Two years ago, we began homeschooling our three children. The concerned looks from close friends and family were to be expected but didn’t stop us and today, I want to share with you some lessons from our second year homeschooling.
If you didn’t read what we learned from our first year of homeschooling, now would be a good time. Go ahead, I’ll wait. That’ will give you a back story on how/why we did it.
Awesome, glad to have you back 😉
First, I’ll say before I dig in too deep is my honest belief that there is no right or wrong way to raise a child. Each of my kids has his or her unique strengths and weaknesses and homeschooling my children has provided me with more time to be with them and observe the ways they learn best.
Whether your children are learning at home, in a public school or private institution, all of our children will turn out just fine. I’m sharing my experience, which has shaped my opinions on education, as related to my family. All in hopes that it grants you some insight on this issue that so many of us struggle with daily.
The reality is that it often takes a long time to figure out what gets each of your kids excited about learning. Everyone learns differently, and you have to be patient to understand what makes them tick.
This second year of homeschooling my kids has given me just that, the insight into their world to be able to navigate their learning experience that suits them best. It’s also given me a lot more compassion for them, with their struggles of learning a particular subject or topic, as well as the ability to encourage their strengths -but don’t let me get ahead of myself here.
It’s only in this second year that I’ve been able to better understand my children. To be honest, I thought I knew them before when they were in regular school, but helping my kids with the oh-so-dreaded homework, was not the best time to get to know them at all -we were all tired at the end of the day.
If you’re reading this thinking; “I will never get there.” You can, and you will! It takes time.
For us, the opportunity to travel the world with my family has opened my eyes to what I believe learning should be. By exposing my kids to different cultures, lifestyles, and belief systems, they build perspective- something that I have found to value over blackboard lessons and textbooks.
With travel, the world is their textbook. Like when we traveled to Spain, hiked to prehistoric caves and learned about the Paleolithic era and how they painted on caves by doing it. Yes, that kind of textbook.
Watching my children become further adjusted, confident, and overall more aware of their surroundings in a foreign environment has shown me that grades aren’t everything. Not even close.
I believe part of educating my kids is granting them the freedom to explore and move through material at their own pace. Doing this has brought an eager discipline to their studies that they never had in the traditional classroom setting. When they feel they’ve mastered their current lesson, it’s time to move on to the next thing to learn.
Now, my kids are more eager to learn about the things they are interested in, besides Minecraft, and having the opportunity to bring them to the MOMables Studio is also teaching them skills for the future.
One thing we changed this past year was the instruction of the course material. Our first year, the kids learned through an online program on their own with our supervision, and it was tough.
Now, they attend a local Homeschool Center twice a week where they learn in a classroom-like setting with a 1:8 teacher ratio. In those two days, they learn all the classroom instruction in Math, Social Studies, Science, Language Arts, and Reading.
After our first year, my daughter said she missed the social aspect of the classroom but still loved being homeschooled. Having classmates to pal around with during breaks can create lasting, meaningful social experiences that make school that much more engaging and fun. So, I sought out what I feel is the best of both worlds.
Our local homeschool center has brought a harmonious balance to our children’s curriculum. In subjects that I’m less versed in, my kids gain valuable instruction in an environment where they can socialize and collaborate with other classmates. It’s a perfect supplement for this on-the-go family that wants to homeschool.
With my line of work, my family has the opportunity to travel quite often. The teachers at the homeschool center never make us feel bad about time spent away from our kid’s studies and just have us to catch up when we return.
Comparing this to the hours of coursework assigned to my children while spending time abroad a few years ago has been life-changing. I can still remember the level of frustration my whole family felt grinding through coursework during the time that should have been spent further exploring Europe together a few years ago.
Homeschooling grants me the opportunity to greater enjoy the time my children and I spend together on our best times. I used to feel like I was fighting for time with the school and now, I no longer feel strapped for time with my kids.
Without homework, our evenings are free for us to be a family, go to karate together, and for my kids to “be kids” and play outside.
If I had to sum it all up, I’d say that the second year of homeschooling was about discovering our children as much as it was about learning.
Do you homeschool? What has your experience been like?