In Spring, I typically look back on all that has happened in our year of homeschool educating. I look at what has worked and what hasn’t. Notes are taken of what topics and concepts each child absolutely loved, and which they excelled in – these are not always the same. I also record which areas still need review, or even reintroduction. You get the picture, it’s a year end review of our studies both formal and informal.
But I also reflect on what the overall tone of our year was like. Do I feel like we were stressed for most of the year? Were we relaxed and enjoying the journey? Maybe part of the year stood out as being truly difficult. I look at this deliberation as being a key element of having a successful homeschool.
If we’re not enjoying the journey, and I’m including the adults here too, what’s the point?
Truly, what are we teaching if it’s not that learning is worthwhile. I don’t mean every aspect is going to be thrilling or that there won’t be grumbling at times. But I want our learning experiences to be engaging overall. I hope that my children see the value and enjoyment of learning and discovering.
That is why in spare moments, I pull from my stack of books that patiently waits for me. I am in search of words to reinvigorate the ideas and plans I have for our homeschool journey. I don’t mean which curriculum or unit studies we’ll be using, though that gets a lot of thought as well. I’m referring to the larger picture of our homeschool. What do I want my children to get out of this experience? What is our purpose for travelling this route? Ideally, I look to remind myself of why we’re doing this, and recommit to our choice.
One of the books I was fortunate to choose was The Unhurried Homeschooler by Durenda Wilson.
It reinforced many of my feelings, supplied new thoughts to consider, and best of all provided encouragement. And I think that’s something everyone needs now and then.
It’s a quick read, and there’s quite a bit packed within its pages.
Reminders of trusting your instincts, giving children time to develop and grow, and finding support when needed fill the pages. She includes a snapshot of what an unhurried homeschool looks like, by giving an example from her own home.
Durenda Wilson writes on how the focus of education should be on the child. It’s not on testing or comparisons, but in truly seeing the child in front of you and how to support that child in his or her academic growth by meeting them where they are. (This is not to say that you should ignore your state regulations. It is absolutely possible to homeschool in an engaging way while fulfilling legal requirements.)
Durenda Wilson puts the emphasis back on educating in a way that “fits your family life.” It tugs at that thought that home is a vital part to homeschooling.
“I have never regretted introducing our children to learning by making sure that “school” revolved around home life, not home life around school.” – Durenda Wilson
How easy it is to get swept up by the curriculum and feel it needs to be completed no matter what. In homeschooling, we have this great opportunity to model attending to what is most important in life, while balancing what we want and need to do as well.
The Unhurried Homeschooler is a book that I highly recommend adding to your reading list if you haven’t read it yet. It truly is worth it. “Consider this book your ticket to freedom – freedom to approach education in a way that fits your family life.”
What books are you hoping to read this month?
If you’re looking for another excellent book of encouragement and ideas, you might enjoy The Brave Learner By Julie Bogart. I’ve already re-read this one twice.