Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Teaching My Own

There were many things Justin and I were sure about before we became parents. We knew we would homebirth. We knew we would not circumcise. We knew we would not vaccinate. We knew we would cloth diaper. We knew I would breastfeed. We knew we would follow Reece’s lead on when to wean. We knew we would home school. These are things we instinctively knew we wanted as parents. This is not to say we knew the reasons why at the time, but with time, we researched, became informed and felt confident in all the decisions we had and are still making along our journey.
When we made the decision to home school, it seemed pretty easy to imagine. I am a type A, organized, very structured person. I envisioned us working with Reece much the same way he would have been taught in school. I saw flash cards, fancy workbooks, a daily schedule of studies...basically I was planning on the normal day to day school activities, except we would do it at home.
That was three years ago, and I have come a long way.  As I said, we followed our instincts in making a lot of our decisions, but we took time to read, research and become informed as well. Our decisions are based on both instinct and information and so far that has not lead us astray.
So, I have treated homeschooling exactly as I have treated every other decision we have made. I have been reading, researching and becoming informed.  I have met some wonderful people on Twitter who are spreading the word on brain development - how brains develop best, how our children learn and why play is so important. These wonderful ladies Deborah, Lisa and Janet have provided me with many blog posts which inform me and make me think.  And I love it!
I have just finished reading John Holt’s Teach Your Own and again, it has challenged those initial ideas we had about homeschooling. It has challenged how I see my role in Reece’s education. It has pretty much change my idea of homeschooling.
I now refer to homeschooling as “lifeschooling”. I no longer see myself as Reece’s teacher, but as a facilitator in his learning process. I no longer see our home as a “school” but as a learning environment full of potential for Reece to direct his own learning. 

Afternoon tea for two and a story

We have gone from one end of the homeschooling spectrum to the other, and I am thrilled. Each and every day we wake up and greet the day with anticipation of what it holds. Some days it is our usual routine; other days Reece throws us a curve ball asking an intriguing question which leads us in a totally different direction. We are amazed daily at the questions he asks, the information he retains and the learning which takes place just by living our lives.
We are not wearing rose coloured glasses; we know not all our “lifeschooling” days will be as they are now. We will be faced with challenges, but life is full of challenges, and I for one, have never been known to back down from a challenge. 
Lifeschooling promises to be interesting, adventurous, exciting and fun! I look forward to sharing our journey with you over the years.


  1. I can't tell you how much I enjoy your blog and writing. Thank you!

  2. Wow, thanks! I really appreciate your comments.

  3. I loved this one Kim. Thanks for sharing it! I nurse, cloth diaper, co-sleep, and work from home. In thinking about homeschooling, I'm a little bit worried that my daughter won't get enough peer and mixed age social stimulation. Have you ever had concerns about that? And what do you do about it?

  4. Thanks for stopping by Shelly and glad you enjoyed the post.

    That is a question, actually the first question, most people ask. And I don't have any concerns with it.

    Here are my thoughts...the school setting is about sitting at a desk, being told to be quiet, listen but don't speak, I am not sure how this teaches Reece to be social. Yes, they do spend time outside the classroom at recess but this is usually not the most friendly atmosphere. I remember my time in school as a child, there were different groups of kids, you had to find out where you fit in, and if you didn't watch out. I really don't want Reece to be in the watch out group, but I also really don't want him in the group which makes other kids want to watch out...know what I mean?

    As for how we are handling it, we have a couple of different groups we hang out with, that include a variety of ages. We go to music class and hit the pool. We will starting skating soon. I also take Reece with me everywhere, he is learning to communitcate and socialize through are daily interactions with the grocery store clerk, the post office clerk and so on.

    I have spoken to some homeschooling parents, and I have also spoken to a few teachers, one a university professor, who have had homeschooled children come into their classrooms, and not one has ever mentioned a social problem. The comments are often about how well the fit in, how mature they are and how focused and attentive they.

    There is a lot of information out there debunking this myth, John Holt does a great job in his book Teach Your Own.

    Hope that helps.