Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Figuring Out How to Homeschool

Once the decision to homeschool was made, I got hit by a wave of excitement and pure panic. What was I thinking?! How could I possibly take my sweet baby girl’s future into my hands and do a good job educating her while still balancing my writing career? I had experience as a classroom teacher. I knew how to take the curriculum that was provided and follow lesson plans. I even knew how to create my own units using extra educational materials… but I had no idea how to homeschool. Not to mention the fact that we live on a very small budget and I knew we couldn’t afford expensive programs and curriculum.

I am a messy person. My desk is an avalanche of notes, papers, staplers (I think I have three), notepads, sharpies and various other schtuff. I have never missed a deadline, but I am rarely early with one. I am easily distracted, silly and hardly someone you would expect to be able to balance three full-time jobs. (We opened the Compassion in Action Center the same year we started homeschooling… more on that later.) I am, however, an excellent researcher, so I started researching.

I fully believe that knowledge is power, so I went to the most powerful person I know in this area: My sister, who was currently homeschooling three children while balancing two-year old twins at the same time. She gave me the best advice I have ever gotten and started me in just the right direction. She said, “Forget everything you know about education and curriculum. There are so many options available to you that you shouldn’t box yourself in with what you have used before. Instead, think about the type of student D.D. Is, the type of teacher you are and the type of schooling that will be right for your family.” Have I mentioned that she’s brilliant?!

After that conversation I took her advice and cleared the slate. Then I took a look at all the different types of homeschooling out there. It was immediately obvious that the traditional approach to education would not be a good fit to our family. I also knew that we could not possibly be unschoolers since we would spend our days reading fiction novels and not really learn anything. We needed something in-between.

I know that D.D. Is a hands-on, visual learner with crazy high comprehension. I know that I am messy, disorganized, fun and silly. Big Sis had freed me from the obligation of having a traditional school format. A little bit of research told me that what we would have is called eclectic homeschooling.

Once I had it set in my head that we could make a home education work for us, I just had to get all the stuff I needed… That means shopping!

Thought for the day: Amazon, here I come :)

This post is part 2 of the Why We Homeschool Series. Watch for new posts in this series every week on Searching for Serenity.

Read Part 1: How We Decided to Homeschool

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