A Year of Homeschool

It’s been almost a year since we started with the BookShark curriculum and I just want to say, if you’re looking for a boxed curriculum and you want a flexible schedule and you want to emphasize a love of reading and adventure, then you should seriously consider BookShark.

It’s been nearly a year for us, but BookShark is a 36-week curriculum. For us, a more laid back, year long schedule is better, so we have had a blast incorporating the awesome resources into our life of learning. We’ve also added in other materials that suited my daughter’s interests. For example, we’re doing lessons around the first Harry Potter book and all of this stemmed from a recent hike we took when Kat found a tree branch that she thought would be perfect for a broom.

This is how we homeschool.

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The slideshow shows some of the things she’s done since January 2019.

Maybe you and your children prefer more structure and would rather follow a curriculum more closely. Perfect. The BookShark boxed curriculum will fulfill those needs as well.

I’m not one to tell parents how to homeschool. I’m not going to tell you that children need to be completely left to their own devices, although there may be truth to that. I’m not going to tell you that you need to teach for 7 hours a day to ensure your child is getting a solid education, although there are parents out there who actually do that. I’m not going to tell you you should homeschool four days a week or five days a week, or anything, because the reasons we homeschool are as varied as the families who chose to homeschool.

You’ve got to believe in yourself and your child enough to ditch the “shoulds” and follow your own unique path to educating your children.

What I will say is this: trust your children.

Right now, my daughter is upstairs playing with dolls. She rarely wants to play on her own, but last night and this morning she has wanted to and I am letting her play, even though a big part of me wants to ask her to come down and read with me, or do math, or maybe just get the heck out of the house. I’m resisting the urge to interrupt her play, because play is so important. Right now, she is upstairs playing as an adult, with her little “children” and she’s learning. She’s learning how to deal with adult situations, on her terms, in her own way and that’s important. We all need the time to rehearse what we’d do in situations we may not feel emotionally ready for.

For kids, this is through play.

 

That said, children also need to understand that we have needs that must be attended to. For example, I hate folding clothes, but it has to be done or we’ll all be wearing wrinkled, disheveled looking clothes every day. My daughter may learn this when she doesn’t really feel like completing a math sheet. It’s not the most fun thing to do, but it’s helpful and she can get it done quickly and move on to other things.

I have three things on our agenda each day: read aloud, independent reading, math. We know that we do these three things at least five days a week. These are my only rules, because I know that anything else she chooses to do is still learning. I don’t have to be in control of the situation to “make learning happen.” While my daily requirements may seem too loose, with these rules, she has gone from reading three letter words on cards to reading entire books. She has gone from struggling to write her name to writing stories. She learned to ride a bike, tie her shoes, and she has a rather extensive vocabulary for a 6 1/2 year old, using and understanding words like: edible, bizarre, actually, basically (overused, to be honest haha!), terrifying, empathy, too name a few. I’ve not taught her these things. She’s learned by experiencing them and feeling the need to learn them herself.

It’s a balancing act and one I’ve not mastered and will never claim to have. As a matter of fact, I can’t stand the parenting and homeschooling “experts.” There’s no such thing. Every child is different and therefore you cannot be an expert on all children.

Hell, most parents aren’t expert on all of their own children, but less anyone else’s. So those Peaceful Parents can go elsewhere…or at least don’t speak to me until their children are grown and have married (another challenge is learning to live with in-laws, let me tell you) and have children of their own, or NOT have children or get married….this can be a serious challenge to those who hope to have “traditional” families.

I was never one to wish for that and much to my sons’ chagrin, I actually hoped they’d be gay.

Yep, I said it. I hoped my sons were gay. I thought it would enable me to avoid dealing with a daughter-in-law, which I assumed would be a terrible experience, but alas they are not gay and one is married and they both have children of their own who are absolutely the most amazing little ones I’ve ever known. I love my family, even my daughter-in-law, whom I don’t always see eye-to-eye.

We are never fully prepared for any of the changes in our lives and none of us is an expert and none of will ever be one.

It seems I’ve digressed, but I really haven’t. You see, the fact is, you don’t have to be an expert to homeschool your children. Your friend may be a former teacher, but I promise you what he knows isn’t helping him homeschool. He may be struggling to take himself out of the centerpiece so he can better help his child learn.

All you need to do to homeschool well is listen to your child. Share your knowledge and allow your child to share his knowledge with you. Make your home a learning environment where every interest can be considered.

My daughter wants to be a YouTuber. This is something that a school could never consider into a curriculum. As a matter of fact, most schools block YouTube. For my daughter, it can be a very real aspect of her homeschooling journey and it will be. We are making plans to get her a GoPro and we’ve told her to begin thinking of the name for her channel and what she wants to present. She’s asked about green screens, and how to share desktops with others, etc. All of this is very real-world learning and publishing and it’s wonderful to be able to offer this to her at such a young age. In a school setting, it would be a fake channel, with an imaginary market of viewers, etc. Do you see how the latter would be far less interesting to a child?

Make your homeschool YOURS.

Let your child guide your curriculum.

Use the boxed curriculum to provide awesome resources and books, and activities that fuel your child’s interests and open the door to even more ideas.

Don’t think you have to model the public school system – which is a failing model, by the way.

Trust yourself.

Trust your kids.

Have some fun along the way.

xx

Resa

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