12 June 2012

How do I kindle the Homeschooling Passion?

I’m passionate that each person on earth should know the calling on his/her life and walk in it.  God intends for each human being to have life and that in abundance.  For this reason we chose to homeschool our children. Through homeschooling we’re able to expose our children to real life in a positive learning environment. This way we can use their childhood years to investigate all their interests and they can enter adulthood with a balanced self esteem, a sure knowing why God created them and fulfill the Godly calling on their life.  My oldest will be turning 18 in a few weeks, homeschooled since his first grade, and never longed to be in school. With 7 siblings following in his footsteps, I praise the Lord for the learning lifestyle established in our home over the past 12 years, which makes my children flourish and blossom into young adults who is confidently taking their first steps into adulthood with courage and boldness.
Sadly homeschooling isn’t always experienced by parents and/or children as a positive experience and some often loose their passion for being at home.  I receive countless letters from Mothers who just can’t cope with the discouragement of homeschooling, their children bored to death, longing to be back in the school system.
Over the years, I have observed a few important elements which if not taken care of, can easily discourage parents and children to enjoy home schooling to the full.

  • Learning Style
I remember years ago when we decided to homeschool. The number One point of discussion was Curriculums!  What kind of curriculum are you using?  And until today it is the most frequently asked question, when people notice we are homeschooling.

By God’s grace before I could even start to investigate curriculums the Lord miraculously sent a lady over my path, who introduced me to Learning styles.  Martie Du Plessis, analyzed Christo, myself, CJ (then 6) and Heidi-Mari’s learning styles.  If I had to choose a curriculum, I would probably immediately have chosen the safer, more structured curriculum.  But CJ and Heidi-Mari (though in a lesser degree) would wither under a formal, ‘School at home’ curriculum. 

Over the years I realized, not withstanding the fact that I would most probably have chosen a formal curriculum in the beginning,  would also have gone limp within a year or two.  We are all visual, kinesthetic learners.  We learn with pictures, moving around and in a spontaneous environment.  I didn’t know that for a start. Therefore it is crucial for families who want to start homeschooling, to not rush into curriculums, but observe their children, and themselves in the learning environment. Enjoy life together for 3-4 months, without curriculums. Study them while they explore, keep track of how they explore, what they explore and then make a curriculum choice.

  • Keep it Fun

I’m a fun girl, BUT in a controlled environment. So though it is a stretch for me to do fun things in the easily chaotic homeschooling realm with eight children, I do know it is the single most important ingredient that keep my children’s hearts at home. 

The moment we are too structured for too long, I can sense the restlessness in my children.

  • Better Late than Early

For me part of exploring the learning style of each child and keep homeschooling fun, is to believe better late than early and let my children play for their first 8 years of life!  Most of the time my children will be the last ones in their age group to start reading and do simple maths.  Though 2-3 years ‘behind’ in the beginning, it is interesting how quickly they catch up in the next two years and by the age of 11 they are at the same level or more advanced than their age group, without frustration.  Children need free play.  

I have often noticed my children to be very eager to learn at the age 5-6.  They will keep asking when can they start to ‘learn’, but as soon as we start, it only lingers for a month or two and then they lost interest.  When that happens, I leave them, I put the books away and allow them to play with whatever they want to and we explore what they are interested in, for the short period they are interested in something.  This is when I make use of the opportunity to make lapbooks, giving them a fun, colourful, spontaneous learning environment.

  • Living the learning lifestyle

In all this our home has become a learning lifestyle.  In a sense we will look like an ‘Un-school’ family, though not.   Maths, languages and science, especially for the children grade 6 and up, needs to be done everyday.  But, the children’s interests are all built into these basics, revolving around whatever we do and with the fun things done periodically. 

Heidi-Mari doing a Lindt chocolate class

CJ on one of his Stunts

This inspires them be their own motivation.  Since it is not school at home, with a time schedule and deadlines, it is stimulating and rewarding for me to be the centre of our learning lifestyle. I love to observe each child’s learning style, adjust our curriculum to suit their styles and see them blossom.  

  • Conviction

The last, but most important part for me as a homeschooling mother, is to hold fast onto the conviction that God and my husband, asked me to homeschool our children.  There will be tough days, there will be dead ends, there will be days I don’t know how, when and why, but in this all I know God is busy working in me, as well as in my children. My husband cheering me on all the way. 

I don’t need to know everything, I don’t need to have it all worked out, I only need to be available and teachable, with a soft heart for God and my children.

"But seek first the Kingdom of God
and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added to you."
Matth. 6:33

I’ve entered the Circle of Moms' Top 25 Homeschooling Moms for 2012. 

If this posting or any of my previous homeschooling postings has been of value, encouraging and inspiring to you, will you please consider voting for my blog? 
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The voting closed on June the 27th at 4pm PST.
I appreciate your vote!!
With much love

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Linnie this is a wonderful post for homeschoolers old and new. Thank you so much for sharing.x

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