|Spiderwoman homeschooling Superboy|
"The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom."
- Henry Ward Beecher, US Congressional clergyman -
It is not in the obvious and deliberate communication with my child that I learn most about him. It is in the everyday mindfulness, responsiveness and attentiveness to him that play a bigger role in getting to know him: his passions, dreams, interests, strengths, as well as his struggles, weaknesses, and challenges. As I take responsibility of my son’s education, I use Mother’s Instinct to guide me in how we structure our homeschool.
: a way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is not learned : a natural desire or tendency that makes you want to act in a particular way
: something you know without learning it or thinking about it
: a natural ability
Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about homeschooling:
WHAT DO YOU DO ALL DAY?
a. WHEN do you do school?
Each child differs. I know my son is more focused in the morning. We start school right after breakfast because we can get more schoolwork done in less time. If we have to start school in the afternoon, it usually is no fun for both of us. He doesn’t concentrate as well and he is easily distracted. He fidgets in his seat and makes jokes out of every little thing. Without reason, he forgets how to do Math. So, I’ve learned that morning is better for us. I have a friend who lets her daughter play all morning, and then they do school in the early evening when her daughter is most alert for school.
b. HOW do you homeschool?
Again, each child differs, and how you homeschool will be dependent on your family. We tried unschooling first, but developed into structured homeschoolers after understanding our son’s need for structure. For part of the day, we follow the Charlotte Mason idea of short lessons of each subject every day, which my son prefers.
c. HOW do you choose curricula?
My son loves the Language Arts and Social Studies Units of Moving Beyond The Page. He loves the booklists from Ambleside. I know this because he wants more of school when we use these materials. He also loves Project Based Homeschooling. He could spend hours on projects he has created on his own. Our school day is never complete without our son focusing a section of the day on his own project. Right now, his project is blogging, which combines language, writing, arts, DIY, music, and anything that excites him.
Trust your child and listen to your mother’s instinct. You will know which materials and resources he/she loves and which he/she doesn’t. Learning will come easily if they enjoy the process. If not, 5 minutes on a subject can feel like torture for the child.
That said, I have yet to find a Math curriculum that my son loves. He is good at Math and is above grade level, but we haven’t found a program that he enjoys. We have used Life of Fred, Right Start, Math-U-See, Teaching Textbooks, Miquon, Singapore Maths, Khan Academy, Beast Academy, countless Math videos… the list can go on. So, I continue to look…
d. FOR HOW LONG do you homeschool?
Legally, we need to homeschool for 4 hours a day for 180 days. Each subject takes anywhere between 5 minutes to an hour. Again, this is dependent on each child. My son could read for hours, but he maxes out at around 30 minutes for Math.
I have found that it is hard not to go over that 4 hour time frame with so much to do and so much my son wants to do. He has many interests and we allow these interests to grow through books, internet, film, classes, field trips, and other resources.
e. DO YOU LIKE BEING WITH YOUR KID ALL DAY?
I love it. I love watching him grow and learn. I love witnessing his love of learning grow and not diminish. I love that he learned to read and write at an early age because we made up Star Wars games. I love that he wants to make people laugh through jokes and humorous books he has written. I love that as a toddler, my son used to wake me up by drumming sweet rhythms on my head. Just a handful of years later, I am able to watch him play in a University Drum Set Master Class with his teacher. I love watching him on stage, captivating the audience (and knowing how much work that took). I love watching him persevere, struggle, fail and then succeed. Sure, there are tough days, but it is in the challenging days that we both learn the most. Sure, it isn’t for everybody. But it is for me.