Susan and her family live somewhere in Central Indiana. In the middle of the prairie I guess.
1. How long have you been homeschooling (or if finished, how long did you homeschool)?
This is our family's sixth year of homeschooling.
2. One of the main benefits of homeschooling is the freedom and flexibility it allows. Can you give us a few examples of how this freedom and flexibility benefited you (your family)?
There are really too many instances of freedom and flexibility in our homeschooling to list them all, so I'll mention my favorites. One freedom is to vacation when prices are good and the family is beginning to "burn out" on education. We can take a break and come back fresh and ready to learn. We almost always manage to learn a lot of educational things while on vacation that we'd never learn at home. It is amazing how much science can be gathered from a day of play at the ocean!
Another favorite result of the flexibility of homeschooling is the ability to take as many field trips as we want, whenever we choose to do so. It is much more rewarding to leisurely pore over a few favorite exhibits at the museum when there are only a few other people there than it is to cram in the entire museum on a weekend when it is packed full of people.
Of course, none of that compares to the ability to change curriculum immediately when it doesn't seem to be effective. We have recently done this with both our math and writing curriculum. I can only imagine how frustrated we'd be if we were stuck with the "one-size-fits-all" curriculum that brick and mortar schools use for these subjects. I have found that if a student doesn't seem to "take to" a subject at all, changing the teaching/learning approach helps tremendously.
3. Another benefit of homeschooling is the fun factor. Can you give us a few examples of some especially fun times you had as a result of homeschooling?
As mentioned above, we had a great day of science while playing at the beach on vacation. We learned first hand about marine animals in general, crabs, dolphins, tides, tide pools, salt in the ocean, how the waves and sand erode shells, red tide, sea weed, how distance from the equator affects the climate, and much, much, more. The best part is that we learned it all while playing!
Another fun and productive school day was our hike through Mounds State Park. We learned a lot about the history of the Mounds Indians by observing the landmarks and reading the information posted around the park about the sites. We learned a lot about reading maps and using compasses, because I handed these tools to the children and told them to navigate our explorations. Of course, one cannot hike through a state park without learning multitudes about nature!
Unfortunately, it is not practical for our family to do all of our learning through such fun, natural, hands-on experiences, but it is extremely rewarding when we take advantage of the ability to do so.
4. We all have funny experiences while homeschooling. Can you share one of yours with us?
We have named our homeschool Walnut Grove Christian Academy partly as a subtle joke and partly as a means of avoiding hostility in anti-homeschooling environments, which we occasionally find ourselves in. The joke, of course, is that Walnut Grove is where Little House on the Prairie is set, and we thought it fit because we have a house full of three girls, ages 3, 6, and 12, and we have a small grove of walnut trees near the house on the farmstead. Our school mascot is a squirrel and our school motto is "protect your nuts."
When we learn and do outside activities, we almost always do them together as a family. One of these outside activities is 4-H. My youngest, who just turned three years old this spring, has been attending 4-H meetings with us since she was six weeks old and earning me disgruntled looks for breastfeeding her during the meetings. For the first meeting this year, the club secretary took attendance by asking members to tell where they attend school. After the roll call, she asked if there was anybody she had missed. My three-year-old promptly stood up, and very loudly and clearly stated, "Me, Emily! I go to Walnut Christian Grove...um, I'm homeschooled!" I wonder what project she plans to exhibit at the fair?
I have back problems from time to time, and when I need to see the chiropractor, my daughters go with me. One day, after I'd spent the day teaching the girls some life skills, I had a chiropractor's appointment. When the doctor came in, my daughter told him that we'd been doing something very special that day. It was something we NEVER do and he'd never guess what it was. He took the bait and guessed several things like going to the military museum or building a dog house before my daughter proudly said, "No. We cleaned the house!"
Labels: Homeschooling Family Interviews