Diversity in education: at home

As we began this journey years ago, my husband and I both held teaching certificates.  He even completed his Master’s degree within weeks of our first born…yep… in education.  After both of us spending several years in the public school system, we knew how to teach classically and both enjoyed it.  By most standards, we were even good at it too!  While we had nothing against the public education system, as the day approached to drop our daughter at the kindergarten door we just didn’t have a peace in our hearts.  So…

After a lot of prayer, and a considerable amount of furrowed brows from family and friends, we began the journey of teaching at home.  Homeschooling was a leap of faith, for sure, but today I can confidently say we have no regrets in making the decision.

Coming from the school system though, has posed unique challenges for us as teachers.   It takes some time to realize how quality learning can be accomplished without a bell schedule, but a very flexible one… maybe sleeping in a bit longer won’t hurt anyone either… and best of all, nobody has to sit in a classroom with nice, neat rows all day!  Early on,  I tried to force the classical school mentality at home, thinking we had to “look” like school as most of us remember it.   This simply wasn’t necessary and soon I realized that much of the beauty of homeschooling lies in the blessing of daily DIVERSITY!  You might wonder: What does diversity in a home school week look like?  

Diversity in homeschooling happens when we allow our deeper learning to be fueled by curiosity, life experiences,  & exploration…instead of the clock. 

~ Domestic Chick

During a typical week,  we don’t look like a classically structured “classroom”.  At any given time, our daughters  may be playing the piano, laying on their bed working on grammar, sitting at their desks writing in their journals or completing daily science experiments in the kitchen or sometimes even the garage!  They love working with typing software on the computer and earning mastery percentages on our #1 favorite website for math: www.khanacademy.org.   My personal favorite activity is snuggling up to read our Bible and history on the sofa.  And, don’t forget learning in the kitchen! We often include baking & cooking too.  Making cookies was a fun way to learn more about the Periodic Table of Elements… and eating them is even more fun!   When kids are excited and active, that’s when the real learning takes place.  For example, our older daughter enjoys taking photos. Her enthusiasm of capturing a bee on a flower just makes me smile. We definitely work hard & take our learning seriously; but, we make sure to have fun along the way.  During lunch many days,  we enjoy using the Apple TV to watch videos from www.youtube.com, www.DiscoveryEducation.com or www.BrainPop.com to go deeper in a topic we’re studying while we eat.  We all enjoy this time!

While covering the curriculum remains a top priority, we would be missing out if we forgot to include social time as well ! Yes, we are quite social and make it a priority to be part of groups and with friends every week having fun, sometimes every day …haha!

When the beautiful weather is here, it’s a great opportunity to serve in the garden at our local Food Bank or at Hope+Choice, a local crisis pregnancy center.  These experiences are time well spent learning to work hard with friends serving others. Raising our kids to look outside of themselves and serve the needs others will certainly help to develop within their own hearts an extra measure of compassion & thankfulness!

So, there it is.  That’s what a week of diversity in homeschooling looks like at our house! I do want to mention that the local school system has many incredible educators with hearts for the students. The decision regarding the education of every child should be made on an individual basis according to what is absolutely best for that student.

I am thankful for the choice!  It fits our family well and I am happy to report that many of those original furrowed-brow family members now see that student at home can indeed still achieve an extraordinary education!   🙂

~ Domestic Chick

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