There is research study after research study that has shown for decades that students who are homeschooled tend to achieve higher test scores, are more prepared for college and even get more sleep than students who attend regular school. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that homeschooling is for all children. I am, however, reminded daily that homeschooling IS for ours. Here are a few of those reminders:
One day recently when Elijah and Miranda were working on their individualized math assignments, I noticed that Elijah had begun making up word problems and asking Miranda to solve them. In that moment, I knew that he probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to do that in regular school, so I stopped what we were doing to “flow” with it. Miranda, a primarily visual learner, found it difficult to solve them initially, so I went to the whiteboard and turned his word problems into equations, explaining why we needed to add or to subtract. Then, she was able to solve the problems instantly! And then they returned to completing their math assignments.
We LOVE Mystery Science! Often, Elijah will ask, “What are we doing for Mystery Science today!” The short instructional videos are interactive, and the hands-on activities sometimes literally have us on our toes! (That happened with the “Can You Out Run a Dinosaur?” lesson). Today, we addressed a standard on weather using another mystery science lesson. At the end of the lesson, it was suggested that students go outside (if they could) to act as weather watchers and to map today’s weather. Well, we could go outside, and so we did with chairs, crayons, drawing paper, sunglasses and water bottles in tow!
I love history! I always have – so much so that I accidentally did so well in 7th grade history, that I was moved into the honors class. Anyway, in our homeschool, we read social studies textbooks together. Doing so allows, me to further explain the text, put events into context and to fill in the blanks. For instance, when the 1781 Yorktown victory was mentioned, James Armistead, a black patriot, was not. When I noticed that, I sprang up and grabbed a book I had recently purchased, Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White, to explain to Elijah and Miranda that Armistead was a black patriot and spy who helped to make the Yorktown victory possible. Elijah was tickled that I was so excited that I had another book to “set the record straight.”
So even when I feel overwhelmed with lesson planning, these daily reminders remind me that it’s all worth it. Yes, I could enroll them in a free public online charter school and kiss lesson planning good-bye, but I plan individualized lessons that cater to our children’s abilities, likes and learning styles. Yes, it’s plenty of work, but our children are worth it. All children are!