I must admit. When we started to homeschool back in 2005, <oh my goodness I just realized we have been homeschooling a year longer than I remembered!> initially I tried to replicate "school". Back then Z was still going to preschool and it was just A~man and I in the mornings. Back then it worked though...as he had gone from being in a preschool for 3 years and that final year he was in kindergarten. So he was used to a classroom approach. Over the years things have changed though.
There were a few years that I tried to teach the kids together for their formal sit down work, but then Z~girl passed A~man scholastically. That's around the time we started using Time4Learning for our main curriculum. The way we do it now is that Z~girl can do half of her online curriculum by herself (the Z~girl wakes up before me as she wants to be done early!) then, I help her later in the day with the things she needs more help with like math.
After breakfast I do A~man's homeschool curriculum with him as he sometimes needs to be redirected back to it as he is easily distracted. He does so well using the computer though! It keeps his attention for the most part, and he really seems to enjoy the accomplishment of finishing his "morning work". (as we call it) In the afternoon things are a bit looser and we are able to explore some of the fun products we review for the Old Schoolhouse...and it's a great time to explore their other interests!
Recently my husband started working as a "handyman" for another homeschool family that runs a vacation rental business. On occasion he is able to bring one of he kids with him, while I "do school" with the other one at home. Both have been having a blast learning how to fix stuff! Amazingly Z~girl in particular has taken off with it! In fact she asked Santa for a toolbox for Christmas! This is a brag but my girl has been fixing stuff right and left the last month.
I have had several chairs that have needed some work done and she has fixed every one! Plus she has put felt coasters on the bottoms of all of our chairs plus an ottoman in our living room. Saturday morning I woke up to find her putting in a new towel bar in her bathroom that we had bought the previous day. The thought was that her AND daddy would do it...but she took matters in her own hands!
Don't get me wrong math, reading, history, plus the importance of spelling cannot be belittled in the whole learning experience. BUT I know I for one...ok and my husband too, did not learn things like this growing up. We learned things at school and of course our parents taught us a lot but ultimately after going to school, sports practice, practicing the flute (me), chores, there was little time for anything more but eating with the family and then doing homework.
I truly value the fact that our family has time to teach beyond "scholastics". We are able to pursue their outside interests which in my opinion are just as important as learning the 3 R's! Z~is learning to sew, crochet, home repair, animal care, (her own plus volunteering at a farm) it goes on and on. A~man? What better way to learn to live in the real world but to learn in the real world instead of siting at a desk? He loves to help me take care of the yard and to mow with his reel mower. (a mower without a motor) Also, he is an awesome helper cleaning the house!
Plus, many of these outside interests can be incorporated into our whole learning experience. Learning about animals, taking care of plants and gardening are definitely science related! Here is a picture of Z as she is looking for a nut the right measurement for the screw from the chair she is fixing. She found it completely herself and I love the independence and confidence she has from figuring it out almost entirely by herself.
Homeschooling is truly a personal decision but it is one that I am so thankful that we have had the chance to experience.
Time4Learning has a great online homeschooling guide for people considering homeschooling. I wish I could have read something like this when we were starting our homeschool journey. Homeschooling is an adventure. There are bumps in the road along with the joys, twists and turns, but at the end of the day/month/year it's so nice to see how far your children and your family have grown.