Our school year is winding down a bit, and summer days are beckoning. I've been thinking lately about this homeschooling journey, and not only how it has changed the course of my children's educational lives, but how it has changed me as well. Being a homeschool mom has given me an entirely new perspective, not just on education and learning, but on life and how we want to live it.
Everything is a learning experience
Suddenly, every trip to the grocery store is a chance to practice planning, list-writing, sorting, reading, adding, sharing, and turn-taking (they ALL want to push the cart - sigh). A trip to the doctor or dentist leads to learning about different careers, human anatomy, and hygiene. Even a walk around the neighborhood has been transformed into mini-nature study, as they look for signs of spring, or collect leaves and pinecones. It isn't that these things weren't happening before - it is that I am so much more aware of the little bits of learning that take place everyday. And I am much more likely to capitalize on them. It isn't that I feel the need to turn everything into "school" - but I'm cognizant of the learning opportunities that abound in the everyday in a brand new way, and excited to expand on them according to my kids' interest.
I'm far more open to their project ideas
My two boys decided last fall that they wanted to learn to sew. So we bought a great book on beginning hand sewing, some basic supplies, and set to work. They have made piles of pillows and stuffies, and David is currently planning a knight costume to wear to the Renaissance Faire. We also now have a new toolbox with some basic tools, and a big pile of scrap wood in the garage, with some woodworking projects in the works. From art and craft projects (for a while, we were nearly overrun with origami birds), to sewing and building, my kids have jumped into different skills and projects this year. I don't doubt the interest would have existed no matter where they were going to school, but homeschooling allows us the time to make these projects a priority. As I'm checking off boxes on my mental checklist (ok, that is art, that's home-ec), they are busy having fun building things. I know my openness to these often messy endeavors has increased tenfold.
|Posing with some of their sewing projects|
There is so much I can't wait to share
I love history, and I love great stories. We read about exciting people and events in history, and it makes my heart soar. When David brought me my beautifully illustrated copy of The Hobbit and asked me to read it, I thought I'd die. We've read amazing fairy tales and even my reluctant listener, Grayson, has been drawn in to some of the great stories, fiction and non-fiction alike, that I read aloud. And there is so much more to come! We are wrapping up our study of Rome, and will move into the middle-ages next year. Oh my word! Knights! Castles! Royalty! Battles! Inventions! There are so many wonderful things that I loved learning about, and it is such a blessing to be the one to share them with my kids.
I am pushed to learn and discover new things
David wants to build, build, build. He literally wants to build a robot to help do his chores. Writing, stories, history, literature? I can do that all day long. Heck, I can even hang with the math stuff, thanks to a great curriculum. But engineering? Robotics? Building? Dude, I have no clue. I am at a loss as to how to guide and nurture his budding interests in these areas - but thank goodness, good ideas are just a few keystrokes away. I've connected with local homeschooling friends who have kids with similar interests, and there's nothing like a good 'ole Google search. Their interests are stretching me to learn more and discover ways to help them learn more - and definitely helping in the don't-let-my-brain-turn-to-mush department.
As we wrap up this year and head into what is shaping up to be a project-filled summer, I'm excited for the possibilities - both for them, and for me!