daily life / homeschooling

what propels my homeschool?

A tidbit from a homeschool conference encouraged me to think about what is driving my homeschool.

You wanna know what I was told? Can you guess?

Your needs.

Your needs are propelling how you approach your children’s education. Kinda natural to be motivated by our needs even when considering the needs of those we love the most. Our baseline is ourselves. Why would we want to give the gift of time when the gift of gifts is most meaningful to us? We have to watch awfully close at how our children function, what they might value, to consider what they need.

What we need is often how we choose to engage learning.

I need Shakespeare. I generally disliked him in high school. I couldn’t understand why one would read suicidal/homicidal tales from England. I get it now. It’s not about homicide or suicide. It’s about human drives of jealousy, love and ambition. He spins a tale like, well, Shakespeare. There’s a reason we know him 600 years later. My kids tell me to keep going when I close Charles and Mary Lamb’s version of Shakespeare’s tales, but typically their penchant for reading the entire chapter of 1800s old English for a half hour is less than mine. They’d be just as glad to read ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’, ‘Pippi Longstocking’, ‘Owls in the Family’ or the ‘Minecraft Planning’ book.

What form does my learning often take? Auditory. Cause I love to read. I love to read out loud, with my kids cuddled in blankets at nine in the morning in our pajamas. This does not run counter to my kiddos. They simply wouldn’t do it as often as I would. One of them would just as gladly burrow in her room and do it herself. She loves reading — genetics and world history and murder mysteries and anything John Green. And she can do it for hours. But her independent streak is eager to do it by herself.

My need for quiet and perpetual peace interferes with my reality. How I process my children’s requests, frustrations and happinesses? If it’s complaining, I don’t process it well. I have to bite my….nose…somedays, just to refrain from overreacting to complainy clamour. What I really know is that they need to be heard, frustrations and requests and unhappinesses and all…then they’ll get their needs met and be able to process how to respond best. Sometimes they need loud, mad dashing around the playground equipment playing grounders, or creating videos with their songs and dances. So I must balance my needs with their needs.

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How can I help them get what they need so they can learn? Usually it comes in the form of the L word. It’s simple and inexpensive. It requires less curriculum and fewer activities. It simply requires paying attention, LISTENing. Listen to their frustrations, listen to their drives and listen to their needs.

My childhood celebrity crush, Michael J. Fox, said it best, “If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn“.

10 thoughts on “what propels my homeschool?

  1. “to read out loud, with my kids cuddled in blankets at nine in the morning in our pajamas” oh paradise!
    Balancing of needs. Yes, hard and so necessary.
    Liked your thoughts.

  2. I really like this post, especially the part about learning to love Shakespeare. (I like your blog in general!)

    I’m a Princeton student interested in learning more about homeschooling and interdisciplinary learning. I wanted to tell you about theHOBMOB.com, a platform I am developing to increase this type of interaction online that I feel would be useful for homeschoolers.

    Our mission is to spark meaningful discussions among people with similar passions. We want to transcend the superficial interactions that characterize social media and use technology to create longform, interdisciplinary conversations. theHOBMOB has 18 main interest pages, ranging from STEM to Music, and user-created sub interests. We have musicians sharing compositions, students discussing social justice movements, and kids talking about math puzzles, all in the same place!

    HOBMOB member Susanna Olson was homeschooled throughout high school and taught a Cultural Geography homeschool class last summer. She created a subinterest called “180 Days Around the World” under theHOBMOB Travel page for her class. On the page, her students shared research about a different country every week. In turn, travel enthusiasts from all over the world engaged with them, sharing experiences and asking questions. I was inspired by her story and thought that theHOBMOB could be a useful platform for you and other homeschooling families too.

    Best of luck on your journey, and I hope you find some use in the site as a learning tool for you and/or your children!

  3. This is timely😊 I’m a second-generation homeschooled so I have received plenty of advice, lots of free curriculum and activity ideas … And I prefer workbooks. So does one of my children, and the other is fine with them as long as art supplies are nearby. But this horrifies the other homeschoolers I know. Anyway, I agree with you. That was my point.

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