Our family became homeschoolers in fits and starts. After a traumatic and disastrous time spent in public school, we knew we had to bring our girls home for good. But I knew I had to deal with the reality of homeschooling. Despite my teacher training in college, the reality of being my children's primary academic educator was a wee bit daunting, no matter how natural the idea felt. What should it look like, really?
Todd and I both felt strongly that we didn't want it to look like the public school system we had pulled them out of. I read everything I could get my hands on regarding alternative educational philosophies, e.g. John Holt, Charlotte Mason, Maria Montessori, Waldorf, etc. I read books of real parents in the homeschooling trenches.
I shared my findings with Todd and we had many long discussions, trying to wrap our minds around a completely different, but more natural, idea of what being educated means. More importantly, what should it look like for us?
We realized we needed to begin with the end in mind: in imagining our children grown, what was it we TRULY wanted them to be able to do, that we could give them REALISTICALLY? Thus our homeschooling "mission statement" was born.
- We wanted them to be comfortable with math and math concepts.
- We wanted them to be able to read and to (hopefully) enjoy reading. (If they learn to read, then the world of knowledge opens up for them.)
- We wanted them to have the skills necessary to find things out for themselves.
- We wanted them to have the life skills (balance a check book, read a map, follow a recipe, clean a toilet, etc.) that they’d need to negotiate life.
So right now we focus on real books (as opposed to textbooks,) life skills, and math, and plenty of time for them to pursue their own interests.