Monday, January 20, 2014

Essential Flexibility

5 Days of Homeschooling EssentialsThe Schoolhouse Review Crew is doing a Five Days of Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop, starting today. As I thought about what I consider essential for homeschooling, one thing that came to mind, that new homeschool moms (and dads) struggle with, is flexibility.

I LOVE to plan! If I had my way, I'd have had all 12 years planned out for my kids' schooling by the time they were 3 years old. THANKFULLY! When we decided to homeschool, when our twins were toddlers, I started by reading everything I could about different homeschool styles. I admit, at that point, I was planning to plan out all 12 years, then and there. . .

But as I researched, I realized how many different ways there are to homeschool, and how important it is to consider your budget, your child's personality, your own personality, your lifestyle . . . so many things! And when I saw all those variables, I realized something . . . an essential part of homeschooling, at least for our family, is being flexible.

Over the years I've learned to consider my children's learning styles (one year that meant having Lexie say memory verses while swinging on the swing in the backyard), interests ("Mommy, can we learn more about wild plants we can eat?"), personality (Ashlyn's a perfectionist, Lexie wants to get things done ASAP . . . ), attention span (that can be 3 hours if we're reading a good read aloud, or 10 minutes if it's something they're not interested in) . . . and all of those things change over time.

Flexibility means recognizing that, even though Ashlyn CAN read to herself, she'd much rather hear it read to her (audiobooks are her friend). It means realizing that, while most kids hate workbooks, Little Bit ADORES them. It means reluctantly agreeing that we won't continue using that review product that *I* loved, but the girls didn't. And, perhaps most surprising of all, it means discussing things with my kids, hearing their opinions and suggestions. Last fall I was at my wits end, I really, really, REALLY wanted to finish up American History this school year, or sooner, so we can move on to World  History. But Ashlyn was heart-broken at the thought of using a more summary-level textbook to accomplish that instead of using tons of read alouds (as we've been doing). We were stuck . . . I wasn't comfortable with dragging American History out for more than this one more year, and she was NOT ok with the (very good) textbook that I was suggesting. . . Then she asked, "why can't we just go as far as World War I, isn't that World History anyway? We'll learn about that in World History, right?" ummm. . . yes, actually you will. AND everything after that is pretty much all jumbled together because communication and transportation had reached a point where what happened in America affected the rest of the world and what happened in the rest of the world affected America. So there was our answer. We'll be wrapping up our pre-WWI American History in another few weeks, and will then move on to Ancient World History, not just "on schedule", but AHEAD of the time frame I was hoping for.

So, as we begin the Essentials of Homeschooling Blog Hop, I just want to encourage you to remember that it's ok to change things that aren't working, and try new ideas. Be flexible!

To see what 80+ other homeschoolers think is essential this week, visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog. Here's some of them:

Lisa @ Our Simple Kinda Life
Tabitha @ The Homeschool Four
Gwen @ Tolivers to Texas
Amy @ Counting Change. . . Again
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Gena @ I Choose Joy!
Adena @ AdenaF
Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue
Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker


Stacie said...

You are right it's important to know your child's learning style. It took me a while to figure my son. I know there are subjects that we can't do long periods of time because he doesn't retain the information. So I am really happy to have figured his learning style out. I love the flexibility that homeschool gives.

AdenaF said...

What a great reminder!! I am a planner too but then when I have to be more flexible I realize that I probably shouldn't even plan the whole year at once, now I try not to (detail) plan more than a semester at a time.

oursimplekindalife said...

Great post! I am big on structure, but have been learning to be more flexible over the course of our homeschool journey. :)

Gena at said...

I love this post! Yes, flexibility is a common word in our homeschool--very essential! :)

Amy said...

Being flexible is so important. I have penciled in more items in a planner than wrote them down in pen for this very reason.