I made the rookie mistakes.
We decided to homeschool our children when we were pregnant with our first child. When she was approaching preschool age, the questions began.
Will she be going to preschool this fall?
No, we are going to homeschool.
The conversation left me feeling insecure. I knew the why, but I didn’t know the how.
I was not relaxed about the whole process. I bought way too many workbooks – out of compulsion and fear, and because – really? – Target was selling them for a dollar. I gave into the fear that I didn’t know how I was going to actually teach my child. Buying gobs of colorful workbooks and lining them up on our shelves felt like the responsible, confidence boosting thing to do.
Those workbooks only mocked me because my daughter has never enjoyed them.
Instead of looking into educational theories or questioning my methods, I jumped into a box curriculum. (Do not read that box curricula are bad. They can be wonderful!)
I bought cute little desks. I wanted to sit down with my kids and teach them at the same time. I wanted order and timing. Defined roles of teacher and student.
Rookie mistakes again.
I could not box in my daughter. The more I tried to define learning and make her want it, the more she wanted her freedom and the more we disconnected.
So we stopped, took a break, and found out that she couldn’t see.
Literally, she needed glasses.
2013 was a major learning year for me. I remembered that before I can homeschool my children – I must first homeschool myself.
It was the first year I went to a homeschool convention. I went because I just wanted to feel like I wasn’t as isolated in this whole homeschool thing as I was feeling. I went to gain tools in parenting and for teaching reading. I went to learn and to stop being afraid of being a rookie.
I came away with a whole new appreciation for learning. I had so much to correct in my own behavior, but I was hopeful that all the changes could be made.
One of the biggest changes I knew I needed to make was in my educational theory. Without even realizing it, I was trying to impose a traditional view of school onto my children because that was all I knew. Sit in desks, listen to me teach, perform, and receive a grade.
Slowly, I branched out. Learning little by little everything I could about other methods and philosophies on teaching and learning styles. Thankfully, I have some very great friends who also homeschool and they have exposed me to other theories in a relatively painless way.
I realize now that my focus in the beginning on the what and the why wasn’t enough. I needed to learn the how in order to truly connect with the natural gifts and talents of my children.
Because the goal isn’t just to get through a grade or even a book, it’s for my children to develop and enjoy the fullness of life.
So this series is dedicated to defining the how’s behind many of the different educational theories.
I aim to answer 5 questions within each theory and they are:
- Who originated the theory?
- What problem is solved or what need is met?
- Who has adapted it?
- What companies function from this theory?
- Who are the critics?
List of theories:
- Waldorf Education
- Leadership Education (TJed)
- Interest Led Learning
- Classical Education
- Charlotte Mason Education
- Unit Studies
I will also include a whole list of teaching resources for different methods and organizational strategies to aid you in suiting your personality style to your homeschool style.
I’m here to help.