Thursday, January 26, 2012

What's your homeschooling culture?

So, tell me. How exactly do you homeschool?  I mean, how do you put it all together and do it? Could I have a copy of your schedule? Your lesson plans? Your reading list? Your educational plan? Your typical routine?

Remember back to when you first started homeschooling.  Were these questions ever burning inside of you?  Maybe you didn't come out and ask other homeschooling moms, maybe you did, maybe you asked your mentor and she emailed you entire pdf documents with her year-plans, schedules, booklists, and projected purchases for the upcoming year ... I'm just sayin.   'Cause there comes a point when you have made the decision to home-educate, you've perhaps alligned with a particular philosophy or method, you've even bought curriculum, but then ...

The question of how to do it is particularly poignant when it comes to Leadership Education.  Its based on principles and not on methodology, no how-to manual; precisely because it is not based on a "conveyor-belt" model that characterizes how our schools deliver education today. 

The real question should be: How do I do it?

And whether your philosophy is TJEd, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Classical, etc., ultimately you become the expert of your own homeschool.  You adopt bits of this and that, you feel out the routines and schedules that work for your family, you experiment here and there.  It becomes your personal homeschool culture and develops over time, and that is why no one homeschool looks the same as another.  The only commonalities among homeschoolers seem to be the core values of sanctity of children, and the primacy of the family.  Which is why homeschool culture and family culture go hand in hand.

I have been deeply pondering homeschool and family culture; they are so similar.  Webster's has several definitions for culture, two of them apply here:  "a set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices; also the characteristic features of everyday existence."

Applied, this becomes the way your family or homeschool forms itself - your rules, roles, habits, activities, beliefs, etc.   So ask yourself, what are your special values and beliefs?  How does your family have fun? Are you connected to a faith community? What are your family rules and traditions? How do you parent? What are your family's talents?  What is your family charism - for example do you all have a thing for music? hospitality? service? outdoor life? What about your homeschool?

We have some definite isms, our family.  Later in the evening, after the littles are in bed and the house is quiet, our olders will eventually make their way to hubby and I and we sit and we talk about everything and nothing.  Happens every night without fail.  Another ism, we always always always gather on Sunday evenings for a family Rosary.  Love that.  We should do it more often but I'm thankful for even the Sundays.  And in our homeschool?  We do our work in the mornings.  I protect mornings.  We value a little tea-time and snack on most days.  We value our games, and we value our read-aloud/discussion times.  We value our babies and little ones in the mix of the olders. We value our love of learning. It is our rhythm, our culture.

What about you?

You are so unique. And wonderful.  And an amazing reflection of our Creator. Your family, too, has its own beautiful culture, homeschooling or otherwise.  I want to tell you not to be afraid to step into it and embrace it more fully.  If you're homeschooling, I want to tell you: Have confidence. Be secure. Pray lots. And don't try to follow the crowd because it won't work for you.   

So, tell me. What's your family culture? What's your homeschooling culture?  I'd love to hear.

God bless your week!

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