Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sonlight Blog Party: School is a Building, Learning is a Lifestyle

Sonlight Curriculum is celebrating it's 25th anniversary with a year-long blog party.  Each month is a new topic.  The topic for March (a little late, again) is Homeschool Advice. 

Share the best homeschooling advice you have been given. 
What would you advice new homeschoolers?

The best advice I was given was "do not try to recreate school at home."  Instead of thinking of homeschooling as a substitute for 'real school', think of it as a lifestyle.  It is a hard paradigm shift to make if you were raised in the public school system; sometimes even harder if you were a teacher in the school system.  However, once I made that shift, I became joyful about learning and my children did too.

When I started, we would rise early and start each day reciting the pledge of allegiance, followed by singing God Bless America.  I wanted to have a little school desk for my son, follow a rigid daily schedule, cover all the subjects each day and a host of other things I remembered doing in school. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing necessarily wrong with any of these things, but I soon found out that homeschooling is a lifestyle.  We are always learning and so many lessons can be found and taught by just going through our daily life activities.  This is especially true when the children are elementary-aged.  Do not waste the age of discovery sitting at a desk doing worksheets.  Take field-trips, visit with older relatives, read quality literature as a family (audio books while on the way to the field-trip) and observe what excites your child. Yes, you need a plan, but don't be afraid to toss the daily plan if your child is thoroughly engrossed in something of interest.
And if you have boys, let them get dirty!

I remember when my first son was so into Pokemon.  He would get out the card collection and review his collection and tell me about the different characters ad nauseum.   My typical response was to tell him to put them away so we could get to the more important things.  Afterall, he was 7, First Grade is critical, he MUST complete those vocabulary worksheets today!   Suddenly, I actually tuned in and heard him mention a few of the names and recognized some Latin roots and common suffixes.  I sat down on the floor and we had an amazing vocabulary and spelling lesson with Pokemon cards!  Next, we organized the cards by alphabetizing them.  We both had fun and learned much more than if I had insisted on that worksheet being completed. (By the way, here is a link of Pokemon Name Origins that you may find helpful if you have a child into this.  I'm shocked how long this has been around.  There is a six-year gap between my oldest and youngest son,17 and 11, and they both still watch the show.)

No matter what age, try to instill and maintain a JOY for learning  Our Creator gave us a brain for a reason and I constantly remind my children to use what He gave us.  There is ALWAYS something new to learn and there always will be.  When mom exhibits a joy for learning, engaging in something simply for the sake of learning, the children see this and will follow.  
"School" is a building.  Learning is a lifestyle.

Sonlight Blog Party

1 comment:

  1. Excellent advice! And I loved the Pokemon example you shared. Thanks for joining in!


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