Friday, April 17, 2009

Homeschooling - Its a Lifestyle of Learning

When my husband and I first started thinking about homeschooling, I immediately thought: "there is no way I could do that!". I had a million reasons why not, mostly a confidence issue and yes, probably a little bit of selfishness about my time! However, I know without a doubt we were called to do it. As with most things that God is prompting me to do, I can't just jump in easily, I have to be pushed, kicking and screaming most of the way. God has to basically "kick me between the shoulders" into what I'm being called to do. That is definitely how our homeschool journey started out.

Homeschooling had been in the back of our minds for about a year. My son was four and we had "thought about it", but I had all the typical excuses: I don't have the patience, we can't afford for me quit my job, they will miss out on something ......... And then came the kick between the shoulders: I had a medically fragile infant who couldn't be exposed to lots of germs, aka kids bringing home a bug from school. So our homeschooling journey began. Talk about a hard time to start homeschooling! I had a very sick baby, having multiple brain surgeries, with lots of hospital stays . . . . and we were homeschooling with little sleep, lots of stress, and very little patience, but I had no choice!

Well with that background, I just want to encourage all of you beginning homeschoolers or those of you thinking about homeschooling. You can do it! It will be the hardest thing you've ever done, it will stretch you as a person and a parent and you will learn more than you ever imagined! And if you were like me (having no patience) you will gain some!!!! The rewards will also be amazing. You will have deeper relationships with your children that are only created with large amounts of time spent together. You will have the opportunity to teach them the most important things in life. You will be there to help them walk through challenges. Your children will become best friends....and of course, they can have an awesome education. Homeschooling is a tutorial method of teaching. This method has proven itself to be very beneficial. In fact, studies have shown that it doesn't matter whether you are a certified teacher or even if you have a college degree when it comes to homeschooling! The test results are the same ...... and homeschoolers test higher than publicly schooled kids by a wide margin. The studies have also shown your children will grow up to be more civically involved and successful! So don't worry about the socialization myth!

One of the biggest things I've learned on our journey so far (we've been homeschooling for 7 years) is that homeschooling is really a lifestyle. It is teaching your children a love for learning and that learning can take place at any time. It doesn't have to be in a desk, with cute little posters on the wall! We've had many a school lesson on the bike trail by the river, sitting on a rock! We've even done our math lesson some days with sidewalk chalk! In fact, each parent has done a lot of "homeschooling" without realizing it. You taught your children every day until they entered school!

If you are worrying about gaps in your child's education, be reassured that there are gaps in every child's education. No school teaches a child everything there is to learn. There is so much to learn!!! The important thing is to teach your child how to learn. Give them a strong foundation in the basics and a love of learning. If you teach them how to learn, they can learn anything with the tools you've given them!

So here is a typical example of what I mean by a lifestyle. My oldest child Jordan who is 12 has taken an interest in gold panning. He takes a trip to the library to check out every book he can find on gold panning and a video on gold panning. He visits the local geology office to visit with the staff. Of course, he pesters us until we buy him a gold pan!!! Then of course, we have to take a trip to go gold panning! It was a good excuse for us to get out of the house - we definitely have cabin fever in Eastern Oregon right now! So here are some pictures of our "hands on learning" for the day:

Jordan panning and the girls observing - yes, the girls can probably tell you a lot about gold panning too:

Here is a closeup of Jordan with his pan - we could actually see gold flakes in the soil - it was pretty cool:

Everybody gets in on the action - even the dog:

Now Jordan wants to build a sluice box . . . . . . I can see we're not finished with learning about this subject! It was a great afternoon for the family - here is a shot of dad, the kids and the dog just enjoying the day. We do live in a pretty place:

We even had a little promise of spring:


Egghead said...

Oh Kristi this is so cool. I hope you also teach Jordan and the girls that Dad was big into panning. Perhaps a trip to Mormon Basin would be good. That is not only where dad used to go but also where our grandfather worked up until he died. I love this post.

Egghead said...

Oh and Uncle David could really teach them how to pan and probably make that sluice box. He has done it for a long time.

Kristi said...

Seriously? I didn't realize day panned at Mormon Basin!!! I knew dad as into building a gold mine like he helped build and run in Alaska but I had no idea about Mormon Basin. AND - had no idea about Uncle David!!! We are so going to go pick his brain!!!!

Egghead said...

Check with Mom because I know dad panned at various places, mostly just for the fun of it. That is how David got interested I think. But mom will remember where and such. Dad went to Alaska to work on the gas pipeline (as well as Jay). I don't think he did any gold mining there but ask mom. She will know.

Kristi said...

No - actually Dad did help build a gold mine up in Alaska - I was in high school!!! I remember watching of the video of the operation! And - they were getting huge nuggets out of it! Ask mom!

Egghead said...

Well I didn't know that part of it. I always understood he was out on the Tundra for the gas pipelines (he was working in the shop as a mechanic and managed a crew I thought). But he might have gone inland during that time. I just never heard about it. Oh well, I guess you learn something new every day. Even about our own family.

Kristi said...

O.k. here is the rest of the story about Dad and the Alaska mine: Dad built a recovery mine in Nome, Alaska. It was a recovery system that had several stages that washed soil retrieved from the edge of the ocean (in the ocean). At each stage of the recovery system it retrieved smaller gold. There is a video of it - I remember seeing A LOT of gold come out if and some big nuggets too! Mom said she will look for the video - I'll let you know if its retrieved!

Egghead said...

I do remember dad being in Nome. I just didn't know about the gold. Now why didn't he bring some of that wealth home (ha ha)? Thanks for the family history lesson. I am your oldest student.

Kelli said...

Awesome post, you guys have definitely done an amazing job home schooling! I've never seen such a hands-on approach, but I can't begin to imagine how much it enriches their education. I want to go gold digging!