One of the things about living this fluid life we live, that includes learning at home with the kids, is the barrage of questions people ask. The same questions. Over. And over. And over.
I don’t mind most questions. I am happy to share what our learning looks like. No two days look the same, but there is a general rhythm. When I share what our days looks like, then it at least let’s folks know there is a different way to look at learning – one that does not necessarily include a government-issue desk and randomly selected curricula and work days.
So, what does our day look like? Well, it looks something like this most days…
No, Reade doesn’t have the sewing machine out every day or even many days. No, the girls are not pouring over American Girl catalogs every day. Just most days. And, well, Sawyer does draw a lot most every day. But this is not meant to be the way our days look. Our days are generally easy.
Kids wake up on their own and eat breakfast that I made unless they wake up way late and I couldn’t stand not to clean up the kitchen yet. Those days they can make themselves a bowl of cereal or a sandwich. Even the six year old can open a jug or jar.
Then they just kind of are. Like now. The older two typically start their lessons on their own about mid-morning, Reade often earlier and the little ones play. I read a book or two aloud and then nudge them to pull out their math, but I rarely make them. My Husband, who will probably read this in the next week might cringe. He knows, but, well, it’s different in print. I answer their questions. They might watch 6 straight episodes of Walking with Giants or The History of Us or Pawn Stars. You, know. Educational TV. They just kind of live their days.
Well, how do they know what they need to learn? They just do. Rebekah Anne just knows she needs to read aloud to me and does most days now. I remind them to practice piano, but I can’t do it for them nor chain them to the seat, so why fight? I review phonograms with Sawyer and Laura Lea and Rebekah Anne maybe a few times a month. The truth is, until my kids are ready and want to learn to read, why would I fight it? Sure, they can memorize words and spit them back for a test. We did that route early on in our learning. It was too much about a fight than it was about the joy of being together. Isn’t that why we’re learning together anyways? To learn.
They see me cook, clean, and create. They often ask to help. More with the cooking and creating than the cleaning. But my kids DO know how to scrub a toilet, gather trash, sweep, dust, clean cabinet fronts and windows. They just rarely seek those. They are learning. In fact, I would venture to suggest that our children can live life more easily, fully, and independently than many kids who relax in those government-issue desks much of their childhood.
Well, how will I know my kids can “graduate”? Well, they will graduate when my Husband and I say they can graduate. Our choice would be no more random than that selected by the state. However… our goal is not to match the state. Our goal is to help them prepare themselves for a future of their choosing. By about age 10 or 11, I expect the kids to be self-taught. And I expect them to progress at a pace that they want. For example, Reade, who is 13 knows that he has certain course expectations and he may progress through them as quickly or as slowly as he wishes, but that I will not give him anything. He must earn a “paper.” A paper being what a college would want to see. Maybe he’ll earn it at 15. Maybe he’ll earn it at 22. I don’t know. That’s not up to us. It is his choice.
And that’s the answer that most find puzzling.
And the question I find most puzzling?
“What about socialization?”
Have you met my kids?