Someone asked how I manage to homeschool with twins. I will tell you that it is not always (ever?) easy to homeschool, but it often brings great joy and I am certain that it is the right path for my family. Homeschooling does not have to be complicated. I have pulled out two quotes that I find inspirational and supportive:
“The main goal of the early school years is to learn the basic skills of reading, writing and simple arithmetic. These are the first tools for any further learning. The subjects you use to acquire and practice these tool are, in a sense, secondary. This is so much the case that eh mother of a large number of homeschooling children who is able to do only religion, readin, simple arithmetic and basic letter formation with her youngest grades should not worry that they are educationally neglected. The natural stimulation of a busy household will supply for hte other subjects. Once a child can read, he is able to be an independent learner.”
– Laura M. Berquist, “Designing You Own Classical Curriculum”
“Consider, instead of tha model perfect home, one which is bursting with beauty and ideas. It may not be as big and it is almost certainly messier than the House Beautiful home, but there is lots of learning going on there. There is a learning room full of things that foster creativity: Lego building blocks, Playmobil figures, dressup clothes, paints, paper, writing and editing programs on the computer, dolls, blocks, and books, lots and lots of books.”
–Elizabeth Foss, “Real Learning”
My family was hesitant when I pulled my 5 year old out of school — in many ways, so was I, but I knew one thing: school was not working for him. I wanted him to have a living education. He was a child who loved to learn, and I did not want to see that love be snuffed out. Also, he was exhausted. He was getting up early to go to school all day, participating in after school activities, doing homework and going to bed. There was no room in his day for free reading, free thinking, open ended play activities, or family time.
In the year that we have been home, I have found that we do school from about 9-12 most days and we accomplish a lot. We read wonderful living books together, bedtime stories are treasured. We spend lots of time outside. The kids have quiet time after lunch, and PT reads, sometimes things I have assigned him, but mostly things he has chosen. Right now, he is reading the Golden Children’s Bible. He loves to come down afterwards and tell me what he has been reading. Yesterday he narrated back all of the dreams that Joseph interpreted in the Old Testament. Also this year, my five year old daughter has learned to read, print her letters and do basic arithmetic, the twins have played and played and been read to and run around and laughed and danced and made messes. The baby has been surrounded by love and family.
When the weather is fair, we get together on Wednesday afternoons with our local homeschooling group. This socialization is wonderful, for me and for the children. We have also done gymnastics in the fall and winter and now we are doing little league. All of the kids did two terms of drop off story time at the library with no separation issues.
It is amazing what kids will invent when there is no TV available — our time has become so much more productive, since even outside of “school” time they are often choosing school activities, recently pattern blocks have been a popular choice.
Well, there is so much more to say, but now I have to go teach a math lesson…
Edited to add: A link to an old post about my homeschool life, including Q&A from my neighbors and a description of our day and methods which is still surprisingly accurate.