Some people homeschool for a temporary period of time to get their kids through a certain transition, maybe to a certain age. I think the more important question isn’t if it’s okay to homeschool temporarily, but how to effectively use your time homsechooling to prepare your students. Ask yourself, “Does it matter how I approach education?”
On one hand, homeschooling briefly is fine however you do it. Education is education. All you want to do is the right things, especially around the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic.
But I’d suggest figuring out specifically how to homeschool your children. Don’t view it as a filler until they get into school. Be intentional. Your strategy, firstly, depends on where you’re going to put them. What are you getting them ready for? So if you begin with the end in mind, and look at the school where you want to enroll them, figure out what they’ll need to know to enter it (especially with private schools). You’ll want to view homeschool as the method of getting them up to speed for the level that they’re entering. Figure out what they need by the time they enter that grade and then work backwards to craft your game plan.
Regardless of whether you change your strategy or not, your focus should be on constant improvement. You’re dealing with education as a system in your home. You’ll want to measure, “Are we doing better this week than we did last week? Are we doing better this month than we did last month? Is my student doing better in these subjects compared to past struggles?” Education is an ongoing game.
Hope that helps,
Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand
I’m going to tell you off the bat: you cannot cover everything with the proliferation of knowledge available right now. There’s no way to do it. If you try to compete with the school system, you’ll kill yourself because they have lots of teachers, facilities, resources, and governmental rules telling them to cover all these subjects. Schools have to find ways to fill up their students entire day with a litany of subjects, electives, etc. to create a perfect balance of information. Your child does not need to be balanced. They do not need to know everything. You know what your child needs. Your child needs skills. If you make education about skill development so that your students are able to teach themselves, then they can learn all the other stuff whenever they need it.
Reading, writing, and math are incredible skills.
Reading is the gateway to acquiring knowledge from the rest of the world through literature, history, philosophy, and so on.
Writing produces clear thinking and communication.
Math helps with problem-solving, understanding absolutes, understanding cause-and-effect, understanding logic.
These three skills are the foundation for understanding any subject. Every subject requires your ability to absorb data, comprehend its logic and principles, and then communicate what you’ve learned to other people. These skills are the classical model of education.
You really don’t have to cover everything. Don’t prioritize knowledge. Knowledge keeps piling up. There’s no end to things we could know. Instead, prioritize skills, and you’ll wind up on target with how much to teach in your homeschooling.
What curriculum should I use for homeschooling?
Well, there are zillions of options out there. I would say the right question is probably not, “What curriculum should I get?” Homeschooling ranges from having no curriculum at all, to bare-bones curriculums, to very thorough, planned-out curriculums. But the question I suggest asking yourself is, “What am I trying to accomplish in homeschooling?”
The nature of what you want to do is going to dictate something about your curriculum. What I recommend, as you look at curriculums, is that you go in the direction that we did. We found a curriculum where we could trade in things that we cared about. Some homeschooling curriculums are all videos and all laid out. The pens are in the boxes, everything’s done for you. and it’s just a mechanical thing. You’re essentially having a school come into your home and teach your child their way. If you’re insecure, or you really believe in that type of planned-out curriculum, or if it’s your denominational orientation, then go for it. That type is schooling will be okay. But what we used with our kids was a system called the Robinson Curriculum.
What we liked about the Robinson Curriculum is that it had an overall scope and sequence that organized around the most essential skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic. But inside of that we could adapt what we did with math, which books we read, and how we approached writing. For example, we would integrate Saxon math into the math section or our Writing Course into the writing section for our children’s daily schooling. That kind of flexibility allowed us to adjust things as we learned what worked with the kids and what didn’t.
When you’re thinking about curriculum you really want to think about what you’re trying to accomplish—and then go out there and look around and find what seems to be a match for you. My personal conviction is that you want a curriculum that leaves enough flexibility where you can adapt things a little bit to your unique situation, instead of potentially becoming enslaved to a learning factory in a box.
It is such a common problem; families can ‘fight’ around holidays. I suppose among the most common things moms say (especially with family members who are older and just visiting) is, “Can’t we get along for just one day?”
I want to share an idea you can experiment with as you approach holiday gatherings; but first, let’s think about conflict. What is conflict? Well, it’s when two people disagree…but in particular, they are each attempting to persuade or convince one another about their own view. Almost without exception this comes down to one word; OPINION.
Liberal/Conservative, homeschool or not, religious views, and ideas about health or parenting…all these things are dry brush for the fire of fighting. Of course, if other people weren’t so stupid, things would be fine 😉
So, what do you do? Good communication follows Steven Covey’s thought to ‘First Understand, then Be Understood’. I’ve found something even better is to First Understand, then Disagree. It is powerful because it really targets the disagreement. How often are people disagreeing about things they agree about because they are assuming something about the other person’s view? All the time.
Here’s the experiment— Give up your opinions for one day. Instead, why not simply seek to understand someone else’s view without offering your opinion? Here’s how it might look,
No, you don’t get to explain why they are wrong or where their ‘facts’ are off-base. You simply want to create an environment to hear their own thinking. In my experience, people will often tweak their own view as they express it out loud.
As we teach in our communication course (and in our book, GLAEN), it takes two to say yes, and one to say no. If you don’t argue your opinion, there simply can’t be an argument.
It’s only for one day and it gives you the opportunity to practice the virtue of careful and sincere listening. I think you’ll pleasantly be shocked at what a listening environment will do. Here are a couple of final suggestion:
Of course, your family and friends may never have conflict (but I doubt it).In the meantime, Happy Holidays!
Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand
P.S. Notice – This is how we talk to small children (we listen).
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