Okay, so if you asked me three years ago what our home pre-school would be look like at this time, the picture I would have described is anything but what it actually is. I was gung-ho on creating a truly Montessori-inspired, organized homeschooling atmosphere for my children, one that was very well-prepared and had hints of Charlotte Mason and Classical approaches thrown in. But, life happens, and, with it, an accidental unschooling approach took hold.
Sometimes the difference between what I imagined and what has actually been taking place in our homeschooling endeavors has not bothered me. I recognize the kids’ learning and growth despite my lack of consistent focus on making my homeschooling dreams their realities. In fact, I relish the fact that life has forced me to let them lead our journey on more days than I have led it.
Other times, the divergent paths of my imagined homeschool efforts and the ones I have actually made has irked me to the point where I have wondered if I am making the “right” choice with homeschooling. As I try to “school” as well as just balance life, work, home (dis)organization, etc. I often feel too fractured to do my children the justice with preparing their homeschooling environment and guiding them through learning that I feel they deserve.
So, what to do?
Keep going with the flow and trusting that they will sometimes “learn anyway” or buckle down and carve out both planning and preparation time and serious implementation time?
This is the question that has danced through my brain all week as I have been swept up in an array of appointments and events that have taken precedence over homeschooling – at home – endeavors all week. Work, taxes, doctor’s appointments, kids’ classes, prior commitment made to others, being down with a flu that has almost taken my voice away… If we haven’t been out at something, I have been feeling too crummy physically to motivate to do what I want to do.
Part of what I want to do is get things in order for a better, more focused homeschool system/approach come fall – a truly focused kindergarten curriculum for Luke and more structured preschool and infant-toddler approaches for Nina and Jack. But, now I am wondering, do I need to?
It seems that despite my lack of planning at times, follow through at others over recent months, the kids are learning. Their antics and inquiries evidence growth in skills in academic areas. And, even with my fractured focus, there are still pockets for key core things such as reading together, doing chores together, getting outside together and praying together. This might be enough, right?
Or is it…
And the circle of my question goes on: Do I stop berating myself and just keep going with the flow? Do I make a more consistent effort to add tenets of loose structure? Do I buckle down and make the actual model of curriculum planning and implementation I originally sought – or some semblance of it – a reality? I am not sure.
So, I am throwing it out to all fellow homeschoolers out there: What have you found works best for you and your “official” kindergarteners (preschoolers and infant-toddlers)? Going with the flow? Adding loose structure? Sticking to a definite model and philosophy? What have you found does not work for you?
I know each of our personalities and situations is different, but sometimes, just through sharing, we find that nugget of truth that will work in our own unique homes. So, please, please, share! Because, honestly, I never imagined homeschool could be so different than teaching “regular” school, but throw in housework, regular parenting and various home and appointment distractions and it’s entirely different in my opinion. So different it makes me wonder about how adept I can be at it.
Your thoughts are most welcome (and very much requested) in the comments.