Homeschooling is getting more and more popular and there are more options and opportunities than ever before. Growing up I only knew of one other family who homeschooled, and now most of our friends were either homeschooled at some point in their education or they are homeschooling their kids. The education crisis in Oklahoma has only increased the amount of families who homeschool.
For our family I almost feel as if the decision to homeschool Eden were already made for us. For one, we live 30 minutes away (6 miles of horrible gravel roads plus 6 miles of terribly paved roads before you even get to the highway) from town. I just do not feel good about putting Eden on a school bus and sending her away to school from 7am-4:30pm, especially as a small child. And I don’t have time (nor does it make sense for us) to drive back and forth from the school all day.
I was already staying at home to help on the farm so why not just add educating my child to my list of responsibilities. The thought of being together as a family everyday literally warms my heart. We get to do chores together, plant in the field together, watch sheep be born together, and so much more. The family unit has sadly been turned and twisted into ways God did not intend. The way we do life may seem weird and counter-cultural to some, but we are doing all we can to get back to the basic roots of what a family is supposed to be.
Chad and I both firmly believe children should play more, not sit at a desk for hours on end doing busy work. I know that’s not all they do in a public school, but it is so important to us that Eden is able to farm and do life alongside us throughout the year and not be restricted to a classroom all day. There is so much about our education system that we do not agree with, but I will not get into that on this post. Sheltering Eden from the world has nothing to do with our decision to homeschool. We have a strong desire for her to have a broad worldview, and to be educated about the world.
Eden is only 4 so we are just now diving into the homeschool world, and it can be very overwhelming at times. There are so many different types of schooling…or unschooling. (At this point I don’t even care what specific type we are…I am just trying to teach my kid to cut and paste and learn her ABC’s). There are a bazillion curriculums and co-ops too.
At this point we try to make every moment a learning opportunity. Just last night when I was making corn bread Eden was up on the stool helping me measure out all the ingredients. She learns so much on the farm too. She knows more about farming than I do!
When Eden turned 3 I started doing about 60 minutes a day of structured learning/craft/activity time. I’m doing the same thing this year and using the same lessons from the Playing Preschool curriculum by The Busy Toddler. It was actually a facebook advertisement, but I’m glad I clicked on it because I love it and it was very inexpensive. Every 2 weeks we get a new topic and poem, song, and letter to go along with that. We read books and do basic activities and crafts that go along with that topic. It’s super easy! I’ve added ABC Bible verse cards and a daily devotional too. More than anything it gives me and Eden an hour a day to sit down and have some structured time together. With our life there isn’t much structure and things can get pretty hectic, so our school time is crucial to both of us.
This week she is learning about solids and liquids. On Monday we mixed bubble bath and water with my blender and made foam and today we analyzed several different types of liquids around the house to see what was similar and what was different about them. Somehow her barbies always end up in the middle of what we’re doing and covered with whatever we are using that day!
She will be in kindergarten next year and I plan to use a more in depth curriculum, but still basic enough that neither of us will get burned out. Homeschooling is more about teachable moments in everything we do than what curriculum we are using or how many minutes per day we write our letters.
And for those of you who worry about her socialization…she is just fine. She goes to story time at the library every week and started dance class this year, plus she is around kids when she goes to church with her Nana. In the next couple years we will be looking for a co-op where she can be with other kids probably one day a week in a learning environment. Co-ops often go on field trips together too.
People ask me all the time how long we will homeschool or if we will do it all the way through. Right now we are taking it one year at a time. So much can happen in life or she or I may decide public school is what is best for us at that time. I know homeschooling will come with it’s challenges and there will be days where I will think I can’t do it anymore, but the benefits of it will be worth it. I can see us homeschooling all the way through, but we will just have to wait and see how that story unfolds. Until then, this is the road God has put us on at this point in our lives and we are very blessed.