Thursday, September 19, 2013

School Outside the Lines

So, this week I was chatting with a homeschool mom friend about our boys who struggle with writing. And we were talking about how her son doesn't like to write, but he's going to illustrate a story he's working on, with paint and everything.

And there's those days when you "do school" from 8:30 till 5 and it's still not all done. And then there's those days when you see a day like that coming, and you take a break before you go bonkers.

My youngest is struggling with sitting still for school, but if I let him jump and run outside before reading time, he's just fine.

These are the joys of homeschooling. You can color outside the lines! If your child needs a new approach to learning, you can lock yourself in the bathroom and have a parent-teacher conference with yourself (and sneak a snickers bar for sanity), and come out ready to change it up. Yes, my kids have figured out why the bathroom trash can has a lid... mom hides candy wrappers in there.

And you realize this homeschool stuff isn't about doing the same routine, or finding the perfect schedule. It's not about getting the perfect curriculum or the best advice. It's about flexibility, and "snuggle days", and lightbulb moments. It's about finding a new way to look at the problem. And it might just be about mom learning it with the kids.

I want my kids to see learning as an adventure, not something that you find in a desk and a chair. My sister recently moved in with us, and she's attending college. When I toured her school with her,  I was impressed that they had remodeled the classrooms and gotten rid of the desks. The students all sit around tables. All I could think was: "This is just like kitchen table homeschooling."

So how do you school outside the lines?
  • Follow your interests. Getting kids to study what interests them is much easier, and following their curiosity always comes around to the good stuff anyway.
  • Get the wiggles out. Some days we just have to stop and go run around the house 3 times, just to get the blood flowing. 
  • Change your point of view, literally. Get up and find a new school location. Outside, on the trampoline, at a coffee shop, at the library... just move. You'll also find what places don't work too. 
  • Do more group subjects, including all grades. My kids love learning together. They also learn a lot while relating the material to their younger siblings. Who knew, right?!
So what are your tips? I'm all ears. If I've learned anything this year, it's that I have a LOT to learn about homeschooling. 

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