We are Home Learners

by Josée

My eldest son is old enough to be in kindergarten but we have chosen to take the path of home learning. Our decision has felt so natural that giving an account of our choice seems somewhat strange. I was not home schooled and neither was my husband yet we were surrounded by families that chose to teach their children at home. One family in particular made an impression on me, an imprint so strong that I may have made my choice about home learning years ago without realizing it. When I spent time with this family I saw how learning was intertwined in every aspect of their lives. There wasn’t a dichotomy between learning and living; learning was a just natural part of their lives.

After giving birth to my firstborn and experiencing the special bond that forms between a mother and her baby, I couldn’t bear sending him off to daycare. Thanks to my husband’s support I was able to stay home and not to return to work. I realize that this isn’t an option for everyone, and for the opportunity to stay home I feel very grateful.

As my son became preschool age I hesitated to send him to school. My Monkey, as I affectionately called him at that age, was a very busy boy, not interested in sitting down for story time or colouring nicely at the table, preschool didn’t seem like a good fit for him. At this point I was already thinking about home learning and started to question the purpose of preschool and school. I looked at the values that the school system holds and held them up to my own values. There was a great deal of discordance. My husband and I both want our children to have a great love for learning. We want to allow space for curiosity, exploration and unstructured play. Conformity is not our goal and neither is rote learning.

There are many home learning approaches. I don’t prescribe to one particular style but have a more eclectic sort-of-unschooling approach. We read a lot of books and enjoy “living books”, we go on nature walks and listen and move to beautiful music. I have purchased some curriculum such as Life of FredPrimary Arts of Language and the Who Am I? series. We take a relaxed approach so while I offer my son opportunities for structured learning, which he seems to enjoy, it’s not forced. We also take part in a learning circle that meets twice a week for a variety of activities. Being part of this group has been a great way for our family to connect with other home learning families and to be part of a community.

At this point I am happy that we’ve made the decision to home learn. The experience has been both beautiful, chaotic and exhausting, which basically sums up what it’s like to be a mother on most days.

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Beth Ann Worden October 4, 2013 - 9:18 pm

I'm a homeschool graduate with many friends who are as well. I never stepped foot into a public school for any kind of training and never missed it. I plan to homeschool my children as well. You won't regret it.

Josée October 5, 2013 - 3:17 am

Thanks for sharing Beth. It is nice to hear from someone that was homeschooled that it was a positive experience.

Abby October 5, 2013 - 3:28 am

I was homeschooled K-12, and just started homeschooling my daughter this year (she's 4)… of course home learning at preschool age is really just the same thing we've ever done, plus a little bit more emphasis on reading to her every day. My approach is much like yours – relatively unschoolish, with a goodly dose of Montessori/Charlotte Mason/Waldorf thrown in for good measure. We started meeting with a Catholic homeschool group in our area, which has thus far been a good experience, and my daughter just started Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, which I think will also be wonderful for her. We're pretty active in our local LLL chapter, as well, so she gets a variety of social experiences that way. I like how our lives aren't dictated by a school schedule – even at four, many of my daughter's peers are spending a lot of hours in school, and I appreciate our freedom to do whatever suits her interest on a given day.

I LOVED learning at home, because I was able to really focus on my interests, and the amount of "textbook" learning could be really limited (we never did much more than around 2 hours a day, even in high school). I did well on my SATs and got a good scholarship to college, so the academic part of it definitely can be very successful, and I feel like the social aspects worked out just fine as well.

I think homeschooling is fabulous, and while you may encounter some raised eyebrows from people, I know you'll find it to be a very positive experience both for you, and for your kids.


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