Homeschooling? Normal versus Typical? How to Find Your Swing?
Today, I wanted to jump into what you should expect when you homeschool–what should your day look like? Expect just a bit of satire in this post, because the longer you go homeschooling, the more you will notice that hardly anyone does homeschool the same way that you do! The main thing is to find your own swing.
We recently listened on audible.com to the story, The Boys in the Boat. See my post in April Audio Favorites for the details on this book. In short, the book tells the story of Joe Rance, a member of the 1932 Olympic Gold Medal winner team for rowing. Fascinating read that we really enjoyed. Anyway, in that book, the rowing crew struggled and spluttered along, facing all kinds of challenges with the competitions, until at one point, they found their swing. This was the point where they began to work like a well-oiled machine, and not every man for himself.
Finding your Homeschool Swing
Finding your swing is a concept that applies to us as homeschoolers. We will see many directions, options, and distractions. How do you choose what’s best? I can’t answer that for you, but sooner or later, you will recognize that your family has its own particular style. It does not have to look like the other families that you see. Not even your best friend’s family. You must find your swing. And you can find it as God directs you!
You may have homeschooling seasons that looks just like you planned! Classes all lined up, with music lessons filling in the cracks, time for socialization neatly scheduled in, and plenty getting done! Those are rewarding seasons! Believe me, that’s what we all would love to have happen every day of the year!
Other seasons may seem out of place, like a big thunderstorm on the day of your picnic. You may long for those perfectly organized days that never seem to materialize. You may be squeezing school in the cracks of an unorthodox life. Hello–can I get a witness?
Variations from the Usual
Maybe you have a business that you’re running, and you bring the kids to the store. Maybe you’re building many days, like us, and it feels like you’d like to cover a bit more in your curriculum. Or you work nights, and depend on your kids to keep rolling with their school work independently. What about if you’re traveling the road with your family, and much of your education comes from sites that you find along the way?
I assure you, that even in these types of come-what-may environments, you can find a swing, even if it’s a temporary one. We know families in each of these situations, and although not their preferred way, they find a good enough swing to make it along!
The beauty of home educating (versus homeschooling, which suggests sitting at little desks lined up in a classroom) is that you get to choose! Now, I realize that at times, the twists and turns of life bring surprises that don’t feel like a choice, but if we are honest, we will realize that we are in charge of our lives. Life is full of ups and downs.
Almost every day for us lately is different. We’re moving into homesteading, but we’re in the challenging stage of no house, so that effects our schooling.
- Friday– boys worked setting trusses for our Camper Canopy. All day affair. See Ridge Haven Building Update. Is this a typical homeschool day? Not for us!
- Monday–took the morning to organize storage items that we brought up Sunday. Afternoon–headed to Grandma’s to wash laundry. Loaded up household items from storage to haul home. Hung out with grandparents. Home by 8. Math in RV. Diana Waring history CDs while driving. Not typical day either.
- Tuesday–met for “Socialization” ?Soccer time. Aka soccer game with homeschooling friends. I walked track and played soccer with littlest son. Visited with friends and other ladies. Met new homeschooling family at soccer park. Loaded up more boxes from storage. Stopped in to see store run by new friends we met in park. Talked about life and family businesses. Popped in to see Grandma and thank her for folding laundry. Gotta go! More history with Diana Waring in the truck. Home to eat lunch, fill water tanks, clean and refill Berkey filter. Unload boxes. Help oldest son write sermon. First time for both of us. Younger two do regular school subjects and science research projects, work on knot boards, do internet research. Baths. Fill up water tanks again. Worship. Bed. Boys decided to make beds in shop. Took cat to protect them from mice. They are all getting along tonight!
- Wednesday– builder will come. More work on Canopy. School work. Research papers to type. More boxes to shuffle in the shop. Oh, and that bed from last night in the workshop–that needs cleaned up too, boys! Pathfinder work to finish up requirements. Pathfinder meeting to practice Investiture, go over sermons, and wrap up year. What surprises will this day hold? “By the way, Mom; did I tell you that I need to go visit a sick shut-in and write him a note?” Huh?
Typical or Ideal?
For our family, Typical and Ideal are not the same! Ideally, we would all jump in, get our homeschool work done by 2 with no outside distractions. We’d take a Nature Walk every day, and my boys would sit down and draw amazing sketches of flora and fauna that they love! We’d have several hours of hands-on gardening, or carpentry time, we’d met once a week for friend/PE time, and we’d be in the frequent flyer program at the library.
We actually have some days when all of these have happened. I think the boys were 6 and under. Just kidding! Recently, we’ve had some days what I would want out typical day to look like! But many days change because of outside influences, poor planning, emergencies, squabbles, and extra projects and events. In some days you have to learn to go with the flow, while figuring out what to do better next time.
For us, this year had been a year of projects.
- Moving onto raw land.
- Putting in the septic,
- pouring concrete,
- framing our cabin,
- making our Camper Canopy (currently),
- setting up our off-grid RV/water cachement system,
- drainage systems,
- water sanitation, and all the little inconveniencest hat go along with this wild life we’re trying out.
We aren’t done with the curriculum yet. Yet it’s time to be “done” with our school year. Our boys have learned many valuable skills for building and life in general. But we still are working at the books as well, because we want a balanced education, and there are laws to consider!
Find your Swing
If you are just starting out with homeschooling, you will find your rhythm. It may take a few years. Some days I wonder if we’ve found ours. But we have to look at the whole journey, and not judge our journey by a few flat tires along the way.
Look at ten different homeschooling families and you may be puzzled to see ten completely different flavors! I remember reading a few years ago of a good-intentioned mom just starting out with her homeschooling path. She asked some seasoned moms about their experiences, and was horrified to find out that some homes housed “dust bunnies” at times. In other words, sometimes the dishes piled up, or some other area got neglected.
It’s painful, but true. Sometimes the laundry piles up. At times, we do more school in the car than at home. Get used to the fact that everything may not go as planned every single time.
Learning to Go with the Flow
How can you schedule in how long it will take for your son to “get” that difficult lesson in fractions. What if he has a mental block? What if it lasts for weeks? You’re gonna have to get out there and seek out a solution, a new approach, and it will take a considerable amount of your time!
Kids aren’t parts in an assembly line, to be completed by graduation time.
There’s plenty more to be written on this topic! For now, I will refer you to the following resources, all of which I have read, listened to, or watched!
- Dumbing Us Down, by John Taylor Gatto
- Schooled, Scott Ritsema
- UnDoctrinated, Scott Ritsema
- Raymond and Dorothy Moore books, such as The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook, Home Grown Kids and Better Late than Early
- Raymond and Dorothy Moore website found here
- Education, by EG White
Smithsonian Formula for Success:
- LaDonna’s blog This Lady was my secret mentor during my early homeschooling years! Her blog contains a wealth of helpful information!
Now, it’s your turn!
Time to get thinking! How can you find your swing in homeschool? What will your homeschooling life look like, and are you willing to go the different route if necessary, to make it work?
Let me know what your homeschool swing looks like! I’m sure it looks different from ours!
Leave me a comment, and get the discussion going!
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Most importantly, Find your Swing!
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