I just returned from my first homeschool conference. Of course, I now feel empowered, conflicted and somewhat overwhelmed (in a good way). If you ever consider homeschooling or know you are interested in it but need more information, take the time to go to a conference and learn! You will leave empowered that you can teach your children and that you will succeed. You know your child best and the tools are there to help you through. Confliction. The thought of what have I been doing the past few months? The conference also gave me time to self reflect on how and what I want to teach my children. We chose to send our children to Montessori school initially because we truly believe in the philosophy of Montessori. Dr.Montessori used the scientific method and research to develop and academic program that fosters a child to reach his or her fullest potential (spiritually, emotionally, physically and intellectually) as a member of his or her family, the community and the world. The Montessori method encourages children to love to learn and to enjoy the process of learning. Amazingly, after only 3 months in public/traditional schooling and I lost all of this. When I began homeschooling Sims, I started thinking “I have to get him caught up otherwise what will happen.” Then I started homeschooling Sawyer and I tried to find all of the “things she did not know that she should.” How quickly I fell into the trap of our world. As I reflected on my teaching, I realized how quickly I changed. Learning is a process and the art of learning is what I want my children to love as they did when they were in Montessori school. So as wonderful as self-reflection is, wow can it overwhelm you! Once I realized how off track I have become, I then realized that most of the work I have been having the kids do is because it is what they would have been doing in traditional school. I was focused on the output and not the process of learning. So how do you come home and teach again knowing that you are not doing what you feel in your heart in the best way? I have not figured that one out yet, so I will have to get back to you on that one. At least, I have realized my mistake. One of my favorite quotes I heard this week was from Carol Burton. She said,
“It is not a race; it’s an adventure.” What a terrific way to think about homeschooling!
The other quote that made me laugh was by Andrew Pudewa. He said, “It’s not homeschooling; it’s car schooling.” Well, that is exactly what I have felt like the past two weeks. One thing the kids have learned is how to work everywhere and in every situation. Before we get in the car to drop off Parks at school, Sims and Sawyer get their binders together with the work that they can do in the car and at the place we are going next. They work in the hallway at Parks’ school, outside of the Mint Museum, at Latta Plantation, in the car, on the floor at home, and at the doctor’s office. Thank goodness, the kids are willing to work in these situations and they are able to adapt to different situations.
Due to the distance between Parks school and home, they are in the car a lot. We have found that books on tape are a wonderful way to fill this time. We recently finished the book Kit Kittridge about the Great Depression. They loved the book. One of the fun parts of the book was learning how life in America has changed over the years. In the book, Kit loved to type newspapers on her typewriter. Of course, the kids had no idea what a type writer was, so we called Grand-dad. He still has his typewriter from college. The kids have been typing non-stop on the type writer. The most difficult part it that there is no delete button on the type writer. 🙂
Since Kit Kittridge, they have listened to Rules and Addy. All of these books have brought out wonderful discussions and opportunities to learn so many things that I can never teach out of a book. The books are told from the view of a child which allows Sims and Sawyer and Parks to relate to the situation in a way that I can not teach. Reading was the BIGGEST emphasis at the homeschool conference. Everyone speaker there spoke about the importance of books and reading. Especially reading aloud and audiobooks. Since we just recently started the audiobooks and we have had some of our best discussions since then, I can truly affirm the speaker’s words. Reading aloud can not be substituted even after your children can read silently to themselves. Reading aloud and together not only brings you together but also brings out discussion.
So I guess the next months and year will attest to whether or not I truly learned from the conference. I hope I do not fall back into the trap of feeling that we are “behind.” Please, feel free to set me straight if you see or read about me falling back into my old ways. I am amazed at how quickly I forgot what I had tried so hard to instill in my kids early on which is to love learning and to love the process of learning.
What a wonderful wealth of knowledge I gained over the past three days!