November 27, 2020

We’re Not Homeschooling Our Children The Way I Was Homeschooled

Blog posts are hard to write when you don’t have much content to work with, and this is one of them; however, I promised I’d share what I disliked about being homeschooled and what I would do differently with my own children as part of the series, Confessions Of A Homeschool Graduate, so here goes.

I’ve spent the last four weeks trying to think of what to say. The truth is, if I could give our children even half the experience I had, I would be delighted, and Lord willing, they would be too.

I can’t think of one thing I hated about my home education.  We certainly had our difficult moments, but they were almost always caused by an issue of the heart that needed to be addressed (pride, self-pity, laziness, perfectionism, stubbornness, disobedience, deceitfulness), not by a flaw in homeschooling as an educational method itself. I loved the freedom, flexibility, security, and familial bonding that occurred as a result of being homeschooled, and I never once wanted to go to school. Getting into post-secondary school was no problem (more on that in a future post, DV), and I felt prepared for adult life, even though I’m greatly challenged by motherhood every day.

That said, we homeschool our children differently than how I was homeschooled. If we didn’t, we’d be missing the point.

The fundamentals of a Christian education are the same for our children as they were for us, namely that the foundation for all wisdom and understanding must be rooted in the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10), but the practical outworking of Christ-centered, parent-led, home-based, family discipleship looks different from family to family.

The dynamics of our family now are different than the family I grew up in, different than the family my husband grew up in, different than any other family in the world. Our children have a different birth order, different interests, ages, strengths, and weakness than we or any of our siblings had. They’re growing up in a different decade and in a different community than the one we grew up in. There are far more homeschooling curriculum publishers and distributors available to me than there was when my Mom began homeschooling 25 years ago, and far more technological tools and advancements to utilize if I so desire.

We wouldn’t try to recreate the classroom in our home because of all the limitations and challenges that come with standardized education, and it makes no sense to try and recreate another’s homeschool experience, either. Home education should be as unique as each family; with the Lord’s blessing, that’s historically how it has been so successful.

That’s why I hope you’ll never find me telling you what teaching method or curriculum to use. Every now and then, I might highlight or recommend something that’s working for us, but what works for us may not work for you – and that’s okay! 

I was classically homeschooled; we tend to favor the Charlotte Mason approach, but our homeschooling style can be more accurately described as “Eclectic.” My education had a heavy emphasis on music; we have yet to get a piano. I partook in some optional standardized testing; unless it’s required by law, we don’t yet see the need to do the same with our children. As a child, I had the entire Summer off of any book-work and observed all the statutory holidays and school breaks; recently, our family decided to give year-round schooling ago (more thoughts on that another day).

Next week, my Mom and I are planning to spend the day at a curriculum sale together. We both have a child the same age (my youngest brother is four months younger than our oldest daughter), and we’re both busily putting together a list of book titles to shop for. I haven’t seen her list, but I have a sneaking suspicion that we’ll both leave the sale with a bag full of books, and no more than one or two titles the same. With the exception of Rod and Staff’s preschool curriculum and a Grade 1 math book, we have yet to choose alike  – and we both love it that way because that’s what’s working for our individual families.

The freedom, flexibility, security, and adaptability to each unique situation are the very reasons I loved my home education – and the very reasons my husband and I are not homeschooling our children the way I was homeschooled.

7 thoughts on “We’re Not Homeschooling Our Children The Way I Was Homeschooled

  1. Thank you for your encouragement! I was, unfortunately, in public school throughout my whole childhood. However, my husband and I decided to try homeschooling this year for our second grade son. It has not been without it’s challenges, but i believe so far, it has been a great year! We also have a daughter who just turned four. I worry about next year, because I will be only one person trying to teach two children. How do other moms do that? Thank you so much!

  2. Great post! My sister and I are both homeschooling our children (we were public schooled). We have such different styles. She is more of how you describe your mom and I am more Charlotte Mason with a textbook here and there. She sticks to a school year calendar and I don’t (although we do usually take a summer break).

    People are always asking me what does your homeschool look like? Are there books to choose from?? They are so serious. It’s funny, because if you don’t homeschool or know homeschoolers you don’t realize the endless possibilities available!

    Very encouraging article, thank you!!

    P.S. We love Rod and Staff preschool books. I will be starting them with our fourth child this coming year. Excellent little books!

  3. I had to smile at this post. I was homeschooled and we are homeschooling our children, too. I am using the same curriculum my parents used both for familiarity for me and because it is a full curriculum that takes out the guess work and is well rounded. However, that’s where the similarities end! Our children are not being homeschooled the same way I was. But that’s okay! Everyone is different and one of the reasons to homeschool is to make “school” fit your family. We aren’t tied down to a “school” schedule, but can be as flexible as we need to be. The children are all using the same books, but they use them differently depending on who they are. Homeschooling works with our unique family, and we like that.

  4. The best part of starting the second generation is your parents probably tried so many different curricula that by the time your kids are ready, you have a pretty good grasp on all the different choices out there! And in my case, I’m starting my boys right now with the Rod & Staff “A-F” series, same as I did at their age! But then we’ll move from that to a classical curriculum, which I didn’t do until my last couple years of high school.

  5. I homeschool differently than my parents homeschooled me mostly because my husband and I have lived in the same house for the past decade or more, while my parents homeschooled us while we were living in a yacht sailing around the world. That, plus the changes that have developed in the homeschooling world in the decades since I was homeschooled, means that they didn’t have access to the homeschool support groups, museums, clubs, libraries, internet, and more that my children use often. Nor would it seem appropriate for kids growing up in the USA to use the Australian Government Correspondence courses they used with us, nor do I use a sextant and a huge book of trigonometric tables to daily figure out where we are, nor can I regularly take my children to tour new cultures the way I did growing up. But I think both of our ways of homeschooling have their advantages and will result in a great education.

  6. For those wondering about year-round scheduling, I saw a post some time ago that listed three potential schedules: 6 weeks on/1 off with 6-week breaks for summer and winter holiday, 4/1 going all year, or 9/2 all year. Or you could do like us and not schedule anything, just taking breaks whenever we get tired, fitting in extras and delaying “regular’ school as opportunities come up, and usually ending up with a month off for summer and two weeks for winter.

  7. It is interesting how differently you can homeschool than your parents did. My Mom used CLE for everything, after my first grade year, for which she used Rod & Staff (CLE wasn’t available yet that year). I decided I would not use CLE, because I hated it, but then they revised the math and I liked that. So, we’ve used it for all our children, but Sonlight for everything else. Then, over the past two years, we’ve been moving away from Sonlight. For one thing, their language arts didn’t work for half of our children, because of dyslexia. Now that the most severely dyslexic children are getting almost to the end of their school years, guess what! I’m suddenly using CLE Language Arts this year! It is totally different than when I grew up, and so far I like it.

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