Thursday, 20 December 2012

Homeschooling 101

One of the most interesting things in the world to me is people watching. Especially when you tell them you are going to homeschool your children.  It's fascinating, from an anthropoloigcal point of view.  Honestly.  I can't be offended by the reactions, unless someone blatantly says I'm too dumb to teach my children anything, otherwise I just find the reactions interesting.  I guess before I researched homeschooling I thought only highly competent  supernaturally patient, slightly eccentric women chose to homeschool.  And then there is me ... maybe I could pull of eccentric if I had to, my husband calls me an anomaly, which I take as a total compliment, so am guessing I could morph anomaly into eccentric if it had to.  Competent and patient, not really words to describe me.  Yet, here I go, embracing the world of homeschooling.

Why?  Well a number of reasons. Usually when people ask, I tend to answer rather enthusiastically because I have been walking down the road on this and the sign posts along the way have given me clarity as a Mother, so my enthusiasm is hard to contain - I've learn something. However when I get excited about this, my passion seems to come across as something others get defensive about.  Which is 99% my inability to contain myself which make others think I am trying to sell them something or judging their choice to school their children. So now, when people ask I say; "it's the right thing for our family".  Which it is, but it's only a fraction of the whole story.

The whole story is that we as a family felt the need to research this, and it is not something I would have gone near in a shark cage unless I had to think about it.  But when the issues was forced, I started researching and it took all of a day to go from, cold sweats to 'I'm sold, we are doing this'.  I text my husband, exactly that and his reply; "well, that is one text I never thought I would ever receive from you!".

I have a dear friend who homeschools and she is all of the above, competent, patient, a tad eccentric, but also a trained school teacher.  We have another lady at our church who homeschools, and is a bit of a guru on it, she also is highly competent, patient and foreign so that can be her eccentric part, and she too is a school teacher. Often you will hear highly competent, nurturing women with 6 children tell you "If I can homeschool anyone can" - ignore them, listen to me, I am not a teacher, I tick the boxes for dyslexia, and have limited patience. I love my two boys to bits, but they drive me up the wall sometimes.  We have a tiny house with no spare rooms. We are minimalists, we do not hoard so I have no resources or craft things.  We are not wealthy, our life is lived on a tight budget. Listen very carefully ... "If I can homeschool, anyone can".

Another reason I've not looked at homeschooling before is that I thought that you had to learn what they taught at school.  But it seems that I was wrong, children have to learn, reading,  writing, mathmatics. To get by in life these things are incredibly useful. The rest of the curiculum is good things to learn. Due to the curious nature of children, they will learn, even if they don't know it, they will naturally learn.  So why not let them learn about things they are interested in?  I know when I was at school I struggled, I didn't enjoy so much of what I was learning, I loved English, and Geography, but even those were a challenge, I did ok in them. However when I went on to tertiary education I chose a subject I was interested in and for the first time in my life I got A's!  I thought the markers had made a mistake, until I realised how much I was enjoying learning, and it all made perfect sense. I am excited to teach my children things they want to learn.  My eldest son wants to learn about ninja's, why not, I can include geography, Physical education, language and reading in that topic, easy.  They also want to learn about  um, farts, so why not, I guess, if they learn something from it ... as long as they don't repeat their new found knowledge at inappropriate moments, what's the harm?

The other point that sold me, was the time you get to spend with your children.  At this time of year when they are dog tired and as ratty as I'll ever know them, the thought isn't so appealing. However, when they are well rested, I can't wait.  I feel like I have lost touch with a good part of their day when they are at school.  Not only a good part, the good part, I get them back when they are tired, hungry and ratty, they teachers get them fresh, and ready for fun.  When I ask them about their day they are too tired to tell me what they did, what they learnt or who they played with. Homeschooling appeals in the sense that I will know, not only what they learnt, but how they learnt it.  I will discover new things about my children, their learning style, their sense of humour, their hunger to learn and I will get time to work on character things all under the learning umbrella. Together we will discover the world, as a family.

I could go on and on, see, I'm obnoxiously enthusiastic about it.  Don't get defensive, just learn this one thing from the one who would break into a cold sweat at the first suggestion of homeschooling; Never say never.   


  1. Love it!!! And especially love "Never Say Never!" All the very best Ingrid - it is a great privillage to be able to homeschool your children... what a huge joy and blessing it can be. Praise God! Look forward to hearing all about it as I follow your blog next year :) Blessings and love, Jo Watson.

  2. How exciting! The boys will love it (and you too, most days anyway!), just don't be too hard on yourself.

    I have spent the last 6 months of our homeschooling feeling like I am completely failing Oliver. but in reality, recently I have realized that he is actually getting in his basics of maths, grammar, reading and writing and is learning so much more from doing crocodile eating monkey songs on the trampoline with me and reading a huge pile of books than doing projects & learning facts on things that don't particularly interest him. He still loves thomas and lego so a lot of learning comes from that (like learning about quarries the other day).

    I sucked at school mostly so was suprised how well I did with my teachers training, definately agree learning what interests you works, even farts and ninjas have a lot to offer!! Here is something you may find interesting to start you off on your popoff adventures.

    Just for the boys....

    Lots of love & Merry Christmas xxxx


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