Homeschooling means you do things at home that you would do everyday and you do it with your children. It is not as hard as some people think. I started working with Homeschooling families in 1984 when they needed certified teachers to supervise families participating in Washington States Pilot study. I very quickly discovered these parents knew a lot more about what their kids needed than I did as an Educational Consultant. In addition to helping parents lobby for the right to homeschool in Washington State, I gave SAT tests at the beginning and end of the year, helped with finding learning style appropriate curriculum, tutoring in areas the child needed help with and encouraging parents to keep doing what they were already doing well.
My daughter was born in 1986 and I continued to work with families and took a class called “The Writing Road to Reading taking her with me. We joke that she learned her phonograms at 3 months of age as she slept in her stroller or I held her in my sling. That class rocked my world in that it gave me tools that I did not get from any of the Methods classes I took in college nor was it in any of the teaching manuals I had ever used. I have continally utilized that material to teach writing, reading and spelling ever since very successfully with children and adults. My training in Home Economics, Nutrition, Music, Cooking, Sewing, all helped me to meet the needs of my children as well as other families.
Homeschooling my three children until they went to college or Job Corp is one of the greatest challenges of my life and the most satisfying. I learned more about Strabismus, Aspergers Syndrome, food allergies, gluten intolerance, ADHD as well as Trisomy 13 than I would have ever wanted to know. Each diagnosis and life challenge, including layoffs and strikes, became an opportunity for learning for all of us. We gained skills as we worked as a team. It quickly became apparent to me that each of us brought unique skills and insights into our family dynamics that helped us survived, thrive and overcome.
I tutored my children and my husband through in college classes as we all continued learning together. I am a certified Pre-K through 12th grade teacher in the State of Washington and have done a lot of classes with kids on our hobby farm, through the Lighthouse Co-op, as well as teaching music to children of all ages through “All Moms” groups and the Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association. In 2005, I discovered that Bible Study Fellowship has some really good resources to use to teach Biblical truth to preschoolers through adults. I like how the whole family can study the same thing at the same time with questions geared to their level. https://www.mybsf.org. Lots of good resource material that is free. Unit Studies are the easiest way to integrate learning throughout the day.
In light of all the current news about the Coronavirus, I notice that there is a new group of people finding themselves with their children home from school for the next six weeks in our area. Some seem to be panicking – What will I do with all my kids for so long? While schools are trying to come up with materials to support families with computers, iPads, chrome-books, I would like to ask parents to breathe. This is an opportunity to do some really cool things with your kids and make some amazing memories. There is a whole new world of learning that you will all benefit from if you can take one day at a time and do the next right thing. Which may be, make breakfast, lunch, plan dinner, feed the cat or dog or
Start a garden.
We are in the beginning of spring here in the Pacific Northwest. Go out, design and dig a garden. Or do it in containers. Keep it small and simple. Let each child have their own spot or pots as the case may be. Digging is good exercise and a garden is full of learning opportunities! Some plants, like peppers and tomatoes will need to be started indoors and then be planted outside around Mothers Day. Seeds like lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, radishes, and carrots can be directly seeded into the ground. I have planted sprouting potatoes and garlic from my refrigerator successfully. There are few things more satisfying than eating things that you grow yourself. Good nutrition is the bases for good health.
Instead of investing in workbooks and textbooks that you will never use all of the pages or complete, invest in child size garden gloves and child size tools – rakes, shovels, trowels, at the local Farmers Co-op, https://www.skagitfarmers.com so that your child can learn about Botany first hand. Look for books online at the library and put them on hold. You child can take before, during and after pictures. In college, Photography counts as a Humanities credit and pictures can be added to a portfolio to document school work done or plan to submit to the local fair in the summer.
Check out the Washington State Extension site https://extension.wsu.edu Master Gardeners and 4-H for lots of good information on how to make raised beds and plan gardens. This is a meaningful math project waiting to happen as size and materials have to be planned for in the design. Look for ideas to reuse and recycle materials you already have around your house or garage. Learn about composting, biological pest control and the list goes on. Some plants need to be separated and transplanted. Currently in my yard, I have Lillies, primroses, and other plants that need to be thinned and will do well elsewhere. They can go in pots to grow as a gift for upcoming birthdays and Mothers Day. When my kids were little, we often made bowls of plants to sell for raising funds for choir uniforms, mission trips or whatever else they needed. I called it “math in action” as they had to keep track of what they spent, how much they invested and a running total of the goal they had. If they needed to borrow capital from me, they had to pay it back. You can learn about taking “cuttings” from one plant and how to help it grow roots so that you have a new plant for beautiful flowers or for good eating.
One of my favorite verses is Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you may go.” I’ve got lots of ideas and experience. Questions? Just ask!