Two of my favorite bloggers have written some excellent posts on the subject this week.
Cami at Full Circle gives us a peek into their family’s home school, in the post A Solitary Plant: How We Homeschool: how the study of one particular plant, in this case mullein, took her family from their nature journals and botany to Thoreau (slavery, the Civil War, and Civil Disobedience), Homer, Latin, and a study of homemade toxins.
Mrs. G. at Derfwad Manor talks about how and why her family homeschools (Part One), along with her “highly subjective opinions regarding homeschooling small fry” and a very kind mention of Farm School. Lots of trademark Derfwad humor, warmth, and common sense. As she writes,
Mrs. G. was reluctant to write about homeschooling because why and how you do it varies so widely. For the G’s homeschooling is more of a way of life than a segment of their day. Homeschooling has given their family so much time and freedom to be together and control the pace of their lives. If Mrs. G. had to describe herself under the current homeschooling labels she would have to say she is an unschooler who makes her kids do math whether they want to or not. Mrs. G. felt her main job was making sure their house was filled to the brim with good books (hello garage sales and Goodwill) on all kinds of subjects, helping her kids identify their passions and figure out how to explore them on a budget, teaching them life skills at an early age so that they understood the concept of teamwork and that Mrs. G. was not a maid or servant or ATM machine and loving them.
Read the rest here.
And Mrs. G. recommends a book I haven’t heard of, The Way Back Home: Essays on Life and Family by Peggy O’Mara, but was able to find at the library (the one book I have read by Ms. O’Mara, when I was pregnant with Laura, is the lovely A Quiet Place). Stay tuned for Part Two later in the week, including Mrs. G.’s experience home schooling older kids, one of whom is Miss G., who is headed for Agnes Scott College in the fall.
Also worth reading, from the comments after her post, is this reply from Mrs. G.,
But I want to make one thing really clear — no one should admire me or any other homeschooling parent just because they homeschool. It is just a choice. I don’t NOT admire anyone who chooses to send their kids to public or private school. I am usually turned off by zealots in general — those who think there is only one BEST way to do anything and that they have the only recipe. Live and let live. I sometimes get the impression that when I tell people I homeschool, they feel the need to justify why they don’t. We all do the best we can for our kids. Period. I also get the impression that when I tell people I homeschool, they decide I am a woman who makes her kids wear calico bonnets while they sit at the kitchen table and carve the ten commandments on wood slabs…in Latin, but that’s another story.
As Mrs. G. writes, home schooling is one more choice we parents make. It is also, as with just about everything else having to do with families and raising children, highly subjective and very personal. Homeschooling itself has many shades and stripes — classical education, neo-classical education, classical unschooling, radical unschooling, and that’s only a sprinkling, without getting into the secular and religious (non-evangelical and evangelical Christian, Catholic, UU, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Pagan…) variations thereof and therein.
I’ll add just a couple of pieces of advice that have worked for me since we started:
Get a library card for every member of the family and use it
When it comes to advice (from books or bloggers or the home schooler down the street), keep what works for you and your family, and ditch the rest
What works with one child might not work for (any of) the others
And that’s truly the beauty of home education — the flexibility, which Cami and Mrs. G. demonstrate so well.
Filed under: Home Education