Homeschooling; Evaluating What is Working

I took a month long break from blogging, while I had the wonderful This Girl Design create a new blog design for me. I am so excited about the cleaner design, and am excited about beginning to add some of my best conference sessions to the store, as well as developing several other resources for families. 

I have also been regularly contributing to the Wild and Free bundles, both through encouraging podcast conversations with amazing homeschool moms, and through articles and photography. If you homeschool, I would definitely recommend subscribing. It is consistently encouraging. You can also find lots of homeschool encouragement through their Instagram, and I do quite a bit of mini-blogging on Instagram as well.

Oh, and I still homeschool as well. This has been an interesting homeschool year. As we near the home stretch, I am evaluating what is and isn't working. The four oldest children have been taking college classes this year (the first year for my 15 year old), and for some it is going very well, which gives me lots of comfort. The youngest of those four did great last semester, but is hanging on by tooth and nail this semester. It is a good learning experience for all of us. My three oldest care a lot about pleasing people, which makes them very diligent students. This diligence makes up for the holes that there were in their education. The fourth student is a completely different person. If he isn't interested, it is very hard to motivate him, so I am having to be creative (all sorts of threats, and groundings, I might want to try some incentives as well:/) as I try to inspire him to excel in his classes. The college experience in high school, has been a good one overall. My third child will graduate from high school this spring just 1 credit short of his AA degree. This takes a lot of pressure off of our family as he pursues his future goals.

The three youngest children are having a great homeschool year. We have a couple of co-ops that provide fun project days, and science experiments, and this spring we joined a jr. high and high school P.E. class that meets at a beautiful camp in the foothills. This means that while my 13 year old son is playing sports with new friends, the youngest two and I are exploring a nearby creek and pond. We get to see animal tracks in the mud, follow exciting new trails, and rock hop by the creek. They love signing off new projects for their Wild Explorer badges while playing in the wild. It is a guaranteed nature day for us, and a really sweet opportunity for me to connect with the youngest two. Nature is the very best place for connection. 

When we are at home doing school, we are also reading lots of books that go along with our bird study this year. All the nature reading we are doing is paying off as our children learn to be more observant when they are outside. Just yesterday, my daughter was looking for ladybugs, and found a leaf full of butterfly eggs. Such an amazing discovery! She wouldn't even have recognized them if she hadn't read about it in a book.

Education is experimental in so many ways. What nets good grades, doesn't necessarily create students who are good problem solvers, and an imaginative student might have the mental resources to solve world problems, while lacking the diligence and moral character to follow through. Having parented for 22 years, read tons of books on the subject, and swung wildly in my parenting methods, I have seen some of the best and worst of several methods. As well, no two children are alike, so one parenting or schooling method might work entirely differently with different children. 

What I know is this; I really like my children. They are some of my favorite people to talk to, they try hard to honor God with their choices, and they are generally kind and hard working. They have ideas in their heads and they take steps towards making those ideas a reality. Although there are many things that we are still working on, and many opportunities to feel weary or discouraged, overall, this book and conversation heavy, but workbook light, method of homeschooling seems to be working. 

Some of our favorite nature resources this year;

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  1. Just discovered your blog! Don't know if I knew you had one. I met you at Wild+Free. So fun to now follow you here.

    1. Hi Danielle,
      Thanks for connecting. Wild and Free was amazing, and I can't wait for Long Beach. Will you be there?