Other people watch prime time TV. I read blogs. I read A LOT of blogs.
I find there are many good things that come from this.
I have a constant stream of creative new ideas, a better, a more personalized understanding of current events and encouragement from other wives and mothers. I have picked up ideas about how to make my own blog more successful, how to be a better gardener, how to conserve resources and how to get that one funky stain out of our carpet without harsh chemicals.
On the other hand, there is a BIG DARK UGLY side to what happens when you spend all your free time reading blogs.
You start comparing.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as we get settled into a new school year.
Last year we were brand new home-schoolers, just trying to find our path. This year we have a little better idea of what is helpful for us and what isn’t. We have found there are several things that just don’t work well for us. Trying to fit them into our lives made the whole family miserable.
I removed those things from our world.
But then I started reading blogs…
it seems that everyone else does those things. Maybe we should do them too. Perhaps I need to give them another try because they’re so popular they must be good.
Thankfully, “J” over at Undogmatic Unschoolers saved me, just in a nick of time by writing a great post entitled, “I could never do what you do.”
In her post she makes the point that none of us parent exactly the same way. We know what our kids need and we respond in our own unique ways. Homeschooling is just an extension of parenting. You can’t do what I do because you are not me. Likewise, I could never in a million years do what you do because I’m not you.
So with that in mind, I’m coming out of the closet to admit that there are five things that our homeschool lacks that it seems many others have. And that’s just fine with us because, since our children seem to be learning and growing and doing just fine, we must not really need them – though maybe someone else does.
As soon as I pull out a printed worksheet my daughter just completely shuts down. She wants nothing to do with it. It’s either far “too hard” or “just like baby work.” Forget it! I’m over it. Using paper isn’t very hippie anyway – save the forest and all that.
What we do have are notebooks full of things (OK, so maybe we didn’t save the forest after all) Sweet Hippie Daughter has written and drawn, problems she has solved and questions she’s seeking answers to. We also use our computer and Kindle a lot for school.
There must be approximately 7 billion adorable classroom crafts in the world. There are little skeletons made out of Q-Tips and paper mache globes and very hungry caterpillars built from toilet paper tubes. Sure, we can make them and we all go, “aw! That’s really cute!” and then they get tossed into a pile of clutter where they get crushed and destroyed and six months later they wind up in the recycling bin. There are a few exceptions, usually holiday decorations of one kind or another, that we make and manage to save and use each year but we’ve pretty much just given up on crafts.
What we do have are projects. We sew together and build things for our garden. We fix things around the house. There is still room in our world for creativity and mess-making but it tends more along the lines of making clothing or building unique garden trellises than anything that uses construction paper and glue sticks. Recently SHD has been learning to crochet from one of her friends’ moms. I love that! I can’t wait for her to teach me.
3) Text books
We had text books last year. They seemed stuffy and boring and they are really expensive.
What we do have is a list of our state’s “grade level expectations,” access to the internet and a library card. We read a LOT, both online and in print. We read from various authors and publishers so we can get a wide range of views on any given topic. In the end, we are studying the same subjects all kids study, we just aren’t using the same books.
4) A schedule
Sweet Hippie Daughter has a homeschool friend who can tell you today what she will be studying on the second Tuesday in April. I usually write out each day’s plan the night before.
What we do have is an end goal, kept constantly in mind. Each day I consider how much progress she has made and I plan the next day accordingly. If she’s reached all her goals in May then we’ll be done with fourth grade in May. If she needs longer then so be it.
I hear other kids at homeschool events talking about having received this grade or that on a paper they wrote or project they completed. We don’t have grades.
What we do have is correction and revision. I go over my girl’s work and, if she got something wrong, she needs to fix it and get it right. Her math curriculum is online (we are using Khan Academy this year) and it won’t let her move forward until she has mastered a skill. If I had to give her a grade she would always get an “A” because if it is less than her best work she has to do it again.
Are there things that your homeschool “lacks” that you sometimes feel everyone else is using? I’d love to hear about it!
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
Why not follow LazyHippieMama on WordPress, by email or Facebook to get all the updates.
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!