Welcome to my homeschool blog, which offers insights into loving learning, loving your family, loving history, loving homeschooling, and enjoying your life! With your cup of coffee in hand, take a break to laugh with me, to have your heart refreshed, to be reminded of how cool your kids really are, and to consider the amazing adventure of being a homeschool mom. AND, if you are interested in the History Revealed curriculum, be sure to check out my Teaching Tips!

Freedom to Make It Fit

curriculumAs homeschoolers, we have a freedom to give all of our kids a customized education—one that meets their specific needs. But what does that mean? How does that work? And is it really possible (given your busy life)? That’s what we want to talk about today.

These are three areas in which you can really customize an education to fit your kids:

  1. Make curriculum your servant, not your master;
  2. If your kids are in a co-op or private school, be an active, engaged partner with the teacher;
  3. Be flexible when it comes to where, when, and how long.
Make Curriculum Your Servant, not Your Master
As a curriculum writer myself, I am very aware that most curriculums can seem like a list of steps that must be slavishly followed in order to “learn” the subject:
Read this page.
Answer that question.
Take this test.

But, from your own experience as a student, you know that just because you read the page, answered the question, and took the test, it doesn’t mean you actually LEARNED it, right? So, we don’t want to keep doing the same thing with our kids. Instead, you need to evaluate the curriculum you are using, and make it a tool—not a tyrant. For help in evaluating a curriculum, we have a guide, “Choosing the Perfect Curriculum,” on our website. To read it, click here.

If your child doesn’t understand something in the curriculum, take the time needed to answer the questions, solve the problems, find solutions. You don’t have to finish the book by the end of the year—in fact, in many cases, you don’t need to finish the book at all. The goal is actually to help your child LEARN. Whatever supports that goal is good, whatever doesn’t can be discarded.

If Your Kids are in a Co-op or Private School, be an Active, Engaged Partner with the Teacher
No one knows your kids as well as you do. That means that even if you have them in a “class” somewhere, you still have the freedom (and responsibility) to be involved in their education—in customizing the experience so it fits them. If your child is struggling, find out why. Ask questions, then listen to your kids long enough to find out what really is their concern. Is it something that happens in the classroom? Is it their experience with the teacher or the other students? Is it the homework? Is the academic level beyond them at this point? Then, based on what you discover, work with the teacher to find solutions.

Be Flexible When it Comes to Where, When, and How Long
Part of the freedom to homeschool means that it doesn’t have to look like school. Your kids can have a GREAT education studying outside, in the kitchen, on the couch, on the floor, on an exercise ball, standing up. . . So many possibilities!!

They can learn in the early morning, in the late morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, even at night—whatever works best depending on their age, their natural body rhythms, and your family’s schedule.

When it comes to “how long,” for young students, less is more. Have short times of studying together. When they are tired, they are done.

For older students, how long to study is variable, depending on what they are learning. They can study in short, intense bursts. They can do an art project that lasts all weekend. They can write and walk away, then come back and write some more, then walk away again. (That’s what professional writers often do!) They can spend hours doing a science experiment or building a stage for a theater production. They can practice musical instruments for 30 minutes or 4 hours, depending on their level and interests. All of this is possible when they homeschool.

There is SO much freedom to customize your children’s education when you homeschool!

Remember, stay relational!

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