I’m often asked which curricula we use by other homeschool moms. I’m asked about our schedule. I’m asked about high school and transcripts. I’m asked about my kids’ behavior and attitudes.
Lately, I’ve tried to steer clear of conversations like these because we just seem to do things so differently.
Most people just aren’t willing or ready to hear our truth. They don’t really want to make any changes. They want an easy fix.
They want some miracle for their kids to be perfectly obedient, great readers, math whizzes, to ace their SAT/ACT.
They don’t want a relationship with their kids.
They don’t want to work and learn alongside their kids.
I’ve had parents flat out tell me that they quit Latin because they certainly don’t want to learn it with their kids and it was impossible for the kids to do alone.
It seems that so many parents want to recreate school at home. To me, that’s not homeschooling. It’s a waste of time and resources. It creates stress.
What Does School Really Teach Children?
- Truth comes from Authority.
- Intelligence is the ability to remember and repeat.
- Accurate memory and repetition are rewarded.
- Noncompliance is punished.
- Conform: Intellectually and socially.
We love our freedom to learn anything whenever we want.
I love seeing the uninhibited joy my kids exhibit as they hum a Gloria Estefan song during science notebooking or apply fraction math during cooking and baking.
I love the natural rhythms of our lives as the kids and I learn together. See our schedule here.
We don’t separate our lives into contrived courses like home economics or anything. We just work together to do everything that needs to be done. The kids love to be in the kitchen, learning and working together. We all understand the less desirable chores must be done for a smoothly working household.
How we learn:
They were a waste of time, took up loads of printer ink, and we ran out of storage room for their “portfolios.” We’d rather not do busy work anymore.
We streamlined curricula.
The most important curricula? Love and understanding. I want my children to have passion for learning, not held down to a scripted textbook or program. And I absolutely loathe computer curricula. It’s lazy. I do have a very few standards for my kids, but overall, we are very relaxed. I want them to complete Latin, and for the most part, they enjoy it. I learn alongside them. We have all these science textbooks and living books and they really are quite lovely, so we’re working through them. Bible workbooks are fun and offer a basis for great conversation. I want my kids to be Bible literate and comprehensive of apologetics. Math workbooks keep them on track and eliminate any gaps, and they go at their own pace. So what if my 6 year old is completing a 2nd grade workbook? High school credits have to be earned and tracked. We work towards mastery and my eldest is 16 and already graduating in a couple months.
We canceled organized sports and outside lessons.
The lessons became a waste of time and money. There was little progress in piano or guitar. Kids sports are just expensive controlled play time.
Books outweigh screentime.
We have an extensive book collection. I keep our coffee table covered with stacks of books pertaining to our time period in history that we learn each month. Each of us is always reading a book for fun. While we do have iPad minis, and spend time watching Netflix and playing games, the book time outweighs the screentime.
We don’t use incentive programs to motivate our kids. They’re worthless and train the authority more than the child. I never could remember the stupid stickers. Rewards confuse my kids. They ask why they get something for doing what they should do anyway. Kids under reward systems become adults with no self-control or intrinsic motivation.
If we don’t do rewards, we shouldn’t do punishments either. Natural consequences teach way more than external punishments. Time outs, spanking, restrictions, and taking away gifts or privileges are controlling and cruel. These actions only teach children that they are unloved, isolated, worthless, disrespected, captive. I prefer to be proactive and discuss situations with our kids.
Few schedule controls.
Children know when they’re hungry or tired. They can regulate their body’s needs.
I provide a hot breakfast in the mornings, help prepare lunches when they say they’re hungry, and cook dinners in the evenings. Usually, everyone eats meals together, but sometimes, someone isn’t ready or doesn’t like a food, so they’re welcome to make a sandwich or wait until later. I don’t schedule snacks, but we always have fruit, nuts, yogurt, leftovers, and more available.
We don’t have set bedtimes, but we recommend that the middle girls go to bed by 10 so they get enough sleep.
Our son usually falls asleep during bedtime reading.
Our teen stays up as late as she wants and sleeps later in the mornings. She has learned that she should go to bed earlier on the evenings before a work day.
Lots of free play time.
The kids get to choose when they complete their workbooks and they prefer to get those completed quickly so they have plenty of free play time. They use their free time to read, play on their iPads, create games with their toys, building and creating. I encourage lots of outside time, except when it is bitterly cold out.
The best supplies.
I try to provide the best supplies for my kids to create and build. They love learning about electricity, magnets, light, and pulleys and we buy science kits with their birthday and Christmas money. They love doing art with coloring pencils and paints. I don’t bother with cheap generic brands. They should be trusted with professional products and they don’t cost too much more.
We make it a priority to travel to places we learn about in history and literature. It’s super important to us to experience travel and we make sacrifices in order to afford these trips. The kids remember these trips way more than a video or book.
- Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela J. Hanscom
- The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups by Leonard Sax
- A Disease Called Childhood: Why ADHD Became an American Epidemic by Marilyn Wedge
- Teach Your Own: The Indispensable Guide to Living and Learning with Children at Home by John Holt
- Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn
- Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray
- Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
- Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne with Lisa M. Ross
- Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy
- Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head by Carla Hannaford
- 8 Great Smarts: Discover and Nurture Your Child’s Intelligences by Kathy Koch