What style of homeschooling does your family follow?
I would describe our homeschooling style as eclectic. I tried to be a box-curriculum
homeschooler, but it didn’t work for us. As far as methods, we probably ascribe most closely to a Charlotte Mason style homeschool with influence gathered from Waldorf, Montessori, and Classical approaches as well. We love unit studies, note booking, and living books.
What state do you homeschool in, and what are the laws like there for homeschoolers? How does this affect the way you homeschool (if at all)?
We homeschool in Mississippi. Our homeschool laws are pretty easy to comply with—
Register with the local attendance officer on or before Sept 15 of each school year for each child age 6 and up. Complete 180 days of instruction. We have the freedom to use
whichever curriculum we choose, and there is no testing required. The one way I think our state laws affect our homeschooling is that I don’t feel like the kids have to be tied to their desks, and everything we learn doesn’t have to be recorded on paper. We are free to explore and learn through a variety of ways including nature walks, field trips, talking to experts, watching videos (online and DVDs), and research in the library or online. I feel that this variety helps to instill a love of learning in my kids.
Why did your family begin homeschooling?
We began homeschooling when our oldest was only four-years-old. Originally, we began
homeschooling because I didn’t want my very active little boy “tied” to a desk all day. He was very bright, but he was also an explorer, and I didn’t want him to lose that curiosity in a public school classroom. Through the years, the list of reasons to continue homeschooling has grown—love of learning, freedom to explore, being able to train our children Biblically, the relationships built with our children, the relationships the siblings have with each other, the time it gives us as a family, time for the kids to explore their own interests, the ability to individualize our curriculum for each student based on his or her needs. The list goes on and on…
What do you wish you knew when you first began homeschooling?
What do I wish I had known when we first began? How quickly the years would fly by! That each child would have a different learning style, strengths, and weaknesses. That progress is SO much more important than perfection. That grade levels don’t matter much. <—Of course, I knew all of those things in theory and I would have said I completely agreed with them, but I think there are some things in life that you can’t truly KNOW until you’ve lived through them.
What are the hardest and easiest parts of homeschooling?
The hardest part of homeschooling is that, even after all these years, I tend to second-guess myself—Am I doing enough? Am I expecting too much? Is this the right curriculum for this child? The easiest part would be (1) reading good books, and (2) Fun Fridays which I just added to our schedule this school year. We do artist and composer studies, drawing lessons, read more good books, explore outside, take field trips—all those things that I’ve been putting off for so long because there was never time. I made time for those things this year, and we all love it. I hope it’s the #1 thing my kids remember about our homeschooling journey. 🙂