I dislike the word ‘homeschooling’. I don’t do ‘school at home’. I live, with my family, and we experience life. We learn what we need to get by – the things we need to successfully thrive in a modern society, and, if it ever goes tits-up, survive a zombie apocalypse. We have our own interests and skill sets; we have passions that lead us to delve deeper. We are people who love each other intensely living together. Learning happens around that. My children learned to walk and talk without the aid of a random, specialised, teacher. They learn pretty much everything they need in pretty much the same, soak-it-up way. And I get to share that, facilitate that, enjoy the ride and enjoy their company. It’s an insane ride. And the crazy thing is, I’m the one learning most of all.
But the reason I love ‘homeschooling’? Well, the structures work for us, and not vice versa. Instead of my children made miserable by endless testing, learning things they will never use, we get to do decide what we do and when. So when the mercury starts to hit the mid-20s, and the forecast shows rain for a couple weeks ahead, mama gets to play hooky with the kids and declare that learning will take place on the beach! Packing up enough food for a whole day (I am an over-packer when it comes to food, I cannot deny it – but who wants to be away from home, hungry?), beach bags were packed the night before and we were on the beach before 10 in the morning. We rung every last drop out of that day – coming home way after 7pm, bathed and in bed were a happy couple of boys that evening.
What did they ‘learn’ some people may ask? Well, they ran a lot (PE), they played frisbee (three dimensional trigonometry), they ate good food (Home Ec), they bought some things (economics), they collected shells (biology), they sat on the beach reading, and soaked up the sun (English Lit., and good for vitamin D), but most of all they learned how to live and love as a family, enjoy life, and to appreciate the good times before the rain comes.
Oh, and they learned to their very bones that they are loved and worth my effort. And surely, as mamas, that’s the best lesson that we can ever teach, no matter what our parenting styles?