Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Homeschooling Victories ~ following your interests

The homeschooling victory we are celebrating today is the ability to follow your interests and chase down those rabbit trails with glee!

Spring blog hop, homeschooling, delight-directed learning, eclectic education

One of the most fun things about homeschooling is being able to allow our children the time to follow their interests. Their ability to learn about something new is limited only by their imaginations, and our ability to give them school credit for it is vastly different than in a traditional school. We have the freedom to add things together in a way that traditional one-subject classrooms do not have.

We have always followed a Charlotte Mason style of education for our girls, and that continues even today as Arlene is in her senior year of high school. We use short lessons, narration, and living books a much as possible. We have expanded on these ideas over the years and used them for our own benefit. Keeping book work concise and limited, and allowing a lot of time for nature study and outdoor play when our girls were little led to them having a lot of time for field trips. And on those trips we followed their interests as much as possible. 

Basically we field tripped the way through their school years as much as possible. I call this E3 learning: eclectic experiential education. It is hands-on learning at its best because it often immerses them in a new environment while they learn. It allows them to follow their interests and still meet the basic necessary requirements for graduation. A lot of their high school credits were earned away from home. Whether you term it delight-directed learning, unit studies on the go, or E3 learning, it all gives you the flexibility to care more about your child being well-educated than about them being classroom-educated. 

Our girls read a lot, they've always been a regular fixture at our local library. When they were little, if we did not visit each week, the children's librarians would ask what adventures we had been on. When choosing coursework for high school, I often assigned them several smaller, living books, and a lot of hands-on experiments or activities instead of handing them a textbook. One of the hardest lessons for most homeschooling parents to learn is how to relax. How to enjoy the freedom homeschooling offers. Stop stressing yourself and your children out by comparing what they are doing to what someone else is doing. You can meet all of your state's requirements and still have fun!

Both Emily and Arlene have spent several years volunteering at Conner Prairie - a living history museum - where part of their job was to dress  in period appropriate clothing and 'be' a person from Indiana in the 1800's. Arlene's time period is 1863. She is smack-dab in the middle of the Civil War. Her desire to be the best she can at her acting job has spurred her on to study the Civil War beyond anything you might find in a traditional high school textbook. She reads, researches, asks questions of other re-enactors from across the US, and occasionally attends meetings at our local historical society. She took it upon herself to follow that interest in the Civil War and learn more.

Another thing both girls have really enjoyed is the youth spinning program at Conner Prairie. Thanks to their mentor Sue, they've both learned to spin wool and ply yarn well, and Arlene has learned how to be an excellent weaver. They have helped the younger kids learn how to spin and improve their skills. These past two years Arlene has taken a real leadership position in the youth textiles program and devoted extra hours to helping the other youth succeed as well. She even taught me how to use a drop spindle!

Whatever interests your children have, whether it is horses or trucks, photography or zoology, allow them the time to pursue those interests. Follow down those rabbit trails with them - it just might lead to your own Wonderland!

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1 comment:

  1. fantastic... gives me some good ideas for my lad's highschool years (GAH!!! Only two years away!!!)