For our very first installment of I can't tell you how you should do it but I can tell you how we do it I am actually going to be starting at #13:
You don't have to be a homeschooler to freeschool.
While freeschooling was birthed from the idea that homeschooling doesn't have to be expensive it has since morphed into a way of life. A way of life that I believe doesn't require one to homeschool.
Our lifestyle, being what it is, a lot of what I share naturally seems geared towards homeschoolers. But the freeschooling lifestyle is about so much more than how to teach math. It is about cultivating an environment in our home that creates space for learning. We're making space to learn how to seek knowledge. We value the art of troubleshooting. We work hard at listening to each other's needs and our own. We are retraining ourselves to see the value in the process as much if not more than the final product. Freeschooling is a way of life.
When kids are interested and engaged not only are they retaining more knowledge they are associating good feelings with whatever they're learning. This is important later when they encounter the topic again. Engaging our kids when they're ready and taking the pressure off when they're not ready is a gift we can give them.
There are so many opportunities to learn in everyday life. Writing a grocery list is spelling. Typing up an email to thank grandma for a recipe is language arts. Cooking and baking are math and science.
When one of our kids expresses an interest in a topic we jump on the opportunity to engage and dig a little deeper into whatever they're exploring. If that means that all of the sudden our kitchen counter becomes the science lab then so be it. The learning opportunities are endless. Sometimes they appear like a bright neon sign and other times we have to put in a little effort to create them. Nonetheless the rich learning experiences are there waiting for us.
We are currently in the midst of a pandemic which has essentially forced all schools to close and has forced kids to do school at home. School at home (distance learning) is not homeschooling. I won't go into all the reasons why I think that is so or at least I won't do that right now but if you are reading this and you are managing your child's distance learning I just want you to know that what you're doing is hard. I can only begin to imagine that there must be an unspoken pressure to perform to a certain standard and achieve more than is actually necessary. Hang in there. I see you.
You know the silver lining of having kids home from school is that you may have the opportunity to spend more time with them now than ever before. While this can be quite the difficult adjustment for everyone it is a unique opportunity to get to learn right along side your child in ways maybe you wouldn't otherwise get to experience.
Just because your child has a teacher and a principal to answer to does not mean they get to decide what is best for your child. You were your child's very first teacher and while you may not be the one to teach them long division you are still teaching them. You are teaching them how to create good habits and how to take care of themselves. You are teaching them to be a whole person. No matter how good the teacher is (I see you teachers out there doing amazing things) these are things that can never be taught in a classroom. You're teaching them even when you don't realize it. When you're in that zoom meeting, when you're doing yard work, when you're paying bills… you are teaching them.
Many people often tell me I love my kids but I could never have enough patience to homeschool them or they say I'm just not a good teacher. Well good news you don't have to be a good teacher and you don't need to have all the patience in the world. What you need you already have. The love you have for your child and the desire you have to help them succeed is all you need.
Maybe homeschooling your kids isn't in the cards, not your thing, or just 100% out of the equation - that's cool. I'm not here to tell you homeschooling is the only way to do it because it isn't but what I will say is that if leaving the entirety of the education of your children up to the system is something you're just not down with then we just might have more in common than you might think. And while you may not be able to relate to some of what I have to talk about I hope you'll stick around and explore what the freeschooling lifestyle really means to us. And if you're on the fence about trying out the homeschool thing then let's connect.