In this blog, Mama of Letters, as well as the newspaper column I wrote for seven years, I wrote extensively about how my husband and I are homeschooling our two boys and why. I am still writing about their home education in that I share the curriculum we use and other resources that I find helpful. Since time is of the essence as my boys get older, I have resorted to writing monthly updates about our homeschool journey, though I do share more focused posts from time to time too.
We use project-based homeschooling techniques so that the boys can focus mostly on the subjects that interest them, but I also pick subjects that I think are important. (See my yearly curriculum posts, or Curriculum I Can Recommend.) My favorite posts are about my boys’ child-led projects because that’s when homeschooling gets so exciting. That’s when the boys are really learning and growing! (*But please see my note at the bottom of this page.)
My husband and I have tried our best to create a culture where questions are encouraged, books and art supplies are at our fingertips, building supplies are on hand, Legos are plentiful, and we get outside as often as possible. For more serious endeavors, we feel it’s important that we give our children the right tools, guidance and time to dig deep. When our children become interested in a topic, we do too. It becomes a family effort. This lifestyle has been extremely rewarding for us.
We aim to teach our children how to learn more than anything else. We consider ourselves mentors, and we guide our children down a path most suited to their talents and capabilities.
I love being home with my boys and following their interests. Paying attention to them and offering tools that might help them pursue their endeavors has yielded some awesome homeschool days. We have had some bad days too. A homeschooling parent must learn when to ebb and flow. I have written about my mistakes and my victories.
My priorities for my children in the elementary grades are getting out into nature, letting them pursue topics and activities that they are interested in, giving them a good dose of storytelling and literature, exploring interesting places, and after that, we study other important subjects. Watching nature and science documentaries is a daily ritual in our house, and we offer generous limits on screen time. My boys love Minecraft and other digital games. Now that my eldest son is entering middle school, we’re working more toward future goals, which also means preparing for college.
Some of my favorite projects the boys have pursued are nature and science studies, the Titanic, rockets, carnivorous plants, birds, drawing, and piano/classical music. I have learned so much through my boys!
If it’s not already obvious, this is a secular blog. While I respect all beliefs, and I’m proud to be friends with people of many different beliefs, we do not homeschool because of our beliefs. We study all religions because it’s an important part of culture and history.
I’m not someone who thinks everyone should homeschool. Every parent has to decide what is best for his or her child and family. There are many ways to educate and raise a child successfully. If I had the resources, I might try some other options myself.
I love to share tips with other parents on how to mentor children. I also offer free homeschool coaching, if you’d like someone to chat with or ask questions about this way of life.
*As my boys get older, I will share their projects less because I don’t think I have the right to share all their projects with the world. It’s one thing to share a very young child’s creative endeavors and another to share a young man’s aspirations. Occasionally, I will mention big events in my monthly updates, though. In addition, there’s already enough here to complete part of my mission for this blog: to help you become better mentors to your children. No matter how old your children are, you can support them the same way: provide the space, tools, time, and listen, listen, listen. In addition, you can become the role model that you hope your children will emulate. As I continue writing on this blog, I will focus on what I’m learning, doing, and passing on to my children.
Your comments and questions keep me going, so please introduce yourself. I hope you’ll stay awhile.
~ Shelli Bond Pabis