My husband and I have aimed to teach our children how to learn more than anything else. We felt that it was important to give our children the right tools, guidance and time to dive into their interests in a meaningful way. If it was an interest our son wanted to stay with, we became interested in it too. Some projects have become family endeavors. This lifestyle has been extremely rewarding for us. (It can also be exhausting!) We consider ourselves mentors, and we guide our children down a path most suited to their talents and capabilities.
When the boys were little, I tried my best to create a culture where questions were encouraged, books and art supplies were at our fingertips, building supplies were on hand, and we got outside as often as possible. We still try to get outside as much as possible.
I have used 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. 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!
Watching nature and science documentaries have been a daily ritual in our house, and we offer generous limits on screen time. My boys love Minecraft and other digital games. 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!
Focusing on my child’s interests and going at his pace when it came to academic lessons, I had no idea how my eldest son would perform on his standardized test, which I’m required by state law to give him every few years. When he scored in the 95th percentile on the IOWA assessments at the end of 8th grade, I knew I was doing something right!
Now he is in high school, and he has some serious goals for the future. He’s willing to let me plan his high school classes because he knows he needs a traditional course of study to achieve those goals. We are using a combination of online classes and parent-created courses for high school. I help him balance his work load with his piano practice. (The piano was once a project, and now it’s his chosen vocation.)
We use secular materials to homeschool (one exception is clearly noted on my 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 love to talk with other parents who are considering homeschooling. Send me an email, if you’d like to chat or ask questions about this way of life. See my store, if you’d like to find out how you can do a Zoom chat with me.
Your comments and questions keep me going, so please introduce yourself. I hope you’ll tell me about your homeschool and/or educational questions for your child.
~ Shelli Bond Pabis