Wednesday, March 28, 2012

apart from me

As homeschoolers, it's natural for us to occasionally question how we are doing what we are doing...and why we're even doing it in the first place. These are the big questions. The ones that set you back. Disrupt the rhythm of how you do what you do. Suck the meaning out of why you're doing it all.

It all started with our annual Peabody test. (We're in a state that requires annual testing for homeschoolers.) I was interested to see how we'd done and if we'd progressed in our learning from the previous test, seeing as how most of this school year saw our family focused on finding the farm, buying the farm, and moving into the farm.

When the testing was done, it was revealed that not only were the Hmmmschoolers doing perfectly well in their math and reading, they were actually far above grade level in "general studies" subjects such as history, science, art knowledge, etc.

Now, like any homeschooling mama, I was proud of my hmmmschoolers for their hard work. Proud in a (purely selfish) way that said Good. Now grandma/grandpa/aunt/uncle/friend from high school can't tell me that my kids aren't learning anything. This test proves it! See?? They know so much!

But wait. There was an issue. Because when I found out what the "above and beyond" concepts were that they'd been tested on and done so well with...I had to admit they were not things we'd ever touched on in our school time.

The boys had picked those up all on their own.

Apart from the structured school time. Apart from the books and planned out experiments and worksheets.

Apart from me.

Now...that's a good thing. Right? I should be glad I've lit a fire within the boys that encourages them to learn and learn and learn some more. To seek out information. To dig deeper. To figure things out on their own.

Right?

No one told me, however, that when you're sitting in that place of being constantly told by your kids Mom, I already know that. I read it in a book from the library or Mom, we already watched a show about that on the History Channel with Grandpa or Mom, we already figured that out when we were building those contraptions in the garage with Dad...you will wonder what the heck your place really even is as a homeschooling Mom. 

You can't shut off the learning. And you can't slow it down...or speed it up. It is what it is. 

So now we've arrived at this new place. A place where I learn that learning changes. That what my kids need changes. And how we homeschool, in order to compliment those changes, needs to change as well.

And this is the place where I learn that all of that is perfectly ok.

13 comments:

  1. You are so right...I think exposure to so many things make our kids well rounded.

    Good job on the tests, too :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Isn't it just the most amazing thing?! And, I know what you mean about feeling like you'd ought to be doing more. I think we homeschool moms tend to feel like we should be busy constantly creating learning experiences for our kids, but the fact is, they find their own learning experiences just fine! They do need our support, and it's OK to show them things they might not come across on their own, of course...but they do learn completely without our efforts!! I think, too, that one of the best things we can do is live our own lives being interested, involved in learning new things, and following our own passions--show them by example what life-long learning looks like. I've been brewing a blog post in the back of my mind about this...at some point I might actually write it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've been hearing that on-and-that this year from ALL my kids! Suddenly they'll tell me something and I have NO idea where they learned it from because *I* didn't teach it to them nor was it in their curriculum! Sometimes I think *I'm* one-step behind them in the learning process! ;) We're currently reviewing a Physics curriculum and I chose Physics because, well, I figured my 2 oldest knew little about it since we've NEVER done Physics...So how come both are spouting out Physics MATH formulas and concepts like it's their HOBBY? LOL I just amazing me that they learn things like this through "life"! So much for Physics! Phew! Cross that one off! LOL

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post! Your words are so true- "You can't shut off the learning. And you can't slow it down...or speed it up. It is what it is." Nowadays, I think of myself less as a "teacher" or "homeschooling mom" and more as a life long learner who pursues her interests alongside her children. We are all learning, all the time:)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Many moons ago (*ahem), when we first started our homeschooling journey, a friend of mine took me to a homeschool conference. It was put on by a lady whose mantra was about creating a "Lifestyle of Learning." I thought she was nuts. It took a lot of years for me to understand that that's what homeschooling really is. Wish I would've gotten the message earlier~it would have saved a lot of stressin' on my part! Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  6. The "lifestyle of learning" rationale only works when you create a life from which there are lessons to be learned and you instill the learner with authority and responsibility. Congratulations on doing both!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi there,
    I popped over from girlgab.com! We are in our eleventh year of homeschooling and I remember well being in the place you are...I finally " got it " that life IS learning! Over the years we've adapted and eclectic approach to our homeschooling and these days, we just live mostly with curriculum as a side bar...real life is so much more exciting!
    Congratulations on gaining ground in your confidence. That can be a slippery slope at times but can be over come with supportive friends, family and most of all... pats on the back from yourself!
    You deserve it!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Same thing happens with Keilee. She will tell me something that I have no idea where she learned it. It has taken me a few years to realize that 'lifestyle of learning' is the best way to learn.

    And congrats on the testing scores! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. The other night I was browsing this Physics curriculum on line. There were 3 levels: beginners which covers k-3rd grade, intermediate from 3rd-7th grade and advanced that went all the way to 10th grade. My DD9 decided she wasn't sleepy so we looked at the sample lessons together. Now, I was looking at this because I haven't "taught" them any Physics. Beginners level was babyish she told me. She knew everything that was covered on the sample pages. Intermediate was still boring to her. She kept telling me she knew all that already. So I tested her. I asked for definitions and explanations. And she nailed them all. So I looked at the advanced level. And "she convinced me" not to buy the curriculum. Why? Because she is learning it on her own pace, according to her interest. :)

    Great post!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is very inspirational! Our family is just getting started on homeschooling and I am a bit overwhelmed by all the different ways of doing it ... your post reminds me to let go and realx and enjoy the journey a bit more: they will be learning. Thanks and what a wonderful life you've provided for your kids!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love that our kids can still surprise us! I was watching a geology documentary with my son the other night, and he was all "yes, there are 3 periods in the Mezoic era" and I was all "what the?". And he just said "Mum, I read books you know". I've been told!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Beautiful post!

    I've been gone a while, and it's so lovely to come back to beauty like this. Words that say, YES, and KEEP GOING, and remind me that our homeschool way of life (so many books! So much independent learning!) is exactly right for us and brings us joy.

    Thank you, thank you! :)

    ReplyDelete

Hmmm...what do you have to say?