How do you homeschool with everything else you have going on in your life? This is one of the most common questions I get when people learn that I homeschool all my children. When most people think of homeschooling, they think of school at home. They imagine kids at home sitting in front of a desk with me teaching at the chalkboard. Don’t get me wrong, when I first started my homeschooling journey, that is precisely what I thought, and that is exactly what I did. However, like many things in life, as I grew and matured in my homeschooling journey, I realized that homeschooling really meant schooling from the heart.
Like most things in life, I realized you learn from experiencing, doing, watching others do, trying and failing, and sometimes from great teachers. Schooling encompasses so much more than just sitting at a desk.
So as we prepared to move to a new city, I had to once again readjust how we would school from the heart. I had to listen to my kids, pay attention to the things in their hearts (besides Roblox), and figure out how to nurture them so they could learn from them. I realized art was speaking to several of them. They found peace, joy, and creativity in creating things by building, drawing, painting, coloring, or creating.
Building things from Legos and Kits is one of the things they love to do. Sometimes they prefer access to tons of legos and create something from their imaginations. Other times they like to have instructions and see a pictures become real life. The same applies to drawing and painting. But how is this schooling? How are they learning math, reading, writing, or anything? Don’t they need books, programs, guidance, and structure? I am glad you asked.
Let’s start with math. When is the last time you have used algebra, geometry, or any kind of math? Most of us will probably give examples of basic math, counting money, adding things to create a budget, and maybe measuring something. However, most of us probably can’t remember the last time we used geometry or algebra. Well, if you’ve hung a gallery wall and made sure your photos were equally hung, laid any kind of flooring in your house, did any interior design, or used directions without google maps, then guess what, my friend, you have used geometry. I was that kid that would raise my hand in geometry and algebra and ask the teacher when would I use this in my life, and often find myself in the principal’s office for this “disruption” of the class. Still, I remember my geometry teacher graciously telling me that if I ever got to own a house and wanted to put hardwood floors in, I would need to know geometry. I proudly announced I would hire someone to do it! I was fortunate to own a house and lay hardwood floors, but I didn’t hire someone. I married someone who could do it. The plot twist is that someone never took geometry!
How did my husband know how to lay hardwood floors, and how could he do it with such precision and never take a geometry class? He was a creator as a child, a doer, and a hands-on learner. He was the kid that followed his dad around, watching every move he made and asking if he could help. Wanting to play with his tools. He loved to play with Legos and build model cars. In his adulthood, puzzles are one of his favorite pastimes. He didn’t realize he was doing geometry when he worked side by side with his dad, measured something, built a model car, or painted something. Can he give you a formula? Probably not, but can he do it for you or teach you how? Absolutely!
Let’s talk about algebra. When was the last time you used algebra? Well, if you’ve cooked, done any budgeting, did your taxes, did any landscaping, or played a sport, you’ve used algebra unknowingly. As a homemaker and small business owner, I use algebra quite frequently. I follow recipes, create recipes, budget for my family and our business, look at profits and losses, etc. I do all these things without using a single algebra formula. In fact, the only formula I remember from algebra is PEMDAS, and I can’t tell you the last time I used that in real life, except when helping my kids complete a homework assignment. The reality is I loved cooking as a kid. I loved budgeting and playing with money. My granny would give me her old checkbooks, and I would write checks and budget the checkbook for hours. It was so much fun for me. She was a nurse, and she would bring home IV bags for me to play with, and I would hook my cabbage patch kids up to them and create “formulas” on how much dosage to give them. In fact, this was one of my show and tell projects as a kid. All of this was me doing algebra without even knowing that’s what it was.
How does this apply to my children and our heart schooling today? Once again, I am glad you asked. Building kits provide reading fundamentals. They must follow instructions, use critical thinking, memorize, and, more importantly, read. This same activity uses geometry and algebra skills; they must use spatial visualization and formulas to get the correct measurements and pieces to line up correctly. While not doing physical writing or activities, they passively learn writing skills by reading the instructions. Although, I could ask them to write about their building experience, describe the item they built, create a for-sale ad, etc., to provide physical writing activities. Through doing art and creative play, my children have been able to continue their learning without the constraints of a desk and traditional education. I have eased my stress levels as their mother and teacher during this transitional time by providing them with fun, easy-going, yet challenging projects. It’s a win for all parties involved.
Seeing their projects come to life is a tangible and, in my opinion, way more sustainable school project than writing a paper or passing an exam.
As my son finished building his model of the Titanic, he marveled at the idea that this model could and probably will be in his family for generations. We talked about how in 100 years, his great great great grandchildren would tell stories about how their grandfather built this Titanic with his own hands when he was 12 years old. The idea of this made his heart swell with pride and joy. I don’t know about you, but none of my 6th-grade projects are being passed down for generations.
Ok, sure, this all sounds wonderful, but you didn’t answer my question. How exactly are you homeschooling them with everything going on in your life?
I’m not! By providing my kids with the opportunity to do things that make their hearts happy and allow them to follow passions that are brewing inside of them, I am letting my kids lead what they want to do. By removing myself, my thoughts, limiting beliefs, social norms, and social constraints and allowing them to learn through existing and experiencing, I am teaching them that following their hearts will always lead them where they need to be.
They will learn all they need to know on the journey. Their passions will always lead to success.
Success is a heart thing.
It’s perspective and relative to the person who gives it meaning. You don’t need to know the formulas to build Rome; you only need passion, desire, courage, and will.