Homeschooling: My Whys and Hows
I am a homeschooling mom of two. I started homeschooling my firstborn when he was three years old. Recently, his little sister started joining our classes, too. She thinks that his big brother and I are having fun and she doesn’t want to be left out. If I were to describe our homeschooling life, I would say that it’s comparable to a rollercoaster ride. There are highs and lows as well as smiles and tears. But, just like that exhilarating theme park ride, I don’t regret homeschooling my children; I would do this over and over again. On that note, I would like to share with you the hows and whys of our homeschooling journey.
How I came to know about homeschooling
I first heard about homeschooling in our church when the wives of our pastors shared about the home education of their own children. Then on Instagram, I saw one mom from my former group, who posted photos of her kid going through what looked like printouts from a booklet. Then she used #homeschooling in her caption. I asked her where she got those printouts and she generously shared her source. That got me interested and so I began researching about homeschooling. At first, most of the resources that I have found were from overseas. There are countless blogs, curricula, workshops and online stores, all based abroad. I told my husband about my desire to homeschool our only child at that time. He disagreed and thought that it would only work for families living in other countries, since everything that I showed him were not from here. I continued to immerse myself into every homeschooling resource that I can get ahold of. I prayed hard to GOD for me to be equipped and fully committed to educate my child, anytime and anywhere. I also prayed that my husband will see the beauty of home education.
Why I wanted to homeschool my children
Why homeschool? I had the desire to homeschool my children for a number of reasons.
- I want them to find joy in learning. It is a joy to see my kids feel excited when we are about to get on a new lesson or topic. It is my hope that they will continue to do so for the rest of their lives and that they will never see studying as a dreadful task that they must take on.
- I want them to study at their own pace. If a topic is challenging for them to understand, we can take our time, find another resource, or better yet, change our method of learning just so they could have a good grasp of what we are studying. On the other hand, if a lesson is something that they are already very knowledgeable of, we could just breeze through it and dig deeper or move on to another lesson.
- I want us to have the freedom to use any books and learning materials that we like. We will not be limited to the school-prescribed textbooks. We can use learning apps, download free worksheets or make our own.
- Catch a bad habit and nip it in the bud. Our little humans are learning a lot from the stories that they read, the TV shows that they watch, even the behaviors that we as parents are modeling to them, unknowingly. Because we are together 24/7, I have the chance to catch an emerging unpleasant habit or misbehavior and correct my children before it gets worse. I emphasize the importance of kindness, repentance, forgiveness, and grace to my kids whenever I discipline them. As they grow, I keep on praying for them to develop a good character and a strong faith in GOD. For me, these are most significant in life and will help them go a long way. More than excellence in academics, I want to impress on my children that good character is way more significant and infinitely valuable.
How I homeschool my children
When I started homeschooling my son back then, we didn’t own a printer yet. His first worksheets were all handwritten and hand-drawn by me. For other objects that were too challenging for me to draw, I asked my husband to do it for me before he goes to work. We used stickers from my child’s activity books and the ones we bought from the supermarket. I used cereal cardboard boxes for our Letter of the Week lessons. We read second-hand books from a nearby thrift shop and activity books we purchased during our weekend trips to the bookstore. About a year later, we were able to buy a print-copy-scan machine which helped us a lot with the worksheet printouts and for my homeschool reading materials. I was also able to join local homeschooling groups online where several parents shared how they homeschool their children and the materials that they use. Very grateful for those parents who took the time to share their methods with those of us who were at a loss of how to homeschool our children. I hope that through this post, I am able to pay it forward – to encourage and enlighten more parents who are just about to start in their homeschooling journey.
I was new at homeschooling when I learned about the Charlotte Mason (CM) method, a gentle homeschooling method that treats a child as a person, rather than a blank slate. The CM method advocates the use of living books as opposed to textbooks, to nourish the child’s mind. When I first read about CM, it felt like I was reading a parenting book because a big part of it was about how to take care of the child’s mind, body and character. Over the years, we have benefited greatly from this method, in terms of how I prepare and conduct our lessons, and how my children discover new things and apply what they have learned.
We just ended our homeschool year a week ago. We are currently enjoying our vacation-at-home (Hello Pandemic Year 2). The kids and I are doing special projects, fun Science experiments, coloring and painting together, playing more games together, searching for outdoor activities that we can do on our little balcony, splashing in our small inflatable pool, spending more time on our hobbies, and sometimes sleeping in on weekdays.
In a few more weeks, I would need to start with sourcing and pre-reading materials for our next homeschool year. I am both excited and a little bit nervous, but I sure am in this for the long haul.