I signed my 13 year old daughter up for her first online class yesterday. She is well into her middle school years and high school is just around the corner so my role as her teacher is slowly changing. I suspect in the coming years, she will take more and more classes this way and I will end up doing a lot more managing of her educational options and a lot less actual teaching of her daily lessons.
Home schooling these days can mean so many different things and home schoolers have the option to follow so many different paths. There are the online courses like the ones we are just delving into, full virtual curriculums, countless co-op classes, college courses offered to high school students, private tutors, part-time/hybrid schools, and so much more. The choices and options overwhelm me at times. There is a temptation to want to try it all, if for no other reason than to calm my fears that on my own I will never be able to do enough.
I am an old fashioned girl though, even when it comes to home schooling.
I am grateful for the opportunity to take advantage of such a wide array of worthwhile educational resources that are available to my children in our community but really, I prefer the old fashioned approach to home schooling. I like best, the days we just stay at home and do our work all together. I like sitting all together around the old butcher block kitchen table that has since become our school table and watching my children with their heads bent over their workbooks or notebooks as they learn about the world right here under my own roof where I can supervise and share in all of it.
My favorite thing about home schooling has always been (right from the very start) that it is so family friendly and so family centered. I love that my children have all done the same science curriculum the last two years and have been able to share their discoveries and delight in learning with each other. I love that we share our read-aloud books together and all my children sit with rapt attention as I open the world of literature to them. I love when we get into discussions about the world and how it works and all the amazing things God has created in it. I love that history and religion lessons can be shared as well and that even my two year old feels like an important part of all that we do in our classroom.
This has been one of those weeks where we have all worked well together (mostly). A week where home schooling has truly been a family focused endeavor and I have been able to step back and enjoy the privilege and blessing of having all 5 of my children with me each and every day. This week we have been working hard on projects for our home school group’s annual history fair. The older children all have big tri-fold boards that they are busy filling with information about their various topics. The little one has been watching all the excitement as her siblings do their research in anticipation of the fair in a few weeks. She, of course, wanted to be included so her sisters took a break from their work to put together a little project for her. They patiently traced pictures of her favorite Sesame Street characters and asked her what she knew about each of them. They wrote down her words and then she colored her pictures. We made her a tri-fold board out of an old cardboard box so that when we arrive at the fair she will have her own project to show off. Working together, learning together, cooperating and supporting each other-- this is home schooling at its best!
I know as my children get older and their work becomes more and more complex it will be in their best interest to take advantage of the resources that will provide them the most solid educational instruction possible, but I really hope we can still do most of our work at home, as a family, all together.