Our Path to Relaxed Homeschooling
As we begin a new year, I realized I was spending more time looking back than ahead. Maybe that is just what happens when your children are teenagers. Especially in the mornings, when they are snoozing and I grab that first cup of coffee, I am reminded of the ghosts of their former (younger) selves running through the house in the early morning, eager to start our homeschooling day. These days our homeschool is relaxed.
When we began homeschooling, I was so clueless about the whole thing.
I created a replica of a classroom in half of our bedroom, complete with desks and shelves and computers and educational posters. The only role models I had were the public school teachers we had just rejected – pretty odd reasoning, right?!
Well let’s just say that the classroom thing only lasted a few weeks. My kids’ reaction to it was all I needed to look for a new model. (In a lot of ways I think that your homeschooling space is actually a reflection of your homeschooling style.)
So the next place we landed on the homeschool style spectrum was classical.
My kids were doing really well in language arts so my Hub suggested we could just stop formally teaching them and focus on other subjects. But (yet again) I did not listen to him and instead I hunted for a method that would be challenging. I discovered Susan Wise Bauer and Classical Education.
Now, Classical education methods can be really rigid – that actually appealed to me at first.
When you have no self-confidence, it is easier to go with something rigid. Classical worked for us for years. And it was great for my kids.
But then as we approached the high school years, and what Classical education calls the Rhetoric stage, my kids’ needs changed and I realized we needed another change.
My kids had maxed out on Classical Education.
With a little more confidence this time, and since the thought police had not showed up on our doorstep to check my qualifications (my favorite fear and probably one we all share as homeschooling moms), I decided to listen to my kids instead.
It turns out that my teens have a really good handle on what they know and where their weaknesses are. And when I loosened the reins, they grabbed them up from me and now we steer the homeschooling horse and cart together.
I am the advisor these days, not so much the teacher.
I help my kids stay focused when they need it but mostly just listen to their desires and show them how to achieve their dreams.
It turns out that all those years of the rigidity of Classical Education rubbed off and my kids know how to be disciplined and learn. Now they tell me what they really want to learn and together we find the materials they need.
We still sit together every afternoon and read and discuss – that is something we will never stop – but this is no longer me being the teacher and my kids acting as students. It is a time when we all sit and learn together. And that is beautiful.
So there is our homeschool path from Classical to Relaxed.
Have you noticed any shifts in your homeschool style over the years?