Learning from the Kids

 I had such fun reading the responses over the kids’ homeschool “couture”.   The crazy thing is that I actually almost stopped them from wearing their outlandish outfits once.   We visited with another homeschooling family, who made a weekly practice of taking school on the road.   It sounded like a great idea, so I tried it with our gang.   It took forever for us to actually get dressed, fed, packed and out the door, which totally frustrated me.   Once at the library (our chosen destination for the day), the school on the road idea caught mixed reviews.   Personally, I learned (after only 1 outing, believe it or not), that the operative word in homeschool is not school, but home, and our uniqueness has value that works for us and is not to be belittled.   Others might like to jump in the car and tour the city, but our brood enjoys wearing bathrobes and loungewear all day, eating snacks as the need/desire arises, and occasionally enjoying a bird, a plant, or whatever else God sends past the windows.   We can laugh without telling each other, “Shhhh!”, and we can relax and walk barefooted without stares or pressure to buy something.   

Such were my thoughts when I read a great article (originally on Kysha’s blog) championing the use of textbooks.   It was an intriguing article from Teri Maxwell (of Managers of Their Homes fame), who was originally discouraged by others for her family’s choice to subscribe to the use of traditional textbooks.   I guess those of us who steer away from textbooks do give the traditionalists a rough time. 

In our home, we actually do use two traditional textbooks: Apologia for Science, and Rod and Staff for Grammar.   When I think about it, we use those texts for the reasons the author stated—learning and planning that happens outside of Mom’s time and energy.   I’m beginning to believe exactly what I heard in a seminar when we began this journey: no curriculum is bad curriculum.   As just one example, I shared in a previous post about the differences of how ABeka teaches reading vs. Bob Jones, and I did spend the money—not a small amount, I might add—on the Bob Jones phonics curriculum.   Now, I see the youngest take her own finger as needed and put it in the appropriate place to help her sound out words.   Most of the time, no finger is needed at all.   Talk about feeling like a horse’s rear. 

Natural curiosity is a wonderful element of homeschooling.  I’ve posted it before, but the times when the kids are talking, questioning, and loving what they’ve learned are, in my mind, the most treasured academic reward of a homeschool. Yet, the reality of this life is that everything the kids have to learn won’t be fun.   Meeting their life’s goals will mean learning more than just that which they find fascinating.   To complete an MBA with concentrations in finance and marketing, I had to take economics, accounting, and statistics—courses from hell (LOL). 

So, where does all of this leave me?   With a commitment to tap into the kids’ interests whenever I can, but also with a freedom and a peace.   As I pray more, read more, and learn more, I’m okay with saying that we won’t be 100% anything next year, but we will learn.   What’s more, we’ll do it in the way that works for us–bathrobes, nature studies, textbooks, and all.

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9 thoughts on “Learning from the Kids

  1. Very well said. Wow. Well, I guess you told me. LOL!

    We firmly believe in being home too. Today however, we also went to the library. We had a ton of fines, (my fault) and then my son and I had the usual argument over why he can't check out certain things. Oh boy.

    Then we zipped over to see a friend and my son (same one) caught his finger in the car door. OUCH! What a day! He's fine now, and all in all, we'd rather do this than just about anything else. For the most part, life is good and I wouldn't trade homeschooling my kids for all the smarts in the world.


  2. I always love your posts. I am probably going with a textbook for government next year for the big teen. I think most people do a variety of things that work for them. I know every year of our homeschool looks a bit different as we go through ages and stages and family enlargements.

  3. Isn't it great that we have the freedom to choose whether or not to wear bathrobes for school, or whether we'll use textbooks or avoid them…
    one of the things I LOVE about homeschooling is that we can do exactly what is best for our family, and that won't look exactly like what is best for any other family. And we can all learn from each other, too. I enjoyed reading this post. Thanks.


  4. It's so important to use whatever tools you need for your children. Some children thrive on textbooks. That isn't my preferred teaching method, but sometimes that it what works best.

    I loved your library story! My daughter has been asking if we can "do school" at the library once a week. I think it will turn out similar to your experience, especially after years of being at home, but maybe I'll give it a try since you did. 🙂


  5. Half of my boys (and me too of course) love to homeschool in our jammies! I dread the days when we have to pack everyone up and be gone for the day – I'm a homebody and I love it. Thanks for sharing your insight on this topic. Great post

  6. Hey Miss Belinda! Hope your mom's day was terrific!!

    I sent you a private message ~ I also added my email address there for you as well.

    Bless you!!!

I'd love to hear your two cents!!