Friday, August 31, 2012

It Takes More Than A Textbook.

 I home school the 3 youngest ones in our family. 
The oldest is nearly 21 and completed his education in a public school setting.
I often get questions on how we home school them. 
If you are a homeschooler then chances are you are in a homeschooling group. 
You will recognize the typical conversation that goes on when the group gets together. 
It goes something like this...
"Have you tried Time for Learning? Charlotte Mason? 
We are doing Saxon for Math, Abeka for science, lapbooks for history and Classical Conversations for language arts....blah blah blah blah"
Curriculum. Or more to the point, curriculum choices. Homeschool parents who seem to agonize over every single choice as if their entire life depends on which book they pop open for science. I'm not sure who decided to make this a complicated mess. But it is.
Often I will get the same questions from fellow homeschoolers or from 
people new to the concept of homeschooling.  
'What do you use to teach the child with?'
My answer, "Not a whole lot."
Which is mostly true. I am a hands on learner, I do the same for my children. We learn by experiencing life and applying real life as educational application. 
When the children do do traditional work, I use Switched On Schoolhouse.
Simply because it is all encompassing. I don't have 50 books to keep up with, I don't have to check 3 different children's worksheets or reports. I simply log in my computer and see how they are progressing. But the number one reason I use SOS is because it is child led. Which is why we homeschooled to begin with. Let them learn at their own pace is my motto. With SOS when the child seems to be breezing through the work with not much effort, we move them up. That's right. I stop them in their progress and plop them into a new one. I can hear the cries of teachers and traditional homeschoolers now, "Whhhhhatt? They might missing out on some important fundamental tool!"
But I believe in immersion. I have seen it work with my children and I believe in it.
I have seen a child tell me they do not know the first thing about dividing and 3 hours later dividing 3 digit whole numbers. Immersion people, don't discount it. 
Furthermore my goal is to keep learning a challenge. If the work is easy and not challenging, my children will lose their interest. I have also been know to toss SOS aside for awhile when they have expressed interest as a group in a subject, experiment or idea. We will immerse ourselves in that for a few days or even weeks. 
When my children saw an documentary about farming one year, 
we abandoned our typical school work and immersed ourselves in that topic. 
From viewing movies, to hands on experience to reading about it. 
We let the child's interest lead them in what they learn for the most part. 
So, that will probably rule out the next question of testing. I don't believe testing is the way to gauge a child's intelligence. It just happens to be what they remember on that given day, under pressure and if the questions are worded in a way that will get them to respond. That is not a true measure of their knowledge and intelligence. I believe when I see them using the education freely without thought in a real life setting, they have learned it. There is no paper test that can accurately judge a child's intellect. 
If your searching for a Christian curriculum that can be used as a child led I would strongly suggest that you check in Switched On Schoolhouse. And no, this isn't a sponsored post. Switched On Schoolhouse isn't sending me free stuff for endorsing them. 
This is just me, a homeschool Mom talking about how I educate my children. 
Drop a comment if you home school, if you public school or private school and tell me how you make sure your child is not just educated but challenged to learn. :)

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