Monday, November 10, 2014

The Freedom Of Homeschool

Waking up this morning, I realized it's November! I mean, I knew it was November... but whoa! It IS November and that means Winter, The Holidays, snow, cold weather, cookies, crafting, cabin-fever and all the good things (and some unpleasant) that go along with this season!

I've sort of laid off the blog for awhile. I went through a time of not wanting to "talk." Does this ever happen to you? For me, I felt overwhelmed as I jumped into a new season of new experiences. The need to evaluate without explanation was ever-present, and as we ventured through the Fall season, I didn't have answers.

Now I'm feeling a little more clarity, and I think I want to talk about our homeschooling experience thus far.

Homeschooling with Lucas has been (for the most part) incredibly fun. Honestly, it's often the best part of our day! Lucas will ask me when we get to do "schoolwork?" This warms my heart, immensely.

That being said, homeschooling can feel a bit like a beast... tame, as long as I don't over-think things too much. There are days when I think "we should be doing more," which lead to feelings of potential failure or maybe I'm not providing all the content he needs. In my heart, I know this is a total untruth. But homeschooling can seriously be a beast!

In full honesty, I felt completely overwhelmed at the start. I knew in my heart that this was the right decision for our family; for Lucas. The longer I sought out curriculum, structure, content, and advice, the more ill-equipped I felt. If there is one thing I can suggest to all parents out there: Do not look at ALL THE BLOGS and set that as an expectation for yourself. If you didn't feel overwhelmed or completely unqualified before, you will after reading blogs and websites that tell you how to do it. Just don't.

After a couple summer months of preparing, I finally decided to not choose a curriculum set. I realized that there is no "package" made for every child and the reason I am homeschooling Lucas is to provide an education that is good for HIM. I chose a base workbook that is a suited for general Kindergarten. This would ensure Lucas is getting all the content he would learn in Kindergarten classroom (it's vitally important to me that he get content he would get in a "regular" classroom, in addition to what we provide at home). This workbook is the smallest part of our homeschool experience, as I build on it with other content Lucas and I are interested in (Phonics, Reading Comprehension, Art, Music, Spanish...Volcanoes!). Once I released the idea of having to shape our homeschool experience to fit into a specific curriculum, the whole thing suddently felt feasible. If curriculum matched our needs, homeschooling felt doable in our home.

This free-thinking approach to homeschooling opened my eyes (and heart) to the possibilities that lay waiting for us as a family. The weight was lifted. When people ask me what we use as a guideline in our family I say: we are a little bit Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, Classical Education, and still evolving. Essentially, I finally understood that there are very few rules (outside of the rules we set for our own home) to being a homeschool family... and that felt great!

This mentality of freedom is a concept I'm attempting to extend into other areas of my personal life at home. The bondage of "I should be doing more" is something I've lived under for years... and honestly, I continue to fail at. That feeling of failure is just the worst, and as I've ventured into homeschool territory I decided I didn't want to bring that to the table. I'm still evaluating why I often think this way, and while I ponder this way of thinking, I'm working on saying "no thanks."

As I say "no thanks" in my personal life, I'm pushing this mind-set into raising our little human too. Letting him be a child. This feels like the best gift I can give him right now. Honestly, I'm not homeschooling Lucas so that he can be the best at everything. I'm homeschooling him so he can be the best version of himself and that means he's happy, free, secure, and understands he is deeply loved.

As we continue this journey of being a family, I'm continually reminded that we are constantly learning how to serve each other. Lucas will continue to learn how to be a human, and as his mother I will continue to evaluate how to teach, shape, and offer life-lessons. No two days look the same, nor should they. As I continue to learn how to educate my child, I too am learning more about myself. It's a great feeling!

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