I won't waste your time by painting doomsday scenarios and saying things like "We are living in tumultuous times" or "The world is rapidly changing all around us". You've read those headlines on a daily basis for the past several months now. I'll just get straight to the point and say that the time has never been better to give homeschooling a try.
The stereotype of the isolated homeschool life has long since been shattered. Today's homeschoolers have rich social lives and robust opportunities for experiential learning. One of the biggest complaints I hear from homeschool families is that they never have any time at home!
No two homeschool families look the same and I can guarantee you that there is a style and format to meet the needs of every child.. Like many parents, you may not have the first clue about where to start. If this is you, I'd like to offer a few suggestions. First of all, research local homeschool groups in your area. I think you'll be surprised how many there are.
Here in California, we have several charter schools that offer support to homeschooling families. There are also homeschool co-ops, part time private programs, and homeschool groups that exist just for fun. As for the legal aspects of homeschooling in your area, you can contact the Homeschool Legal Defense Association . Their website has a link at the top that will get you pointed in the right direction.
The Love of Learning Book and Website can both offer you tips on how to get started. If you prefer to talk to someone, feel free to send me an email at email@example.com. I'd be happy to connect with you and help get you started.
When your kids love to learn, then learning never stops. That means that you can actually step away from all the demands of homeschooling for two or three weeks around Christmas and your kids will be just fine. Let them spend hours playing with Legos. Let them spend hours reading any book they want. (That you approve of!) Let them get lost in writing a story for hours on end. Let them play outside and dig holes. Everything a child does is learning. Let them spend some extra time this month learning in the way that is most meaningful to them then acknowledge to yourself that you have done a good thing by not teaching them at all.
We were made to work. We all know this because we have all experienced the satisfaction of a job well done. I remember years ago I needed to replace a fence in my backyard. I spent several weekends tearing it down and rebuilding it one section at a time. The last day of the project was a long day as I really wanted to get the job done. Just before the sun went down, I drove in the last nail.
As I scanned the length of the new fence, I felt exhausted, but was proud of the job I had done. The fence was straight and new and looked great. Best of all, the dogs couldn't get out and visit the neighbor's yard anymore. The next afternoon, I pulled up a chair on the patio, aimed it toward the fence, took a seat, and stared at my handiwork. It felt good to be done and it was satisfying to stare at the finished product.
Even though building a new fence is hard work, I enjoyed it. I've been thinking a lot lately about the fact that the the love of working is just as important as the love of learning. What good is a love of learning if we don't have the passion to make good use of that learning? Work can come in many forms. It may be working on a hobby or a household project. It may be an actual occupation that results in income. Regardless of the form of work, there is satisfaction when we perform a task well.
A strong work ethic is one of the most valuable things a parent can pass along to a child. Instilling a love of learning in your child is tremendously valuable, but the value of instilling a love of working cannot be overlooked. After all, when a child loves to learn, teaching is easy and when a child loves to work, living is easy.
When seasoned public school teachers talk about standards, they are typically talking about the backbone of their educational philosophy. When homeschool parents talk about standards, they are typically referring a serious weakness in our educational system. The two sides view the same topic from opposite perspectives, and thus, have entirely different opinions.
For parents considering homeschooling, consider this perspective. Proponents of standards, whether state-specific or the dreaded Common Core, see this idea as a critical component of creating a fair and thorough education system. While there are some useful skills listed in the various standards, it is important to keep in mind that these lists are one way that some people think education should work. This is great in a perfect world where all children enter the factory with the same raw materials and come out as the same finished product, but unfortunately, kids can't be produced in a factory because the raw materials are just too diverse. As a result, each child needs to be viewed a hand-carved original.
The best environment for creating hand-carved originals is in a small workshop. For the homeschool family, this workshop can often be found on the couch or at the kitchen table. For others it's in the back yard or exploring nature. Homeschool workshops are mobile. They may be at a co-op class one day and on a field trip the next. The possibilities are endless.
If you're exploring homeschooling and want more information, I'd love to talk to you about it and help you design your workshop. Feel free to comment or email me at lovinglearninginfo@gmail. com.
When kids love to learn, teaching is easy. That phrase is so easy for me to type. I've typed it a hundred times in the last few months, yet for many parents, the idea is so elusive. They just can't seem to convince themselves to let go and watch their kids grow.
The truth is that letting go and watching them grow is the most rewarding thing a parent can do when it comes to teaching kids at home. I'll admit that it took time for us as parents to adopt this philosophy. Annette was much quicker to embrace it than I was, but looking back, it was the best thing we could do for our kids.
Let me illustrate. Our eight year old daughter has blossomed as a reader over the last year, yet she still enjoys listening to me read aloud to her as well. Even though she is perfectly capable of reading chapter books on her own, she still comes to me every night and asks me to read to her. Lately she has been bringing me a series of biographies called Who Was...
So far we have read about Eleanor Roosevelt and Louis Armstrong. Those who know me would probably associate me more with country music than with jazz, but secretly, I enjoy a little jazz. I also enjoy learning about history. Because of this, I have enjoyed reading both of these books with my daughter. The truth is that I read to her at night because I want to learn about the people. These biographies fascinate me. What might look like an eight year old loving to learn is actually her father enjoying the process just as much, although not without putting in some hard work first.
About this time last year, I was reading her a series of books about fairies. I struggled through one chapter a night, dreading the next night when I had to read more fairy books. Now that we're reading fascinating biographies, I read four or five chapters a night and only stop because she needs to go to bed. We would both go on longer if time permitted.
