It’s May, folks. We’re fast-approaching the one-year anniversary of our decision to (suddenly, unexpectedly) homeschool and the start of this site. It has been a whirlwind of a year, that’s for sure! It’s fascinating to look back on the past year and my evolution as a homeschooler, and to think about our current lifestyle of learning.
I remember when I first started homeschooling, I was so overwhelmed by the responsibility of educating my child. Would I be able to do it well? Was it the right choice for our family? Would I mess it all up somehow? I soon learned that it was the appropriate choice for our son, as he blossomed before our eyes. Within weeks of leaving public school, his love of learning returned and he was our joyful learner once more. It felt like we were free, we felt lighter.
Our son easily adjusted to life without public school. I had a harder time, however. As a product of public schools, a school psychologist, and public school advocate, I had to change the way I thought about education. I had to shake free the whole notion of grade level expectations, of what should be learned when.
In the fall, Leo was obsessed with ancient history. He could not get enough of it. We started reading Story of the World. We would listen to the audiobook in the car, running to and from school drop offs for T and Seuss. He loved it! And then he started getting really interested in US History, too. And we were doing both at the same time and he was so happy! And then, one day, I caught myself worrying about whether or not I should be covering two histories. Would it be confusing? Would he remember any of it down the road? Was I messing up?
And then I stopped. I told myself to just stop. I had a six year old who was learning about Ancient History and US History because he wanted to, and he was passionate about them both. That was enough. That was more than enough.
With time, I began to relax into a homeschool rhythm. It became clear to me, time and time again, that learning happens all the time when you just relax and let it. Children are born curious and passionate about learning. They do not yet equate learning with work, as often happens with schooling.
Before homeschooling, I imagined homeschooling parents in a teacher role. I know that some homeschoolers do function as teachers. I see myself as more of a facilitator. I learn beside my son, and I often learn from him. Children are our wisest teachers.
I love to learn, I always have. I’m the type of person who will become interested in a given topic and then I will delve in deeply. I’ll read every book I can get my hands on about the topic, every single article I can find online. I immerse myself until I have had my fill. And then I move on to the next thing. There’s always a next thing. This week, I’m organizing all of my materials and paperwork to renew my state educator license. As I’m gathering and sorting, I am reflecting with a smile. I have learned so much in the past few years. Far more so than I did during any of my years a school psychologist. These at-home years have offered me so much opportunity to drink my fill in a variety of areas, including but not limited to: infant reflux, failure to thrive and nutrition; sensory processing disorder; gifted learners and gifted education; attention and executive functioning challenges; anxiety; homeschooling; a multitude of curricula, and -of course- blogging. I’m learning all the time, too, just like my son.
These days, our homeschooling is much more relaxed. We spend a great deal of time learning through books, book club, nature study, hands-on exploration, board games, and long discussions. It’s clear to me that our son loves to learn, too, and I believe he always will. Learning does not stop when you leave that brick and mortar school building, folks, whether you leave it at twenty-five or at six. Learning happens all the time if you just relax and let it. Life is a learning journey.
Tell me, folks… What is your lifestyle of learning? Has your approach to learning changed over time? Did you experience a homeschool evolution? Share here. I love hearing from you all.
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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