Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I sit here, a few feet away, in awe. And yet what happens here is so common place I'm amazed it still awes me. In actuality it takes us all of 2-3 hours to complete what others would call "school". But truth be told, the learning happens from sun up till sun down around here.

As the year comes to a close and our routines are firmly planted, I've started to loosen the reigns and watch the kids flourish. At 5 and 6 they are already becoming independent in their learning, taking control of their own learning routine and schedule. Lately I've showed Jonah the plans for the day and let him choose what he wants to work on, at his own pace. The only agreement is that it has to be done. I don't care if what order or how long he lingers on one particular subject. And when it's done, HE is done! Whether it takes him 30 minutes or 3 hours is up to him!
Without the confines of institutional schools and bell schedules, my kids are free. Free to take an hour to practice a new Math concept or finish reviewing spelling words in 10 minutes. They are free to dig into manipulatives and supplies when the mood strikes and they have an "idea" about how something works. Learning is all around, ready and available to them at any time. Because our learning happens at home, our home becomes a mecca of learning opportunities ready for the taking!

I can't count how many times I've walked in on one child sitting in our circle time nook reading science or Language Arts books. Writing stories (using phonetic spellings of course) in dry eraser. Playing Math games on the computer or creating Solar circuits. Making a craft, drawing a picture, creating some new invention.

It's a daily occurrence that our "after school" hours are filled with learning and exploring completely delight directed, child directed. The kind I know they wouldn't have the freedom to do in an institution. The kind of learning that truly lasts a life time. The kind of learning that stays with them long past the section, unit, review. The kind of learning that grows and expands on their own. The kind of learning they want to pursue and follow instead of leave behind.  It's not forced or coerced.

It's free, they are free.


  1. This makes me very sad.....I feel like sending you all to school was a bad thing to do.

  2. Tia, I love the idea of letting them decide when to do things. I think Jon would love this as well. Do you have time that you set aside for specific things that they need you to instruct them? (I'm thinking of new math concepts or grammar...) Just curious. I love this idea and will be finding ways to implement it here for sure! :)
    and @Tia's mom...knowing Tia, I'm pretty sure you did a lot of things right. My mom feels that way sometimes, too, but God is good and gracious and school didn't mess either of us up too badly! ;)

  3. Mom! Okay first of all....I LOVED school, it's one of the reasons I have a hard time home schooling sometimes, because I had great memories of school! Secondly homeschooling wasn't even an option when I was young (am I dating myself here?) Thirdly, what we know about institutional/compulsory schooling is relatively new. Research that has been going on for the last 20+ years is showing some remarkable things about learning and school settings. Fourthly (and perhaps most importantly) you and Dad created a wonderful enviornment and love for learning for all of us! Look how much ALL of us love reading, we all have been successful in education/career/life because of it! You and Dad were a bigger part of the equation than where we went to school. And lastly schools are NOT the same as they were 30 years ago. SO much has changed and it's sad and damaging to little minds. I don't regret being sent to school, it's part of who I am today! I'm learning and exploring new things for my children though! I also don't think every child or every family is called to Homeschool. It also doesn't mean I will homeschool them ALL for 12 years, it does mean they each get an IEP an we evaluate each year where the best place for them is. For right now my being witness to their learning, and being a huge part of it is a blessing (it makes up for the stress!) But I will always evaluate what's best for them!

  4. Heather: He does need direct instruction with Math and Language Arts so when he's ready to work on something, I'll teach a little until he's got the concept and then he completes what he needs to. But I am always there instructing, I've just given him a choice as to what order he wants to work! He likes having more control and not having ME tell him, it's time for Math! Kind of a Montessori approach!

  5. I just feel guilty....not that home schooling was a real option so many years ago ( yes , you are dating me, not you : ) but I would never have considered keeping you home. In those days there would only have been the hippy-dippy kids who were kept home and what they learned would not have been a good thing for most kids. I dont think what you are doing is a bad thing...I only worry about the youngest not getting the attention they would if their older sibs had a few hours away. I know you are both hard headed and smart enough to do what is best for my grandkidlets. I just wish other's opinions had any worth....I know mine has little. Love you and know you will make the right choices regarding the babes. Love you, Ma