The Worth of a Challenge

If you give a child a fish, you feed him for a day.
If you teach a child to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.
But if you teach a child to learn, you feed him for a lifetime
and he doesn't have to just eat fish.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

10 Things I've learned....

From Homeschooling!

I am in my third year of homeschooling and I feel like as my children have learned things, so have I. One thing I know about my self is that if I don't write something down, it goes away. So I am writing(...err typing) this list so I can remember some of those wonderful things that have been brought to my life.

  • I can too be organized! I really can, just ask my husband. I am generally speaking not a person that organization comes natural to, but homeschooling has helped me become organized. It also made me realize why teachers like to pick one grade and park there a while! With all the planners and such I have learned to neaten I just need to do it around the rest of my home!
  • It's not to late to learn something new- I think a lot of people get hung up in the idea that you have to be a master of all subjects in order to teach or that you are too old to learn new things. It's simply not true. I can't even begin to mention the countless facts I have learned opening the book and reading alongside the kids. Did you know Paul Bunion was 6'3" and that George Washington never actually cut down that ole' cherry tree? These are just a few things I have picked up along the way.
  • Learning is all around us- I used to think Charlotte Mason was a bit "laissez-faire" as compared to other teaching models but what I have learned is that before there was school, people were out discovering things for them selves. Before there were books of plants and animals, people would go out and see them and capture them with their own pen or pencil and draw, label and write of these discoveries and observations. Totally educational and doesn't cost anyone anything but time well spent. 

  • Parents are teachers, and are the first teacher in each child's life- I always have to hold back a small chuckle when I hear others say they could never imagine teaching their child. I say that because they were already their child's first teacher before this subject even becomes relevant. Teaching how to eat, walk, talk and dress are very important skills first taught at home with pride. Don't think you're cut out for teaching health...well bite your tongue, because chances are you have taught your child how to brush their teeth, wash their hands and other health related lessons.

  • Never say never- I really should needle point this on a pillow because anytime I say it, I find my self having to eat my words. I said I would never homeschool, so there you go. 
  • There really is beauty all around when there's love at home- As the person who compiles the lessons for school, I didn't think it would be right to leave out loving one another. I'll never forget the night I laid Benji down for bed and he leaned over to me and said "Mama, Jakey is my best friend". I have to say, if that isn't beauty I don't know what is.
  • All kids are gifts and all kids are special- There are two labels in the public school that make me want to climb the walls and spit nails. One is "gifted" and the other is "special ed". The reason why this is so troubling to me is the labeling that goes with the child reflects in their self esteem. In the short time my oldest was in public school, he was being pushed toward special ed, and the other kids were quick to let him know what they thought of it and not in a happy way. I really appreciate the philosophy of Dr Suzuki who says “If he or she really goes about it in earnest, anyone can cultivate ability in ten years, I believe. Even in one year, shortcomings can be changed into good points if only we set our aims high enough. Continuing for ten years, we can become outstanding indeed...There is no limit to our shortcomings. Until we die, we should spare no time or effort in changing our weaknesses to merits. To do so can be pleasant and interesting. We can become like the horse that starts last and yet outruns the field, reaching the wire first; it is the same fun.”  Shinichi Suzuki, Nurtured by Love: The Classic Approach to Talent Education 
  • Teaching and homeschooling = Crafting - My sister said I was blessed with a crafting gene. The ability wield fabric paint and cut/paste and use a hot glue gun was something I have always had since I was very young. If you take a gander at most teacher and homeschool sites, there is a fair amount of crafting going on, and I LOVE it. Some project have required more skill and inspiration than others, but that is how I find joy in all the hours I spend cutting, assembling, and laminating.

  • Learning doesn't have to equal eight hours glued to a chair and desk- When I first starting schooling, my kids must have thought I was insane. I would pull out the work and we would park our bodies in chairs till it was done and I would go on and on till sun set on the afternoon. After much pain and tribulation I realized I was making way more work than needed to be done. After all, even the kids at public schools got a chance to escape to a reading nook or do some out door learning. Since then I realized that our learning can be different and that can be a good thing. We do some sit down work, but we also can do math facts while jumping on the trampoline in the backyard. After a few hours at a time, kids just need to be kids and play.
  • A little faith and inspiration can really make a difference, even on crazy Mondays! -  Each year......excuse me, ....each day, I find my self needing to tweak something to make it work for our situation. With that in mind I always have a back up plan. I love those books that are on the market called For Dummies  that teach different things. What I like is how in the back of each chapter they have a section called "the least you need to know". While I feel this is served up to kids in public schools daily, I can use this for situations like when someone is sick, has a doctor appointment, we get rained out of a  science field day and so on. This is also a technique I use when we are doing a unit study and there is a low level of interest from the group. We learn the concepts and then vote on a new unit. 
Any how, I feel like homeschooling has been just as much for me as it has been for the kids. I learn new stuff and get the privilege to see my kids take their first educational steps. Something I wouldn't miss for the world.

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