Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Relaxed Homeschooling

Our first few years of educating at home looked similar to that of which I came from. It was the only thing I knew of education and the best way I knew how to teach my own was to mimic 'school'.  After those first years of all workbooks and saying the pledge of allegiance (not that those are bad things), coupled with a few more children, I started to hear some veteran home educators talk about this 'relaxed' form of education. 

It sounded wonderful, but I wasn't sure how to make it work and still feel like I wasn't short changing my children on their education.  In everything we do, we must first evaluate our goals. Our three main goals in education are:  1.) To teach our children to love the Lord with all their hearts, soul and mind.  2.) To have their hearts.  3.)  To cultivate a LOVE for learning. 

Over Christmas break I re-read an e-book from Kelly Crawford titled Think Outside The Classroom.  I thought I would share some of the quotes from this book with you.

"If a student can be led to the tools he needs to answer his own questions, he will be always learning; and this should be the goal of every educator."  Kelly Crawford

"The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards."  Anatole France

"If we teach solely for the purpose of achieving a desired test score, we have missed the entire purpose of education."  Kelly Crawford

"All too often we take that same little curious brain, that mind that loves to learn, that can't wait to explore the world around him, and we squish it into a box and a time frame.  Tragically, we squelch that God-given love of learning."  Kelly Crawford

"The knowledge that goes in is not nearly as important as the ability to be able to find it when needed."  Albert Einstein

Kelly encourages us as educators to know our goals.  "A storage shed and a cathedral will have very different blue prints."

If you are interested in a relaxed approach to education, then check out this e-book.  Kelly also has a blog called Generation Cedar where she daily writes encouraging the godly family to raise up a generation for the glory of God. 

Kelly recommends Mary Hood at Archers For The Lord  in her book.  I haven't read any of her material yet, but we did hear her speak at a convention two years ago. 

Another site I seek encouragement from is Holy Experience.  Here is an article beautifully written by Ann describing The Seven Daily Rungs they attempt to climb each day.

Another book that I would highly recommend is Educating The Whole-Hearted Child by:  Clay and Sally Clarkson.

We certainly don't have this all figured out and are still learning what the best avenue of education is for our family.  Each families goals of education and the means that they choose to reach them will differ. 

Are you a 'relaxed home educator'?  Do you have any books or sites that you would recommend?  I hope you will share with us.


Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

"If we teach solely for the purpose of achieving a desired test score, we have missed the entire purpose of education."

LOVED this!!!!!! Thank you for sharing. I have not heard of that book, but I'm going to look it up.

I am a very relaxed homeschooler, but I am always open to some new ideas.


Anonymous said...

Relaxed homeschooling works very well for us! When I first started I had all these plans to do school at this time of day and complete all of these subjects, but that didn't work for us. Now we don't schecule school. I just make it a goal to complete 2 subjects a day. (My child is only 6) Sometimes we do more, but we usually accomplish at least this.

We do school every day, even on weekends and sometimes do the best of our schooling in the evenings. We don't limit when we do school. I also see school as part structured and part unstructured. When my child spends 2 hours writing out long stories on her own for fun- I count this as handwriting and language arts (creative writing). Just because I didn't assign her to write, doesn't mean it isn't educational. When my child spends an hour reading, I count this too. I like to see my child achieving 1/2 their schooling in an unstructured way (kinda like unschoolers). However, textbooks are important too and my child has learned so much through the curriculums I have chosen, which are a mix and match of the things I think are best for her. She's ahead of her grade level, so I have no worries about our relaxed homeschooling.

I also keep a monthly list of subjects completed and check off what my child does each day. It helps me to see if we haven't done social studies in a few days and need to work on this. I also keep a daily journal with more details of what my child's completed. I really like this. It helps me to go back and see all that we have done.

I also really like the Montessori approach to schooling- where children are given freedom to work on the things that they would like. I usually let my child do this too- to choose which subjects she would like to work on. They all get done. If something hasn't been done in awhile, I will just say then, I will choose one subject and you can choose the other. It keeps my childs motivation to work real high and she loves school so much- she wants to do all her things. And if there is a subject your child would never want to do, then you choose that one and let them have the freedom to select the other subject or subjects for the day. And don't limit their time. If I followed a structured homeschooling, then I would stop my child after 15 minutes or 1/2 hour and move on to the next subject. Personally, I find that my young child would spend an hour on a certain subject (which is practicing great focused attention) and why would I want to disrupt that? If she feels like doing two weeks worth of math in one sitting, I let her. I think it is great that she is enjoying it so much. (Then I also don't feel bad if we don't come back to math till the next week- as she is way ahead)....

So anyways, we love relaxed homeschooling and it has worked very well for us!