Homeschooling – Bringing Balance Between Real Life Learning and Curriculum

By Wendy Young

No matter where you are in your homeschool journey, a homeschooling mom needs to make sure that a homeschool curriculum stays in its place. If it becomes the master which dictates to a parent and thus forces real life learning out, it needs to be brought under strict control.

Homeschoolers can roughly be divided into two groups – “unschoolers” and “those who use some form of curriculum”. There is a whole spectrum of homeschoolers in between using different philosophies to drive their homeschool vision.

No matter where you are in your homeschool journey, a homeschooling mom needs to make sure that a homeschool curriculum stays in its place. If it becomes the master which dictates to a parent and thus forces real life learning out, it needs to be brought under strict control.

Homeschool curriculums used for Math, Science, Language and other difficult subjects are often very welcome in a homeschooling home where moms, like me, are not strong in those subjects. This is the beauty of using a curriculum as it relieves a burden from the homeschooling mom’s shoulders.

For subjects that lend themselves to a more relaxed learning style – those like history, geography and life orientation – as much real life should be used. Using literature to study history and geography is so much better than memorizing dry dates and facts. It allows a child to “be at home in a single region – seeing the people at work, the flowers and fruits in their season, the animal in its habitat…” Charlotte Mason. History and geography chronicles, or living books, “nourish the mind with ideas, and to furnish the imagination with pictures” Charlotte Mason.

Real life has a way of stretching our children to think beyond themselves, to care for the needs of others, to serve in their homes and to learn all the valuable life skills that they need for the rest of their lives. Our homes have all that our children need to teach them how to care for themselves and others. Equipping them in how to work in their own home, equips them for a career one day – either for an employer or as a self employed individual.  “The attitudes and attributes that make a good employee are the same attitudes and attributes that make a good kid.” Christine Fields, Life Skills for Kids.

As you come alongside your children and train them to do their chores  they learn how to complete a task they begin. Chores teach our children problem solving, paid chores teach financial management and getting older children to help younger children helps them to learn patience.

Meal preparation is a wonderful platform to teach home economics which is an asset to both boys and girls. As you plan your weeks meals, plan for some of your children to be your helpers. As you bake your snacks and treats, draw your youngest children in to help. These casual times of being together are when you can impart your own kernels of knowledge to your children. These times also are valuable for drawing your children close to you in amongst the busyness of your days as a homeschooling mom.

Relevant Outings provide a wonderful way for your children to learn things by seeing and doing. Outings to historical, geographical and scientific places of interest can be journalled and photographed and notebooked so that you can keep records of what your children are learning. Just a warning – overdoing outings can become tiring to a mom; make sure they are planned carefully. 

Ultimately a wise homeschool moms plans a balance between curriculum and real life learning, incorporating good literature, work and service at home, outings and homeschool curriculum.

 

Wendy Young is a homeschooling mom to 4 children aged 14 – 7 years. They have always been at home with her. She has been married for 19 years. Her homeschooling website, Homeschool-Curriculum-For-Life.com, is dedicated to helping homeschooling moms get organized, enjoy the journey and live life to its fullest.

Used with permission.