Many years ago, we started homeschooling because we just couldn’t see putting our children into an institution like school. Outwardly, I did quite well in private school growing up, but inwardly, I had not been happy there. The idea of putting my kids in that situation was horrifying. However, homeschooling was quite a leap of faith!
Discovering the Right Homeschooling Style
We started by trying “school at home” with a really cool Waldorf curriculum. We had trouble with the instructions to go outside and observe the animals in our back yard. There simply weren’t any! After a lot of trial and error, we ended up with a blend of unschooling supplemented with classes. We found classes offered or organized by other members in our homeschool community, or we organized classes ourselves. Over the years, we’ve also seen a variety of learning and resource centers spring up to meet the needs of homeschooling families.
The beauty of this approach is that we could really follow our kids interests. We allowed them to drop things that didn’t interest them and focus on the things that did. This led to lots of field trips, camping trips and Pokémon expeditions! We have a philosophy of exposing the kids to as many things as possible, which occasionally means insisting on trying new things.
The fear is always that somehow they won’t develop like they need to, that they will never learn math. But I remember one day coming downstairs and asking my oldest what he was doing. He was sitting with paper and pencil and looking at a book. “I am working on some long division.” he replied, “I just wanted to go over it.”
My oldest is now a college graduate and reads Shakespeare for fun. I like Shakespeare but with all my private school education, I don’t do that! My second oldest follows several history podcasts and successfully teaches himself any computer program he is not familiar with, and so on.
Not only did they learn what they needed to know while homeschooling, our children developed a love of learning that will follow them throughout their lives. The light in their eyes, their curiosity and their desire to continue to learn have made the whole journey worthwhile.
I know this is titled “Homeschooling: A Dad’s Perspective,” but really, it’s a summary of my homeschooling experience so far…and I happen to be a Dad!