A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for Independent Homeschoolers

We are independent homeschoolers.  I have been home educating since 1998.

Our motto is "Education is a year by year, child by child decision."  Which means some years we have an interesting mix of school situations.  There were several years where everybody was homeschooled (or too little for school).  But we've also utilized both public and private schools for certain children, during certain years.  Not because we're wishy washy.  But because we take everyone's needs into consideration, and then decide for each person based on the good of the family.

Right now, Annaliese and Josiah are in private school, Hannah is in public school with an IEP (Individual Education Plan--accommodations that take her special needs into consideration), and the middle 4 are taught by me.

Unfortunately, sometimes die hard homeschoolers get their panties in a wad about what other homeschoolers are doing.  You see that with the independent vs. charter issue, and unschooling vs. a more formal approach.  You also have homeschoolers who think that sending any child to any school is bad.  That's unfortunate, because I think that really boxes you in.  I always suggest to newbies looking into homeschool when their oldest child is 3, "Don't say, 'We're homeschoolers.'  Say, 'We're homeschooling.' "  It's a subtle difference, but I think an important mindset.  If you wrap you identity up in being a homeschooler and then for whatever reason your child ends up in school, you're going to feel like you've failed.

Homeschooling looks like different things in different families. But in our family, homeschool looks like this:

The "desk" that Furby is sitting at, working so diligently (snort) is actually the base of the high chair that was given to us 17 years ago when Annaliese was a baby. I used contact paper to give the surface a face lift about a year ago, but other than that it's still going strong, long after the actual chair part of the high chair has disappeared. (The chair Furby is sitting in is from Ikea.)

The main curriculum we use (found here: www.schooloftomorrow.com ) is workbooks and score keys.  Every subject is color coded.  Brianna is pulling out a spelling (Word Building) score key in the photo above.

Part of Sam's daily responsibility is getting Miss Hannah on the bus each morning.  

This desk sits next to my desk, and is shared by Sam, Bri, and Eli, depending on who needs my supervision.  

If they're getting their work done, I don't mind them working elsewhere.  

Two of the kids use the computer for Math.  


Since Josiah was home on Easter Break, I roped him into reading Furby's spelling story to him for me.  Furby is using Reason For Spelling.  These books are adorable.  Level K Reason For Handwriting is my favorite cute curriculum book of all time.  

After the story comes the pretest each week.  

So there you have it.  This is what homeschooling looks like at our house.  Sometimes.  

Other times, it happens in front of an educational DVD (The 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is this week, and I have a documentary to share with the kids).

Sometimes, it even happens in the car, a waiting room, or at the park.  
Reminds me of a Dr Seuss book.  We could do it here or there, we can homeschool ANYwhere!


  1. We have been re-evaluating what home school looks like for us now that Drew is no longer attending public school (again) I think you hit it when you said it but didn't say FLEXIBILITY is the key.

  2. Flexibility sounds good. I think it would be good if more parents realized they can teach their kids anything anywhere. Learning isn't just for schools.

    Good luck with the challenge!

    Dianna Fielding

  3. I have no kids of my own, so I don't feel that I have a huge say in the matter...yet. :)

    But I was "public-schooled" and my husband was "home-schooled" for our entire education (except for college). I really agree with "it depends on the child and what would work best for that year". I talked to my mom about whether she would home school me if we did it all over again. She said, no way. I needed the things that public school offered in order to thrive. It was best for me.

    It is disheartening to hear some say (and I have read these essays because they are fascinating) that it's a sin to do anything other than home school (or private school if you really have to). I like your approach, which is why when my friends ask what I will do when I have kids, I say, "I don't know. I haven't met them yet so I don't know what they will need". :)

  4. Love the panties in a wad mention. So true! Wretched charter families ;).