Homeschooling is a subject very close to my heart. I strongly believe that children need to grow up under the care of their parents, especially their mother for the first 7 years, if at all possible. I'm also aware of the influence peers can have on others, and although sometimes can be a good influence, in most cases, it's a negative influence which affects children for a very long time until they, on their own, find their identity.
Today, however, homeschooling is hard on parents because 'the norm' is to send children to school at the age of four, or even earlier. Parents, especially mothers, look forward to this milestone in their children's development for many reasons. They believe their children are going to be socially adept by being around other people, and learn valuable things essential to the development of their intellect, among other benefits. But in a lot of cases, mothers want their children to attend school because they don't have the patience to have them around all the time not because they think or believe school is the best choice to their children's needs. Here is where net-working with other home-schooling parents plays an important role. One can share experiences and be there to support one another when times get tough. In this way, I believe most parents can face the challenges of home-schooling successfully.
I've been meaning to write about our homeschooling approach and our experiences so far with it. We implement the delayed approach, in which children are not introduced to formal homeschooling until the age of seven. Before that they should engage in as much unstructured play and should be read to for an hour a day minimum.
Unstructured play takes in all forms and shapes. Here are a few of the ways I home-school everyday:
We Play outside with a pile of soil and let our imagination unfold:
We play with home-made play dough and "make what we dream of making when we grow up"
Reading is the other fundamental thing right at this age. I try to read to my children in the morning and afternoon and I can see how much love they hold for their books. I hope I can continue to instill love for literature well after this stage. But to be honest, I believe it is in our human nature to love reading; it just sometimes gets forgotten due to over-stimulation from the technology of these days. We try our best to stay away from TV watching and I have no one video-game available at home.
We also spend time outdoors doing what the family likes best: Soaking up sun, visiting interesting places in our surroundings, visiting and going out with friends, you name it. The important thing is to get out there and be in touch with nature as much as we can.
I can honestly see the benefits to this approach as I see my children learning a lot of things out of their own interest. They don't write or read yet even though my oldest will be five in two weeks but the things they're learning is what I believe fundamental to their development at this stage of their lives. Once they've outgrown this stage there won't be coming back to it. Imagination it's at its wildest and liveliest right now and what can be learned from it is truly a treasure.
I am sharing this to inspire you to take a look at the benefits of this approach in the up-bringing of our children, our treasures.