Thursday, June 26, 2014

Turning the Corner on School

I'm a homeschooler, through and through.

I taught public school for years. Public schools have a place. I'm not anti public school. I attended one.

The educational choices of others are not mine to dictate.

That being said...

I love that I get to spend my days with my girls. I love that I know the ins and outs of where they excel and where they struggle. I love that.

But I don't love how we've fleshed that out year after year.

So this year we are making a change. It's a little unnerving and goes against the school-at-home philosophy we've always had.

You know what I mean. School is school whether at home or in a school building. We have desks and textbooks and freshly sharpened pencils.


I love freshly sharpened pencils. The real ones from the old-school manual sharpeners.

I love those.

So this year we are doing something different. I'm equally excited and uneasy. After all, textbooks and checklists are all I know. And it's not that our system hasn't been successful. My girls have learned. They can hold their own in the academic world. It's just that when the school day rolls around we want less drudgery and more excitement. Less "have to" and more "want to."

I know that's a tall order.

I'll tell you the truth, I'm the worst of the bunch.

The biggest complainer, procrastinator, and whiner?  That's me.

The kids can hold their own, don't get me wrong, but I'm definitely leading the parade.

So what's going to look different?

For starters we're starting back early. We're going to start mid-July to give us a couple extra week-long breaks throughout the year. Because sometimes I just need it.

We're also going to start accomplishing more with less. This is nothing new to the homeschooling world. Instead of having a separate writing class, let's write about what we're learning in science. Instead of a separate reading class, let's read a biography about someone from our history lesson.

Our goal is to streamline our system. Making learning less mundane and more organic. I want them to ask questions and research the answers on their own. I want our schedule to come less from a book and more from the God-given bents He's given my girls.

I want them to have more time to explore the gifts and talents He has blessed them with.

And that has a hard time happening when we're dragging ourselves through our checklist each and every day.

Will chemistry happen? Yes.
Will algebra happen? Yes.
Will American history happen? Yes.

But so will critical thinking and research skills and a love for reading. It's more than knowing a bunch of facts.

I want them to be competent learners. I want them to be problem-solvers. I want them to be successful.

I'm just thinking that might be able to look a little different than it has thus far...

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