I want to preface this post by saying: I am not well versed or even experienced in homeschooling. This is ALL NEW, and my experience/opinion only.
I believe education starts at home. From day 1 of the child’s life, they are learning, in insurmountable leaps and bounds. As the parent we gently (and tirelessly) engage with our children, guiding them and showing them how to explore and experiment. It starts with eating, and sleeping, and coos and transitions to facial expressions, smiles, and understanding their bodies belong to them. From the moment they arrive we are their mentor.
Somewhere along the way (and I’m not saying this is wrong) we slowly release parts of the learning process- insert education system. Trust me, I see how and why so many families choose that. I was first in line for public school because I believe(d) my kids would learn a lot more from someone else. Honestly, I still feel insanely inadequate for the job and feel as if my children could learn so much more away from me.
After lots of daunting and emotional conversations with myself and my sufficiency issues, I was reminded that I was well equipped for the job only because of God..
I recently read a book by Allie Stuckey, You’re Not Enough…. (and that’s ok), and one major take-away (of so many others!!!) was that I am most certainly not enough for any job I tackle . But I have access to the one who is. Now, her book isn’t for homeschooling and I will say she not once mentions being not enough for home-education, but I realized I can apply this thought process to nearly all the categories in my life.
While thrusting myself into an entire world of question marks and uncertainty I pressed forward in hopes to find “the perfect curriculum”. I landed on a product (that I will go into more at another time) that I felt satisfied our style (and landed in a reasonable budget for a first timer) and kept putting one foot in front of the other. All while battling doubt and self-confidence wars in my mind constantly.
Earlier this year I read a book called Boy Mom by Monica Swanson. After that book I plunged myself into her podcast and soaked in all the boy mama wisdom I could and found myself admiring her boys and also her homeschooling experiences. It was her podcast, Episode 65: Homeschool Made Simple, coupled with RAR (Read Aloud Revival) #159: 10 Homeschooling Mistakes I’ve Made (so you don’t make them) that I found immense freedom in the learning style(s) I have chosen for my boys. I was also able to take a sigh of relief knowing that the curriculum I picked, while not my idea of perfect, will work JUST FINE. Realizing that it’s just kindergarten and preschool, it was more so my attitude and outlook that would really shape and set the tone for any subsequent years I decide to homeschool. Don’t get me wrong, education IS important. I desire my kiddos to be intelligent and informed. However, if I’m honest, I would also like my kids to slow down, take their time and really soak it in. All of it.
For us, play-based experimentation and discovery is what’s going to fill our early education days. My goals will, of course, include: mastering the alphabet (letters and sounds— preschool kiddo), learning to engage and fall in LOVE with reading. We’ll practice the norm— handwriting, shapes and sight words and hope to be reading by the end of the year. Most of all, I want my boys to get their hands dirty and discover the earth, ask questions, make observations.
All that being said— we also adopted a frog almost 2-ish weeks ago. This is what science will look like for us. My boys can already tell you what a habitat is, what a frog eats and how often. They can tell you how to identify if the frog is male or female. That frogs grow from tad pole to froglet to frog. But can I just say, google and books have been our saving grace. Google has also been there for me when I had to google: what do crickets eat? Because heaven forbid I don’t feed the crickets – who are then to be fed to the frog – HA!
Google, Barnes & Nobel, Amazon, and soon enough the Library will be endless resources for me to be able to answer all their quirky questions. I have learned that not only am I actually teaching my children but I am modeling to them what it looks like to not have the answer but find the tools and resources to get the questions answered. I’m modeling what it looks like to get it wrong… change my observations and keep trying to get it right. I will be the first to admit that school was difficult for me. I’m a slow learner sometimes, I am also a tactile learner. I am not “enough” to do this job. Not even close. However, I am so thankful we get to learn, explore, imagine and PLAY together.
If there is any gift that COVID-19 has brought it is the gift of more time. And trust me, I didn’t always have this point of view. I was looking forward to some freedom that sending my kids to school would provide. But God, in his loving kindness, has been slowly preparing me for such a time as this. I am so thankful I have Him as my ultimate resource.
Above all, our core values of becoming more like Jesus and training them to mimic Jesus’ principles are of highest priority. We will be memorizing scripture and learning more about who Jesus is and what kinds of things He did while He was here. My husband has taken this task on and will actually be the “teacher” for this endeavor and I will be supporting it by reinforcing and including those stories and character traits into all the other lessons along the way.