Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How Unique is your Family? A little about our Homeschooling Style.

I will be doing some curriculum reviews soon and I wanted to give you some background information about me.

I think it makes all the difference when reading a review knowing a bit about the reviewer. So here goes... :)

I do not have a degree in Education. I have a Brazilian college degree in International Business. My first language is Portuguese. I speak English and Spanish fluently and have taught them both as foreign languages.

When I was a teenager, I lived in California and went to public school there. I went to 7th, 8th and 9th grades. I know first hand what it's like to go to public school in the US.

My Dad is an Engineer so I grew up having long math tutoring sessions with him. He loved math and would explain it to the details. I remember hating those lessons then. I really didn't have the patience. Today I appreciate those times so much because they helped me grasp many mathematical concepts.

I tutored math in High School and College but I do not consider myself a math expert or a genius. I like math today, but it wasn't always so when I was in school. I always viewed math as a puzzle sort of a game. Sometimes I wanted to play. Sometimes it wore me out.

I was pretty good at it. I studied Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry even Calculus. While I loved the first three subjects, I got lost in Calculus and really can't tell you much about it.

I have homeschooled my children from birth. Not one has gone to school. You can read my Learning Log posts to see what our months look like.

I cannot tell you that I have taught them all they know.

They do a lot of learning on their own. But I do guide them, instruct them and facilitate their daily studies. On the date of this post, we have 4 children between the ages of 4 y.o. and 11 y.o.

I would say our learning style is eclectic or relaxed homeschooling. I used to think we were unschoolers but not anymore. While we do NOT like school or schoolish settings of any sort, Mom likes to be in charge or at least pretend she is in charge. :)

We have routines and some "rules" to our activities so I am really not a Sandra Dodd unschooler type.

However, my kids do tell people that we don't do school and that we unschool. I have told them for so long that the learning we do at home is completely different from school. So in their minds we unschool. 

The term was coined by John Taylor Gatto and he came up with it out of frustration for the public school system.

All my children have different learning styles

At least 3 of them are very much verbal. They need to talk to learn or to remember what they are learning. 

Can you imagine these children in a classroom? 

We have arguments at home because of so many interruptions. I have to constantly listen to my children regurgitate information they are learning because it helps them to process it. I have to look interested too. :/

I would say all four are visual learners. I have a couple who are also kinesthetic. They move all the time even when they are doing workbooks. 

One for sure is also an auditory learner. She is teaching herself how to play the tin whistle. Two are very social and two are very solitary in their learning. 

How does a Mom homeschool with so many learning styles?

Flexibility is key!

From the beginning my goal was to find out who my children were and facilitate their gifts and talents. Although I cater to their strengths, we work on their weaknesses too.

We change our routines constantly. We use all sort of media to learn. We use many different curricula. Sometimes we don't finish a book/ textbook. We do lots of hands on activities. We are very social. There is music and noise at my house everyday. We are not a quiet home. 

We use computers. We watch TV. We have cable. We read our Bibles too. :)

We also read a lot. Lots of different genre. Poetry. Biographies. Historical Fiction. How to books. Scientific books. Magazines. Comic Books. Take a look at my Learning Log posts to see some of our reading choices.

I hate routine. I don't like to do the same thing everyday. I tell my kids the only routine we have is 3 meals a day, and a set bedtime. Everything else is subject to change in our house.

Many times we begin with a routine of reading out loud everyday after lunch. Within 4 days we are doing something else. We might read again before bedtime because the book is so interesting. (We did that yesterday as we read our first Louis L'amour book) Or we might not pick up the book for a few days.

I believe we are learning all the time. Our brain does not stop absorbing or processing information because we are not doing a workbook, reading a book or listening to a lecture. 

Everyday life experiences are learning experiences!

We are a curious family. Hungry for knowledge and experiences.

We "school" year round. Sometimes we will stop whatever curriculum we are using and play, read, watch documentaries for 30 days. Then pick up where we left off like nothing happened.

We endeavor to do "school" (workbooks, projects, Easy Peasy work load etc) in the morning and be done by lunch time. So math, individual reading, grammar, history and/ or science readings/ videos, Bible are all done in the morning in about 2 hours. Afternoons are left for reading alouds, hands on projects, free computer time, music/ craft lessons and anything else that the kids fancy.

Our journey in homeschool began with my husband's desire to home educate our children. He did not enjoy his time in PS as a kid and was bored most of the time. He was not challenged at all and was picked on for being smart. Also, as a Christian, he wanted to be the main influence on our kids' lives. He feel it's important to teach our children God's principles and guard their hearts.

I had no clue what homeschooling was, but always felt in my gut that it was just wrong to have to send my children somewhere else to have a stranger teach them and enjoy their victories. I wanted to spend time with my children. I wanted them to be close. Homeschooling is the perfect fit for us! We get to learn together and be the most important influences on their lives!

I also felt I wasted a lot of time in PS. I wanted to give my kids free time to explore, think and develop their gifts and talents. I spent a lot of years lost until I discovered my gifts and Jesus! :) (not necessarily in this order)

I hope this information helps, as you read my curriculum reviews. 

It's really important to know the uniqueness of your family so that you can choose the resources that fit your style and your goals.

We are all different and sharing those differences can be helpful in our self exploration as we go on our homeschooling journey!

What sets you apart? How unique is your homeschooling style?

Share in the comments' section.



" To believe in unschooling is to believe that true learning happens best when it arises from the experiences and interests of the learner, not from an imposed curriculum or a teacher or a parent.  As unschooling parents, we don’t act as teachers, but as facilitators and partners." - Jennifer McGrail

Here's more on Unschooling and Christianity.

1 comment:

Dawn Rebekah said...

I loved reading about how you homeschool. I look forward to each of your posts. I had to move my blog and I am now blogging at ~
Please make a note if you wish.
Blessings, Dawn