Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why Your Homeschool Should Not Look Like Mine

I live in Africa.  Do you?

I am a former teacher.  Are you?

I am finishing my PhD in Special Education.  Are you?

I have two little girls, ages 2 and 4.  Do you?

My oldest attends Pre-K in the morning for social reasons, but since she is several months ahead of her peers academically, I teach her in the afternoons.  Is this your situation?

I am an eclectic teacher and using interest-based learning techniques, Montessori concepts, Charlotte Mason ideas and many others.  Do you?

I like messy play, messy art projects, and messy learning.  Do you?

I like to create my own activities for teaching instead of using a curriculum.  Do you?

I am still not sure what our long-term education plans are for our children.  Are you?

Did you answer yes to all of those questions?  My guess is no.  If you did say "yes" to all, there is a chance that our homeschools may look a bit alike.  However, you and I are still different people.  Our children are different.  Our lives are different.  Our personalities, needs, abilities, desires are different.  What works for me may not work for you.  

What works for you may not work for me. That is okay.  In fact, it is wonderful.  God made us unique and we need to embrace that.

Too often, I see parents trying to emulate what other parents are doing.  As homeschoolers, we spend hours perusing the internet to find ideas for teaching our children.  We see those bloggers that everyone loves (and I love them too!) and we want to be just like them.  We try to structure our homeschools to look like theirs.  We use the same curriculums that they recommend (or they make) and we try their organizational and home management systems.

And we fail.  We can't figure out why it seems to work so well for them and it does not work for us.

Their systems do not work for us, because we are different.  While we can (and probably should) incorporate ideas we get from others into our homeschooling, we need to ensure that our homeschools and our homes are suited to our unique needs, interests, and situations.  We are different and our homeschools should reflect that.  

God has a unique plan for my family that is different from the plan He has for your family or the plan He has for any of those fabulous SuperMom bloggers.  Let's trust that God will lead our homeschools in the right direction and follow His lead for teaching our children and managing our homes instead of trying to follow the lead of others.  When we do, we will be successful (and happier) homeschoolers!

Marla is a former special education teacher, current PhD student, university instructor, and stay-at-home mom of two little girls (ages 2 and 4).  She blogs about raising and teaching her children at Marla's Motherhood Musings and her family's experiences living in Zambia at Our Life in Lusaka.

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