Our Family

Our Family

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Homeschooling: Families Learning Together

There are a lot of great reasons to homeschool.  The ability to cater to your child's learning style, the ability to give them a Christian education, and protection from negative peer influence are just a few.  I actually wrote a blog post several years ago where I jotted down 20 advantages to homeschooling off the top pf my head.  You can read that post here.  One of my favorite benefits of homeschooling is families learning together.

In the modern public school system, children are separated by age, and siblings are not allowed to be in the same classroom.  Children are only allowed to learn according to what the system has deemed appropriate for that age level.  With siblings going in different directions every day all day long, and parents being separated from their children most of the day, they do not get much time together as a family.  Evenings are spent running to separate extra curricular activities, doing homework,  competing chores, and sleeping.  Even families that make it a top priority do not have enough hours left in the day for family time.

Homeschooling allows whole families to learn together.  This is a foreign concept for those who are used to the modern school system's idea of age segregated learning.  But, the homeschool is similar to the old one room school house where all levels of learning took place all at the same time.  We do as much as possible altogether.  Bible, history, science, art, read alouds, and P.E. are all subjects we do together.  Many homeschool curriculum providers recognize the need to teach multiple levels and create curricula designed to do so.  Even the subjects we complete independently (math, spelling, writing) we complete in the same room.   There is something really cool about whole families learning together!  I cannot tell you how much I have learned through teaching my children!

Our Families Learning Together experience extends to activities outside the house as well.  We deliberately seek out activities that are "family friendly" and that everyone can participate in or at least attend.  We play soccer as a family.  Even though some of the children are on separate teams and some can't yet play, it still is an activity that we all can attend and enjoy together.  We chose to participate in 4 H because both boys and girls can participate and the age range is 5-19.  Lily and Emmie can go to all of the meetings and contests (they think that they already are in 4 H) and parents are always welcome at all of the activities.  4 H is very family friendly.  The art classes we were able to take for a year and a half included all of the children, even the baby.  It was so nice that everyone could "do art" together. Once a month (or more) we visit a local state park and attend one of their programs.  This is something we all can do as well.

We try to always choose field trips that will appeal to the wide range of ages we have in our family.  We have passes to the Mid America Science Museum, we also love going to zoos and aquariums, an some of the historic state parks in our area.  

This doesn't mean that nobody ever goes off and does their own thing.  There are some activities through church and even 4 H activities for the older children that they go to on their own.  But, generally speaking we seek out family friendly activities and learning experiences.  This is very important to me.  My children are each other's best friends, and that's the way I think family should be (this does NOT in any way mean they get along all the time!  they are children and do not!!!)  One of the reasons I chose to begin homeschooling was because I wanted to be a part of my children's lives.  I enjoy teaching my children and learning along with them!  I love being able to see with my eyes the pride they feel when they accomplish something new!  I love being able to see the "I got it" moments when figuring out a math problem or spelling word.  I love being able to choose things to study that they will delight in (please note: this does not mean that all of my days run smoothly or that I have a perfect homeschool, far from it!  but the good always, always outweighs the bad!) We only have a short period of time to prepare them for eternity and I want to make the most of the time we have.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."  Deuteronomy 11: 18-19.
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