Everything is a homeschool lesson.”
My dad said this many, many times as we grew up, amid a chorus of our groans. We could not understand his seemingly single-minded determination to ruin everything. And then, of course, I aged a little, became a parent myself, and realized… he was right.
That is one of the biggest differences between public school and homeschool: the former has hours of operation. However, they are not mutually exclusive. Life doles out lessons as long as we are breathing, so technically we are all homeschooled. For some, homeschooling is thought of as “less than,” while for others it is a daunting undertaking. I would argue it is something we all already do anyway. Every day we teach our children something. We expected we could help them navigate eating, crawling, talking, that a cow says moo, and the colors of the rainbow. So why do we suddenly doubt our ability to teach? We’ve still got this. We still add value.
Everyone finds the educational system that works best in their lives. It may be public, private, or charter school. It may be one-on-one tutoring, online courses, guided curriculum, unschooling, you name it – or a motley stew. I encourage any and all to take time to learn creatively with their kids whenever the occasion arises… and the more you do, the more occasions you’ll notice, I promise. It has a way of snowballing.
So who am I? I’m just a mom. I was homeschooled and then unschooled for most of my life by a father who had been a public school teacher. I am no sort of certified expert; I’m not even convinced one can be an expert at it, come to think of it – there are too many variables. I have learned through doing, and what I’m doing is working for us at this moment, and there lies the extent of my credentials. That is one of the perks: you don’t need credentials. What matters is to enjoy exploring the world around you with your child(ren).
I believe in offering exposure to concepts much like new foods to fussy eaters: try it, and if it doesn’t work, come back to it later; we all learn at different rates. I’m a partial fan of unschooling, a partial fan of interest-led learning, and a partial fan of standard academics. In short, we are eclectic homeschoolers – a little of this, a little of that. I also think it’s important to mix my parent and teacher roles: to make a caring, responsible, global citizen with a well-rounded education.
I do not (at least currently) follow any set curriculum, nor do I school along a set of specific beliefs, so anything I am doing should be readily accessible to all and requiring only basic supplies (in fact, the most important tools are probably a good local library and a ready sense of humor). We can all learn from each other, so please feel free to add Extraschooling to your learning community. Share your story, ask a question, vent a frustration, or celebrate the little moments – whatever you need, reach out!
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