This post is written in partnership with Notgrass Company, a homeschool history company. I was compensated, but all thoughts are my own.
I am sure you've seen it, read it, and heard it a million times by now--no two homeschool looks the same. As we've began to transition to another year of homeschooling, I've been thinking more about the way not even our homeschool looks the same each year. It changes. Some changes are subtle while others are definitely noticeable.
Necessary changes in our homeschool
Our homeschool career started simple. I didn't make a big deal about curriculum. The local bookstores and teacher store were my friend. I created items to use that were special to my daughters like the first alphabet flashcard set I made that included a picture of my oldest daughter. She loved flipping through those cards and seeing herself. This was also true when we learned about animals, and I included pictures of my parents' dog on the poster about mammals. These little simple things brought joy in our homeschool. Now my girls are getting older, they still love for me to include components that are special to us, but I have come to realize that I can't do everything on my own. There are many reasons for this such as my limited knowledge and time to name a few. I need curriculum like Notgrass' America the Beautiful to help me.
Navigating towards a new way of homeschooling
The changes we are making aren't necessarily new changes, but more like we're going back to our original way of homeschooling. Less is more. Being intentional. Not being distracted by the what ifs and so on.
I've already decided to remove some curriculum from our 2017-2018 homeschool curriculum choices because I recognized that I was simply subjecting them to using some programs for no good reason especially when the subject is easily incorporated in other curriculum we're already fond of like Notgrass' Uncle Sam and You. I want my daughters to have more time exploring. The more I added to this list ... the less time we have for the things we enjoy. I don't believe that my daughters' education should be shortchanged for free time, but I do know that free time enhances their education and allows them to go deeper. This is important. I know that I have learned a lot since I've been able to not dedicate 40 hours to work. I've learned how to operate a business. I've learned how to care for my home more efficiently. I've had time to hone in on what matters versus jumping to the next thing with little space for breathing.
Meshing unschooling with homeschooling
We're eclectic homeschoolers. I don't tend to lean towards a particular method because they all have their place in our lives. Learning is fluid. Each person is different so while one method works for a specific topic another method works better for a different topic.
We'll keep using curriculum, but we'll have more project based learning and more time for them to do what they love like create movies using Stopmotion, exploring our state, and volunteering more time in our community.
You have the opportunity to create the learning environment that you desire for your children. There truly is not only one way. You can decide the kind of homeschool that you want. We've decided we want a homeschool that incorporates some traditional methods, but leaves plenty of room for nontraditional learning.
What type of homeschool do you want?