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When I researching homeschooling, I was really inspired by the book A Thomas Jefferson Education. I really loved the theme of loving learning and want to instill that in my children. I don’t really follow the Thomas Jefferson Method too much, but there really are some jewels in the book that helped me in preparing to homeschool my kids. My oldest son was always hungry to learn. That’s one of the hugest reasons I chose to homeschool. I saw kids and how much they hated school. I saw his boredom in his preschool class. I didn’t want him to loose the excitement he had for learning.
Each year when we are about to start up a new school year, I get out a notebook and my kids and I brainstorm things that we want to learn about. There are always a few funny things like boogers and toenails. But, for the most part, my kids really have a desire to learn some amazing things- astronomy, foreign languages, learning to read, spelling better, dinosaurs, human body, cooking, etc. I always get a little excited to know what things inspire them. We take these lists and use that to help choose our course of study. It helps me choose our curriculum, focus some of our unit studies, guides me in choosing library books for them. I love for them to be able to explore things that they are passionate about. There are so many things to learn in this world and I want them to love figuring that out.
We usually start school at full force with lots of excitement and enthusiasm. This always fades as we get going, so we need to re-evaluate. Always, some of our curriculum choices aren’t as great as we thought they would be, so we re-arrange. I like to touch base with my kids often on what they are enjoying or what they absolutely hate. If it isn’t fitting a learning style or the needs of a certain child, we can change it- that’s one of the most amazing parts of homeschooling. It is tailor-made for each family and each individual.
We like to do a lot of hands-on learning. We like to play a lot of learning games (links to tons of past posts!). We like to use educational videos, computer programs, experiments, projects, and music to learn in our home. If we feel like we are struggling through our day, sometimes I will just stop what we’re doing and pull out some of these fun resources. Sometimes we take our learning outside. This week we have noticed tons of birds migrating and they have been enjoying the large trees in out backyard. So we got out our binoculars and went out to identify them. The ability to be flexible makes all the difference in our homeschool.
I think it is really good for kids to learn in an engaging way- something that really draws in their attention and excitement. They need things that inspire them to want to find out more! If you teach in way that make learning come ALIVE it stays with them much longer. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy structure and routine as well. Not all of our school is fully hands-on, but it is mixed in regularly and when needed.
I hope that my kids will always be able to find joy in learning and continue to have the desire to learn and grow all of their lives. Learning is a life-long journey, not something that ends when we graduate.