Published: 09/21/2011 by Susan Kilbride
Looking back at my favorite homeschooling moments, I find that they are the times when my son’s eyes lit up with excitement over a new discovery or understanding; such as the time we were walking down the street in Boston and I pointed out the Old North Church to him. We had just finished studying the American Revolution. His eyes got wide and he said “Really, it’s the Old North Church?!! He turned to my husband and called out, “Daddy, look, it’s The Old North Church!” To be able to generate that excitement in him about learning was exactly why I started homeschooling. I’ve seen that excitement when he was looking at a smear of toothpaste under a microscope and said, “Mommy, there’s Diatoms in here!” And I’ll never forget when he was about four years old and he poked his head out of the crawl-through digestive system we had made and said, “And now I’m poop!” How lucky we homeschoolers are to be able to share such moments of discovery with our children. And how lucky our children are to be able to learn in such rich environments. Homeschoolers have so many opportunities that aren’t available to other children. How many schooled children do you know have the chance to participate in a medieval festival complete with archery and jousting games? Or were able to take scuba lessons and learn about the ocean first-hand?
Of course, not all of our homeschooling moments have been good. There have been times when I’ve questioned our decision to homeschool and wondered if we’re doing the right thing; especially in the early days when it was difficult to get my son to sit down and do his math! But then I remembered having to do the exact same thing with my stepsons who went to public school, and realized that I’d be having the same arguments no matter which way we schooled him (except perhaps if we’d chosen unschooling, but that choice didn’t feel right to us). Now days those arguments are a thing of the past and my son sits down to do his math without even thinking about it. It was just something we had to go through, and hopefully my son has learned a valuable lesson about how to get a job done even if you don’t want to do it.
We chose to not use a set curriculum for homeschooling, but to use a different method for each subject. For example, my son uses Saxon for his math, unit studies that I designed for science and history, and various workbooks for grammar. Being flexible works well for us and if one method isn’t working out, we can always switch to another. That is one of the beauties of homeschooling—that you can tailor your studies to your child’s needs and interests. Schools, because they have to teach a larger number of children, just can’t do that as well as a homeschooling parent can.
We’re in the middle of our homeschooling years now...I can see an end in sight and it’s bittersweet. Homeschooling my son has been the most incredible experience of my life; one I will always treasure and be grateful for. I hope you all have as much fun homeschooling your children as I have. And if you’re going through a rough patch and having sleepless nights wondering if you’ve made the right decision, don’t worry; you have.
Susan Kilbride, author of “Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers
Link to a free plant unit from Sue’s book:
Link to a free atoms & molecules unit from Sue’s book: