I love this simple statement, credited to Aristotle, because it truly embodies the way I feel about education in general. I feel that if you take a child's natural inclination to learn, cultivate that inclination into desire for knowledge with engaging concepts, then you will have a lifelong learner. Isn't that the purpose of education? Or at least, shouldn't it be the purpose?
When my husband and I did the research and found that Common Core, and everything that it entails, would not be beneficial for our kids(or any for that matter), and made the wonderful, exciting, and terrifying decision to homeschool, I was completely unsure how to proceed. I knew that we would have the summer to figure out what approach we would take. What I did not know was how many choices homeschoolers actually have, in comparison with our public/private school counterparts.
Thousands, literally thousands, of curriculum options.
It's enough to make the head spin!
So rather than decide on one style, one curriculum, I cobbled together a lot of free resources that were not common core aligned, and we purchased First Form Latin from a good friend. I printed more pieces of paper in the first few months than I care to count. It was time-consuming, and really not as efficient for me as other options would prove.
The most important thing I learned from all this work, was how my kids learn best. This lesson was worth every bit of paper, ink and time I spent because it allowed me the instant adjustments that are so necessary when you're first starting your homeschool journey. The internet is a Godsend for new and veteran homeschoolers!!
[tweetthis]The most important thing I learned ... was how my kids learn best.[/tweetthis]
I found that though my boys may be genetically identical, their learnings styles are vastly different. One is perfectly happy writing, using language and reading to learn, the other loves using visual resources to learn. One can sit still for extended periods of time, the other must be moving ... always.
So over the course of that first year, I adjusted, added, subtracted and we tried out lots of ideas and came up with something that would work for everyone. For Latin, we use a classical approach, for English, Charlotte Mason wins out. Math is also Charlotte Mason with a dash of classical. It goes on like this, with activities and projects added that can highlight each boy's preferred learning mode. They watch re-runs of Beakman's World for science ideas to add to what we do with Nancy Larson Science because they love, and I mean love, science, and Nancy Larson helps grow that love.
This flexibility, and the passion of loving parents, is the true strength of homeschool.
We're getting ready to start our second year of homeschool, David & Daniel have grown in ways I would never have foreseen, and they have become joyful learners. The latter is, for me, my crowning achievement, because without that joyful approach to learning, it's just facts and figures. If they don't feel that way about learning when they grow up and move out, they won't want to continue learning. They may go to college, because it's what society expects of them, not because it will bring new avenues of learning. This is the last thing I want for them!
I have sought to nurture their innate desire for knowledge and growth because it is right that I do so. As a mom, as their mom, I am uniquely gifted with the duty and privilege of raising future adults.
Yes, future adults, not kids. They won't be little forever, and while I treasure this time with them, I know that they should each become their own person.