Friday, October 29, 2010

How We Homeschool

We recently pulled the last of our public schooled kids out to homeschool them, so now we have all 5 at home on a daily basis. While our reasons are many, and we do miss some of the pros of public school, overall the pros of homeschooling win hands down, and the experience has been wonderful! The grass looked greener from over there, and what do you know, it really is greener on this side!

Since they all homeschooled all summer while it was too hot to play outside before the school year started, we gave them the entire month of October off as "Fall Break." They have been enjoying the opportunity to play outside and relax with the gorgeous Texas fall weather. Just as the mornings and evenings get a bite of cold, it's time to get back to the books. While their school is all completed in several hours before lunchtime, and they still have all afternoon to play like they're on a school break, the complete freedom to be creative or lazy has been interesting to watch. I can observe as they choose their own projects and pursue their own interests. I can relax and get to know them better as individuals and better tailor their academics and extra curricular activities to suit their strengths and overcome their weaknesses.

Thursday my toddler had her friends over for formal preschool time where we made crafts, learned letters and phonics, sorted snacks, played outside, and the older kids had an opportunity to serve the little ones by helping and playing with them. After they left, we piled into the car to visit the large central public library branch in downtown Austin. Crossing the street with 5 little ones is always a particularly fun challenge. After gaping at the most books they've ever seen and pulling most of the children's section off the shelves, they had a lesson in behaving in public while I browsed for my own books. We all then attended Levi's Rain Gutter Regata at his Cub Pack Meeting. Levi tied for second place! We were all happy he found his kit on Thursday morning and was able to get the boat assembled and painted in spurts during preschool so we could all cheer him on.

The main benefit of this homeschool "thing" we do is time. So much time to be together, to be apart, to learn, to relax, to do projects, to do nothing, to play together, to work together, to learn to resolve conflicts together, to socialize with siblings, friends, and neighbors around the community. All the time we used to spend frazzled, running from one thing to the next, completing all the projects that other people deemed the most important for our family, we are finally free to decide what we do with our own time.

Back to the books on Monday morning after Halloween! I bought a new math curriculum for them all for Christmas, and we are all refreshed and ready to come back to academics. I am excited to introduce some new techniques and re-implement our regularly scheduled routine. I am excited watching us all thrive in our new adventure together.

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