School at Home? {A Week of Homeschooling}

So you've decided to homeschool.

You have to tell the grandparents. Your friends. Your in laws. The school. We've had our share of concerned friends and family. Our awkward moments with teachers whom we very much admire. Flat out rudeness from folks who don't even know us all that well, and even from some that do. Homeschooling is on the rise, up 74% since 1999, but it is still alternative education. Most people don't know much about it. Educate them! However, if you go spouting off why the public school system sucks and your kids are too good for it, your bound to loose a few good friends. Don't do that. Tread gently, treat others as you wish to be treated. With a little time you'll find that most of your friends & family, regardless of their opinion, support your choice of choosing to keep your kids home. 

I think this next step is the biggest, hardest step for anyone that has become accustomed to to the rhythm of the school system. Actually keeping the kids home that first year. The two books I read that helped me the most during this journey were Deschooling Gently and Homeschooling our Children Unschooling Ourselves. After that I began to devour anything and everything by John Holt that my local library had. 

I was a stay at home mom. My kids & I enjoyed every summer vacation together up until this point. I never was ready for them to go back after vacation, we had fun as a group. We enjoyed each other. And yet somehow as that August date rolled around (and after another move, this time from Alaska to the midwest) I had anxiety about our decision. I had a pile of curriculum to use. Far too many. I had a daily schedule we were to follow. Ahh yes, that's gone by the wayside as well. I had filed my letter to the state of Wisconsin, registering us as homeschoolers. All my little ducks were in a row. Or so I thought. We were ready to start school at home. All I was missing was a little bell to ring.

I use the term school at home because that is exactly what we did for the first two years. We followed a very set curriculum, we had a schedule. For some people this works wonderfully well. For us, it did not. My oldest did fairly well with it, most likely due to him having been in the public school system for longer. However as a whole, this style did not fit our family. So as I read more about unschooling and Waldorf Education we slowly began to loosen up. To find our groove. At this point, aside from math, we've ditched curriculum all together and instead use a loose guide of suggested topics to cover in each grade (Waldorf). We study these in blocks (unit studies) one subject at a time, in depth, as the children wish to do them using what homeschoolers refer to as living books. Basically you check out every book on rocks from your library when you do a geology unit. After all, it is far more engaging to learn geology from an enthusiastic geologist than a dry text book.

This was a long bumpy road of really learning to trust myself as a parent. To find what worked for our family. To realize what I truly want to teach my children. To be able to see my kids learning without testing them or holding them accountable to someone else's standards. Oh my, it has not been easy. But rewarding beyond words. Truly, for me, it was the path I was destined to take…. it has been a perfect fit for our family in so many ways. I finally realized that my children's character and heart is what I am most concerned for. Wether they learn to read at age 5 or age 9 is of little concern to me now, nor will it be an admittance question on their college application someday. However if I can instill a genuine love and concern for others in their hearts, I will have done them and the world they live in a great service. 

So the next thing to do? Find your homeschool community, you'll need them…… more on that tomorrow.

(*as a bit of a disclaimer, I'd like to mention that the daddy of the house is very supportive and involved in educating our children, however with him working full time and me being the one home with the kids, I've decided to write this from my point of view*)

 

*here is you link to the other parts of this series : day 1day 3, & day 4

16 thoughts on “School at Home? {A Week of Homeschooling}

  1. Once gregg and i start adopting and the kids are old enough to go to school… we have thought about homeschooling. We have to think long and hard about it though because of my health. Sadly we might have to put them into public school only because we never know when i’ll be in the hosp or not. Kinda sucks.
    I am very interested in this Waldorf Education though. Is it available up here in AK?

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  2. Loving this series and wishing there was more of a support structure for homeschooling. I usually don’t mind being a rebel, but finding my kids’ schooling to be a hard one on which to go against the grain.
    ps: Wild Louisiana blackberry jam is AMAZING. (Rose wants to eat it swirled into peanut butter. No bread). Thank you.

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  3. Thanks for this!
    We’ve been discussing homeschooling as an option the past few months and have pretty much decided it’s the way for us: the way we live and want to be connected as a family.
    I’m very interested in your post about finding a homeschool group! We definitely want in one (and know there is one here) we just don’t know where to find it!

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  4. I love this post Stephinie! It sounded just like me and our story as homeschoolers(minus the moving cross country). I can’t wait to spend more time with you and your family. So glad our paths are crossing!
    love and light,
    Andrea

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  5. I’m sure they have a community of Waldorf community…. Waldorf is private school, so look in the yellow pages for it. Also, if you do send them to public school you have to be super involved and they will do well. Volunteer. Know the teacher, know the kid, demand good education. That will be what changes it for the better 🙂

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  6. The support is growing rapidly as more and more people choose to homeschool. I was scared to death when we started! And now I crack stupid jokes about raising unsocialized beasts 🙂
    So glad you love the Jam…. it was my favorite one this season. Rose is a girl after my own heart…. tell her it is also delicious on ice cream 😉

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  7. Yes! The family connection. I loved that the most when we brought our two older children home. The dynamics of learning together and living together as a unit are so awesome 🙂 Challenging, yes but feeling like you are authentically living and following your heart is totally worth it!

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  8. Thanks Andrea. It can really be a tough road at times…. but like anything time makes you grow more confident and grounded. And seeing the kids learn and live with one another is so worth it.
    By the way, we are also very much looking forward to getting to know you all as well.
    peace,
    Stephinie

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  9. I’ve just started reading more about Waldorf ed. and really love a lot of the ideas, but we’re just beginning with it all. We pretty much school exactly as you described – an light math curriculum and a mix of unschooling and planned unit studies for the rest. I love reading about other homeschoolers journeys, so thanks so much for sharing this. It was wonderful to meet you all at the park a couple of weeks ago. 🙂

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  10. Lump approach, I love that, too cute 😉 SO much falls in sort of accidently when you are studying a “single” topic. Best of all the kids get to see the connection and discover it on their own…. very fun to watch!

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  11. I think it really helps to hear someone else’s story, especially a tumbled along bumps in the road journey like my own 🙂 I do hope to run into you and your girls again 🙂 We’re attending Bach Lunch & roller skating on Fridays!

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  12. I loved reading this. My girls are sill little yet (4years and 14months), but we have always planned on homeschooling. We see our learning philosophy as waldorf inspired unschooling (with a bit of Charlotte Mason’s living books thrown in there too). I look forward to reading more of this series!

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