I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this post for a while. We get so many questions, I feel bad just kind of shrugging my shoulders as my go to response. So! Let’s start this off!
Do we use a curriculum?
Nope. I can hear the “BUT…BUT…BUT…HOW DO YOU KNOW IF SHE’S LEARNING EVERYTHING?!” from wherever you currently are. Listen, it’s not that hard. She has to learn to read, count, basic math, and pretty much everything else is whatever her interests are. You’d be amazed at how many coloring books, free printables and flashcards are out there and a ton of CVC and sight word lists are out there.
In the future, if the subject matter is somehow beyond my comprehension, I will seek out the RIGHT curriculum for her. IF. I say if because I don’t just homeschool her for fun. I genuinely believe state sponsored, regulated, and funded education is a disservice to children, parents, and the rest of the country. That means all the curriculums that go right along with them.
Being free from a curriculum means I don’t have to shove the subjects that are difficult for her down her throat and discourage future learning in that area.
Then how does she learn?!
By doing. Foggy morning? Head outside, look at the fog, figure out what it is, where it goes, where it comes from, try to eat it, figure out why it might be necessary, etc. Read some books on it, watch a couple videos, boom. Now she knows about fog and she has an event she can tie it to.
Cleaning the fish tank? What’s in the water, why we test the water, when it’s appropriate to add fish in, nitrogen cycle, aquaponics, there’s the science lesson. Seriously, do you know another 6 year old who can tell you how to assemble an entire freshwater tank from start to finish? Oh, and there’s how we learn about sequencing and why it might be important (“because if we don’t, the fish will die!”)
Reading and writing? She has window markers we use to write all the animal names and species on the tanks with, a word blend activity book, and she asks about words she learns from shows, like ‘apprentice’.
Math? “Ana, go count how many kiwi’s we have left so we know how many we need from the store!” “Ana, I have 8 rocks here, but I need 13, so grab me the rest of them!”
See? We go on a ton of field trips too. Nature centers, museums, zoos, even stores can be a field trip.
Yeah, that’s because it’s not institutionalized like we’ve all come to depend on. But think about it. What was the last skill you learned. Did you go to a classroom to learn about it, or did you find someone who knew about it or teach yourself? Maybe by gasp going out and just doing it?!
There are different styles of homeschooling and we tend to swing between relaxed (parent led, but barely) and unschooling (kid led) because it works for Ana and our lifestyle. It might not work for Eleni, but the cool thing is, I can just adjust the teaching style, not the kid.
As of the last 2-3 years, Ana’s interests have been in herpetology, which is the study of reptiles and amphibians. So we’ve geared almost everything down that path at the moment. “But what if that’s not what she wants to be when she’s an adult?” That’s fine. The studies we do are all encompassing. Which lizards come from what ecosystems, where are those ecosystems, etc. There’s some geography and science and world history sometimes, all in one.
Are you just doing it for selfish reasons though?
I hated my schooling career. Because I was forced into a small box and learned relatively nothing about how to sustain myself as an adult. The first recollection I have of school is being forced to redo a dot to dot at least 4 times because I made my lines curved like a real dog looked, and not straight. I wasn’t allowed to use the bathroom, and pissed my pants in class. When I told the teacher, she didn’t believe me because I wouldn’t stand up because I was so embarrassed. I sat in a puddle of my own piss crying until she finally let me go to the office. In middle school I was tortured by kids my age so much it made me physically sick. Don’t ask me what I learned though, because I have no idea. High school? I created my high schools entire yearbook cover for a design class, but was failed because I worked on other class work during the class while the other students gossiped with the teacher. I wrote a presentation about misallocated funds and received a warning and a letter home. I had to have counseling from our guidance counselor about career choices, and when i told her I was going to fine art school, she told me it wasn’t a viable career choice and told me I should go with math, since those were some of my best grades (I learned to cheat the system because my teacher couldn’t take the time to further explain the material).
So yeah, maybe it is selfish. I don’t want my daughter to have to overcome the obstacles I did for a halfway decent education. THANK GOD for my parents, who supported and often times taught us the material themselves. If it weren’t for them, I honestly don’t know where I’d be.
How does she get enough socialization? She’s not going to have any friends.
Can we put this to bed finally? Ana is exceptional with socializing. She is comfortable engaging any age group in conversation, is thoughtful and engaging, is respectful of other cultures and abilities, and doesn’t act like a small asshole. She’s not going to call the kid with a diabetic monitor a robot because she’s been taught that that’s just fucking rude and unacceptable. I’m more worried about YOUR socialization if you think it’s appropriate to ask such a rude question.
We go to Tae Kwon Do twice a week, where she made friends. We go to events, where she makes friends. We go to the park, where she makes friends. We have neighbors, that we’re making friends with.
She has church friends, our adult friends who LOVE to talk about animals with her, she has family who are her friends. Hell, I think she and the internet guy are now best friends after their conversation about dogs.
We homeschool because…
it’s the best option for US. It fits our lifestyle, our ideals and thoughts as parents and members of society, and our child. We did brief stints in school settings and if in the future, Ana wants to go back, we will very seriously consider it. From what she’s seen and what we know from our own experiences and research though, it’s not for us. If it’s for you, that’s totally fine! We don’t judge, we’ve got our own shit we’re too busy trying to sort through.
Lastly, we’re not crunchy.
People hear you homeschool and look at you like you’re on an exclusively granola diet and don’t believe in indoor plumbing. I can assure you, we just had McDonalds for lunch today, and maybe yesterday. I vaccinate my kids because duh, research. You may use my bathroom and I buy cheap Angel Soft because bamboo is too expensive to wipe your ass with, and no, I’m not an “all-white-minimalist” with flat lays galore. Have you seen my kitchen? The only flat-lay that’s coming out of this house is me crying about the amount of dishes I have to do, while on the floor eating Reese’s.
If you have any more questions, I’d be happy to answer them. But please remember one of our rules, rude questions might receive rude answers.