A while back i attended CHEA, you can read about my experience here. I wanted to finish touching on with a few key points I didn’t talk about before.
The second class i had taken that day was on the logistics of homeschooling. It was centered around record keeping and lesson planning. However, the first thing the teachers (a married couple) did was challenge us to write down our education plan for our family. I thought this was especially neat and i hope to sit down and do it soon with my husband. They said its important to understand the who, what, where, why, and how of your educational plan and beliefs before you begin, so that on the days when you get discouraged you will have something to look back on and remember why you’re doing this. I hadn’t thought about those discouraging days but I know in a culture that values different things than I do those days will probably occur. It would be foolish to think I can homeschool my kids all through without once being asked why I do what I do, or to hear someone judge me for doing what I hope to do.
Since this class was focused on the paperwork aspect of homeschooling, we spent time talking about what the state of california requires, one form of which is an attendance record. I found this one interesting, the way our instructor approached it challenged my few of instructional minutes. Having grown up in the public school i was very aware that a certain number of minutes is required each year. There are 180 days in a school year and each minute of each of those days is accounted for. If by chance say the school had to close for a week, that was a weeks worth of minutes lost and if your school year isn’t padded with minutes then you are going to lose a day off or have days tacked to the end of your year. (that’s a big deal to a kid, who wants to miss out on summer??!) As a homeschool however there is no required number of minutes or days. And there is no monday-friday 8-3 limit on your schedule. homeschooling can occur at any time, any day of the week. If say bible is one of your subjects that is offered, well then on sunday when you attend church that could count as one of your school days. If you go to grandmas and you bake all day, that can count as a day of school, you learned some home ech after all. This blew my mind, school wasn’t just about math, literature, history. It was about the things we do in day-to-day life. We do PE when we play extracurricular sports, we get our bible study at church, we can get math in as we learn to measure while cooking with grandma. Heck grandpa can give a history lesson as he tells his old war stories, and about the great depression. We can even study art on our family vacation to the museum. How neat is that, school all day everyday, but in an unforced way. This idea is changing how I view my day with my little ones. Rather than just seeing the minutes as playtime and getting through the day I’m starting to see them as educational opportunities.
The last class I took that day was strictly on books for little ones. It was a great class & the instructor talked a lot about different books that are great for different age groups. One of the most important things she said was that if you don’t like reading the book to your child, they won’t like listening. This has really helped me to discern what books go on the shelves for my boys. I now make sure before we buy or keep a book that it’s a book I will want to read to them. I love to read, and I want my boys to have a passion for the written word as well, but I can give that gift to them if they don’t see it!
The day as a whole was very powerful, it really challenged me to look at the way my kids are being raised in a different light and really helped me get an idea of how i want to prepare myself and them over the next couple years.