I’m so glad that I’m not beginning the homeschool adventure now. When I started it was a tad lonely. All networking (if it could be called that) was done via word-of-mouth and (gasp!) old fashioned letter writing and monthly newsletters! I remember fondly hearing of a family in Adelaide who homeschooled… so I hunted them down. 🙂 The family didn’t mind at all as they also liked getting together with other’s to talk about home education. Can you imagine my delight when I found out that this family also had a homeschool supply business, mainly supplying good living books? Oh my! I was in heaven.
Back then, there wasn’t a load of information available. Various families would share all the scraps of information they had. Homeschooling books would be mailed all over the country, from one family to another as they were simply hard to come by. I was part of a family based newsletter. Once a year it was our turn to write the newsletter – describing activities we had participated in and resources we were using and good books and finds throughout that year. I printed about 34 copies of the newsletter and sent them to each family on the mailing list. It was such a delight to receive a family newsletter once a month. I would eagerly tear open the envelope and sit outside in the sun with a fresh, hot cuppa to devour the newsletter. Now many of you may laugh at how primitive it all may seem but there were some advantages to this simple, basic style of homeschooling.
I didn’t know a lot about ‘learning styles‘. I didn’t know much about scope and sequences or anything else. I had a few workbooks. Ewww yuck! But before you exit the page let me tell you what was so good about those days.
Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Not having multiple resources for each topic within a subject meant that I had to use whatever was available to me- regardless of if it suited our learning style, teaching style or even our beliefs! I had to make do. I had to get between the resource and the child. In other words, I learned to naturally adapt the material while teaching each child. I didn’t need to read a book or do a course on learning styles. By interacting with my child I naturally learned how they learned best. It was truly a natural process.
One child preferred a just-the-facts-ma’am style book while another preferred living books. One child narrated back easily while the other struggled. As a parent who is concerned for her children I simply naturally addressed those needs. I was very aware of those needs because of the close, one-on-one interaction I had with each child.
Many teachers in a school setting don’t get to choose their materials and even when they do, they still must use the curriculum as a tool, as they cater to a wide variety of learning styles. I believe that attitude, motivation and teaching the child how to be a self directed and lifelong learner is much more important than learning styles and finding the perfect curriculum or resource.
One thing I taught my children early on is to have an “I Can”, “I Will”, “I Ought” motto. I don’t want to hear any excuses like, ‘it’s too hard’ or ‘can’t I use another resource?’. Adaptability, diligence, perseverance, self control, thankfulness and hard work are just a few character traits that can be learned throughout the process of tending to lessons.
I have learned that my children will do just fine without the latest curriculum or program. They can still thrive even though I’m a far-from-perfect mother… so long as I am *with them*- sharing my life with them. Want more reading on this? Read the article series by Robin Sampson.
Back then, we didn’t ‘do’ homeschooling. We simply learned things together. Homeschooling is a natural extension (continuation) of parenting.
I had very few homeschooling resources. I had less distractions.
Now, I have far too many resources. And many, too many distractions.
I’m quite glad that I’m not a homeschool newbie. It all looks too overwhelming for me.