Hooligan Zoo

Two Zookeepers… many Hooligans… It's always feeding time at this zoo!

Simplify…….

on September 7, 2012

September is like the new year for me. I don’t get the urge to tidy, purge, clean, organize, or anything else until September. Spring comes and we live on, content in our squalor. January comes, and we continue on as we have been. For me, the urge to make big changes comes in September.

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I’ve been homeschooling for a while now. Well, Zi is 10 (Lord help me), and has never been in school. Some would say I’ve been homeschooling for ten years now.

In those early days, when I was still stuck in the must do school at home phase, I researched and researched. Then I met Sylvie, and Sylvie turned me onto Charlotte Mason.

I was floored. Absolutely floored that you could teach your kids by using literature. That it didn’t need to be a big set of worksheeted curricula, they don’t need to be sitting at a table 8 hours a day, doing penmanship and all the other things.

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The reason we wanted to homeschool in the first place was because we wanted our children to above all else learn to love the Lord and to know how to live their lives for him. That, and we wanted them to love to learn.

And then? I was seduced. I was seduced by all that fancy and lovely curricula that’s out there. The Charlotte Mason method wasn’t enough, I also thought I needed a science curriculum. And then a history curriculum. And oh my, if we don’t have a proper timeline on the wall, then there’s no way our hooligans would know when anything happened. What about geography? Better get something else for that. And then there’s grammarandspellingandmathandandandand…

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I cruised blogs with large lists of different curricula for each child. Schedules, timing, tests… all those things that are simply not. me.

The problem? I didn’t pull those things off the shelves. Or I did, and we did them for a little while, and then we just didn’t do anything. I was overwhelmed. I had strayed so far from the method and system that originally worked for us, that I didn’t enjoy homeschooling.

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It wasn’t even a battle. It was me, all me, and all my reluctance to do all those expensive things that we now had on our shelf.

I felt like it was forced. It was forcing their learning, it was forcing me to do things I didn’t want to do. We were bordering on school at home, and then why was I homeschooling at all?

After much discussion with Ja, and much encouragement from a homeschooling mom who has been there, we decided that this was the year we’ll throw (most) of it out the window.

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I firmly believe in the Better Late than Early mindset of learning. I believe in nature based learning. I believe that kids (at least my kids) learn best by doing, by living, by reading living books. I believe that everyone has something that will work for them, and just because it does work for them, does not mean that I have to make it work for me.

We’re going back to those roots. If you are using this curriculum for this, and that one for that, and you love it, and your children love it, then I am happy for you. I, however, will not be seduced any longer. I am going to use what works for us, what we love.

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So, here’s the way we’re doing things this year. My list, as it were.

We have a bible. We’re going to read it.
We’re going to be using JUMP math.
We’re going to continue with Spelling City (mostly because the kids think it’s fun)
We have a huge selection of historical novels, fiction and non-fiction, all living books.
When we read those books, we’re going to plot the events that happen in the hooligans’ timeline books.
We’re going to plot things that happen on the map.
We’re going to see where things take us. Super interested in dinosaurs this week? Let’s see what other info we can find on it.
We’re going to read read read.

The kids each have four books in their boxes. Every day they choose two of those books to read independently, and tell me what happened (narrate), draw a picture, put an event on their timeline, or whatever they decide.

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And? That’s it! Simple simple simple. I’ve provided good books. We have shelves and shelves of them. As soon as I made the decision, I felt a huge sense of peace float down over me. The hooligans are more relaxed. I’m more relaxed. This is how it should be right now. And for that I’m glad.

Our theme this year is Simplify. Now to just pray that I won’t be swayed from that.

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