless we’re expecting company.

I’m sure I’m not the only homeschooling mom who teaches around the mess. In addition to the clutter of homeschool books and papers, there are mounds of clean clothes waiting to be folded, a floor waiting to be vacuumed, and the list goes on.

I am unorganized, but the children are learning despite my imperfections.

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2013 in Real Life

 

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Going With My Instincts

The post below was originally written back in July on my other blog, but I’ve re-posted it here because I feel it’s important.

I base much of my parenting on instinct and what just “feels right”. For me it really feels wrong to drop off one of my children with strangers. Yes, I know that everyone starts off being a stranger until you get to know them, but it’s not just the teacher that is a stranger. It’s the class full of children that are strangers as well. As a parent, why should I want my child to hang out with a group of children their same age for 7-8 hours a day, 180 days out of the year? Is it not better to allow shorter periods of socialization with a widely diverse group of people? I think so and research proves it is so.

The paragraphs below are from “Homeschooling Step-By-Step” by Lauramaery Gold & Joan M. Zielinski. In this part they are discussing the transitions involved when children start off in public school and then are home schooled.

“First, you and your children have become strangers while they were in public school. They were gone all day and were under the extended control of homework-assigning teachers all night. If your children were in school for a prolonged time, you may not even like one another all that much. Don’t worry. This will pass. As you and your children learn again what it means to be a family unit–a group of people who actually live and eat and play and work and learn together –you’ll soon find yourself enjoying their company, discovering their personalities, and learning to like them all over again.
Second, your children may not trust or like you. They’ve been ‘sent away’ to strangers where they were taught habits and beliefs and mannerisms that just don’t sit well with mom and dad. It takes time and trust for them to unlearn bad habits, to learn to interact with adults and to appreciate your commitment to teaching them. Give it a chance. Those strong ties that existed when they were young are still there, and they’ll spring back into place given sufficient love and nurturing.”

Reading these paragraphs really breaks my heart. I do not want my children to become “strangers”. I also cannot imagine missing out on so much, like watching their faces light up when they figure something out. As for homework, school teachers already have the children for 7 hours each day, why should they have to be burdened with even more school work at home? (I’ll answer my own question here.) Because the students CAN’T learn everything in school. There are too many distractions and interruptions, not to mention an often overwhelming feeling of boredom or failure.

We all know there are good teachers and not so good teachers, but the truly GREAT teachers have a way of taking a child’s least favorite subject and making it FUN! Yes, it is truly possible! I really wish more teachers would be enthusiastic about what they are teaching. Enthusiasm is catching and almost any subject can be turned into fun and interactive games with some effort. Re-arrange the desks into a circle or a few small squares. Instead of teaching AT children, ENGAGE them in the discussion and INVOLVE them in the educational process. Get out of the chairs and stand in small groups around the room to answer questions. The different ways to make a class more fun are boundless. It just takes enthusiasm and effort.

This pretty much sums up my thoughts on how the school system is not for us and why I’ve chosen the path I’m on. There is no way that a child can learn better in an environment surrounded by their peers than they can when surrounded in a loving, home environment. Numerous studies (do an online search to find them) have shown that home schooled children not only learn MORE, but they tend to have a love of learning that continues into adulthood. Plus it cannot be denied that the teacher- student ratio of 1:2 is better than any public school in the nation. 🙂

 
 

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