I have been homeschooling for 20 years. I knew I would homeschool my kids since I was in junior high. I thought I would never allow my kids to go to school at all. Of course, my oldest had a personality as strong as mine and did get to school for a few years, which set the stage for her younger siblings. So far, Tabitha went to school her junior and senior year of high school, graduated, and went on to college in Missouri. She is becoming an art teacher (which makes sense seeing as she was reared in a home that spent every spare penny on art supplies.) Rowan tried high school his sophomore year, then at 16 went straight to college. He is becoming a vet! Rhiannon is in her second year of high school, but often misses homeschooling. We’ll see where her path goes.
At home right now are Méabh (1), Wolfie (4), Morgan Finn (10) and Archer (12). Only the oldest two are actively homeschooling. I try to avoid teaching the little ones, better to keep that magical world of play as long as possible. But it is difficult, they pick up on what the older kids are doing. I think it is important not to teach reading until after children are seven years old. I followed this rule with my older kids, and they all LOVE reading for pleasure now. Just as they learn to walk and talk on their own, so will they learn reading. Gently explain this to your loved ones. Eventually your children will serve as examples as mine have.
Here is a reprint of an article I wrote in 2008 (!) for the Muscatine homeschooler’s newsletter:
Thu, January 24, 2008 – 10:02 PM
When I began homeschooling (17 years ago) I was sure I would create geniuses. Geography and spelling bee champions. College graduates by the age of 18. Now I realize I am raising normal people. People free from the pressures of school and society. This has been a great revelation for me.
I have also learned two other important lessons that I want to pass on; the need to deflect negative comments from others and to relax.
Do not let the negative comments of othersbring you down. Remember that when people are critical it is because they feel threatened – if homeschooling is best, then their kids are getting second or third best. Just reassure these folks that you are doing what is best for YOUR family. Then surround yourself with supportivefriends, like your local homeschool group.
We sometimes want to keep up with the Jones’. When little 10 year old Tommy next door can rattle off the names of all the U.S. Presidents, we want that too! “What if my kid gets left behind?” Remember, you homeschool so that your children DON’T have to endure forced learning. It’s OK! My children played in the snow for 4 hours today. Now that’s education!
Play is THE most important work in a child’s life. (Play does not include television, video games or the internet.) I would never interrupt imaginative play for a lesson or teaching moment.
Which leads me to: relax! What good is stressing about teaching colors and shapes to a preschooler? Have you ever met any adult who didn’t know their colors? They are learned, like walking and talking, in the context of life.
Reading is similar.So many parents are making themselves crazy and overly stressing their children with this. My children have all shown an interest in reading around age 9, then learn quickly and easily, going on to pass their peers in both reading skills and love of literature.
So maybe my kids aren’t totally normal.They are beautiful, super confident and free thinking.And it has nothing to do withany curriculum I stick to, and everything to do with allowing them to develop in their own way and time.
Growing Without Schooling and John Holt
Home Education Magazine
Oak Meadow Curriculum
Evolution’s End by Joseph Chilton Pierce
(available at amazon.com)
The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewllyn
I enjoy Waldorf inspired homeschooling. This year I have a 4th and 7th grader. Here are some photos from their main lesson books:
What are you doing in your homeschooling?