The lesson here is this. I read what I hated so she would develop a love a learning. I read to her what seemed like a hundred fairy books because she enjoyed them. Parents often think that reading books like the fairy books has no value, but that mentality only serves to kill the love of learning. Allowing my daughter to read what most would consider to be stupid books, led her to a place of true learning and discussion. It led to us making pancakes on a Saturday morning with Louis Armstrong playing in the background.
This week our family is living in our trailer on a small patch of dirt and gravel outside the livestock barns at the Southern California Fair. Our kids are busy all week caring for their animals and showing them in several different shows.
One of the things that we like best about homeschooling is the ability to do things like this. For the most part, the kids are able to greatly reduce their typical school-related activities and focus on the task at hand. On the first day of the fair this year, two of our kids won the first place blue ribbon in showmanship for their guinea pigs. As the winners of their respective classes, they get to move on to Master Showmanship at the end of the week.
Master Showmanship requires that the participants show all of the animals in that category. Since our kids won for small animals, they will be showing guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs, chickens, and turkeys, even though they only prepared for guinea pigs. This means that regular study is required throughout the week. As a result, they have been reviewing dog and rabbit breeds and have talked about chicken and turkey body parts. They are doing all of this because they are motivated. They are doing it because they enjoy it. And that is the essence of a Love of Learning.
We don't have to nag them about studying to prepare for the big show on Friday. They do it because they enjoy it. They are sharpening their minds by studying. Who cares if the information is not listed in the standards? What's important is that they are learning how to learn and they are having fun in the process. What better way for a child to learn than to want to learn?
Give your kids a reason and they will blossom right in front of you. Help your kids find purpose for learning and your life will never be the same.
Today I heard some exciting news. A friend who knows about the book told me that she saw it on Instagram. This may not be exciting for everyone, but for this old guy, it is. What makes it exciting is that I have never been on Instagram. That means that if my book was publicized on Instagram, I didn't do it.
Now do you see why this is so exciting? Other people are seeing the benefits of The Love of Learning and are sharing it with their friends.
As I talk to people both online and in person, I am repeatedly reminded of the value of the book. So many people are looking for a new way to homeschool and this book can point them in that new direction. If you haven't read it yet, click the "Buy the Book" link on the homepage or just go to Amazon and search "The Love of Learning Holbrook" and it will take you right to the book.
And if you ever see it mentioned somewhere, I'd love to know where. It is exciting to see how far word can travel.
The love of learning is a philosophy. We've applied it to our children and have seen remarkable results. As I've been immersing myself into this idea, it seems only fair that I ask myself if this love exists in my own life.
I enjoy reading, but if given a choice between a mystery and a non-fiction text, the mystery will win every time. As a matter of fact, I very rarely quit a novel before it's done, but there are several unfinished expository texts on my shelf. Is this indicative of a failure to embrace a true love of learning in my own life? Of course not.
As with any element of education and learning, results must be viewed in a broader context. A singular measure is not usually the best way to determine if learning is occurring. The best way to measure learning is to find a way to see if it lives up to its purpose. In my case, I may not love reading deeply meaningful books, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy learning.
Recently I have been prompted to reflect on all the side jobs I have created for myself over the years. In addition to a full time job, I have almost always had something else going on. Sometimes it's been going to school myself and other times it's been starting my own small business. Each of these endeavors have forced me to learn and grow. Sometimes its been through reading, Other times it has been watching videos or listening to others or asking questions, but the way I learn the best is the old fashioned way. Some people call it the school of hard knocks. Others call it trial and error. Regardless of what you call it, I love to jump in and just give something a try. I learn as I go. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. Either way, I am always learning. And I love it.
As of today, we are officially the proud parents of a transitional kindergartner. For those of you not in California, TK is designed for kids who turn five during the school year, but after the cutoff for school registration. Even though we homeschool, we told our little guy that today was the first day of school for him. He was thrilled.
As part of the first day activities, Annette and I had to attend a park day for the charter school we work with and we took the kids along. After about an hour, Nate appeared disappointed. "I haven't found my class yet," he said. We assumed he knew what homeschooling was since its all his brothers and sisters do, but he was still confused. We let him down gently and explained that he was going to learn at home.
I'm sure many kids entering the traditional classroom setting have anticipated their first day of school with the same excitement as Nate had. They eagerly look forward to meeting their new teacher and making new friends, but the thrill eventually wears off. Our goal as homeschooling parents is to do everything we can to help our little guy maintain the excitement he has for learning. We want it to be something that never stops because he is enjoying it so much he doesn't even know it's happening.
So for now, we'll continue to learn all we can about dinosaurs and dragons. We'll count them, we'll name them, and we may even spell a few (but not pterodactyl yet). Yes, he's in school, but he won't really notice anything different. Even so, he will be learning every day, whether he knows it or not.
Summer is in full-swing and my wife is in de-clutter mode. Today we tackled homeschool supplies. I was mostly there to lift heavy things and to encourage Annette to actually follow through with throwing things away. For her this is a very difficult thing to do. As we sorted we found more and more old pieces of curriculum buried deep in the dark spaces of "the cabinet".
If you read the book, you will see that we are not a big "curriculum" people. The reason we found ourselves with so much of the dreadful stuff is that we actually spent years developing our philosophy of education which all revolves around creating a love of learning in our children. For the first several years of our homeschool journey we dutifully bought the obligatory curriculum We dutifully used it a little bit and we routinely said, "There has to be a better way," as we shelved it with three pages done. The next year we started over. New curriculum, new goals, same results. Shelf.
So today we sorted it all out. Since the book isn't out yet and you haven't read it, you may still be in the market for curriculum. You can probably find some on Ebay over the next few days, and, despite our preference for other methods, we will still gladly take your money for buying ours.
For regular updates about the book, feel free to explore the website and follow us on Facebook @fb.me/love2learninfo