Homeschooling ABC’s: D, E, and F

ABC building blocks on white background

Today I’m bringing to you the second installment in my “Homeschooling ABC’s series.  (Drumroll, please!)  Here, for your enjoyment and inspiration are D, E, and F!

D is for Delight-Directed: Many homeschoolers associate delight-directed learning with unschooling, but it can be a part of your homeschooling curriculum no matter what teaching method you use.  I have used an eclectic approach to homeschooling pretty much my entire homeschooling “career.”  I use textbooks for math and have used them for reading.  Greenleaf Press is my choice for history and I’ve used many workbooks over the years covering everything from geography to vocabulary.  I try as much as I can to use materials that I enjoy working with, because if I’m not enjoying the homeschooling process, my kids probably won’t be enjoying it either.

And delight-directed learning certainly has a place in my eclectic method of homeschooling as well.  To use an example, my youngest son (who is rapidly closing in on his 11th birthday) has been a computer whiz since he was very young.  He started using the computer when he was just a year old, and at the age of two I ended up getting him his own (used) desktop because I found he was moving around the files on my computer and I couldn’t find them when I needed them!

His computer wasn’t hooked up to the internet…he just used it to play computer games and to type up Word documents.  It’s a long story, but he had a fascination with movie credits for years, and would use Word to type up his own movie credits, experimenting with different fonts, etc.

When he was five, his older siblings taught him to use PowerPoint.  He was in heaven as he could now add all kinds of graphics to enhance his “credits.”  Over the next few years he made literally hundreds of PowerPoint slides to make these credits, and taught himself to use PowerPoint in ways that even my older kids can’t.  A year or so ago I bought him a “Stop Motion Animation” program so that he could start making his own movies.

Then several months ago he started asking if there was a computer program that would allow him to make his own video games!  I was very excited when I got an e-mail from a homeschool supplier advertising an instructional tool – called “Super Scratch Programming Adventure” – that would teach kids to do just that, so I ordered it as a Christmas present.  His 19-year old brother started out helping him, but my 10-year old quickly got impatient at waiting for his brother to explain everything to him, so he took over the book and was through it in a matter of a week.  Now he makes all sorts of video games utilizing cartoon characters he likes.

Do you think I count this as part of his schoolwork?  You better believe it!  Computer Science, baby!

In the same way, anything that your child is fascinated with or enjoys, whether that’s caring for their horse on your farm or building Legos Robotics is “delight-directed” education and should absolutely be considered part of their portfolio!

E is for Excellence: I have a confession to make…I am a recovering perfectionist.  Actually, these days perfectionism is something that I struggle with fairly infrequently.  I could care less if my house is dusty or the wallpaper in my son’s room desperately needs to be stripped and his room painted.  I’ll get around to it…eventually.

But years ago perfectionism was something that haunted me.  It was not healthy and often made me miserable because the truth is, perfection is not something we are likely to attain very often in this life.

I’m thankful to say that God showed me many years ago that what I needed to be working towards was excellence, not perfection.

This became one of my core values and it also became a core value I have worked to instill in my children.  If you are a perfectionist, ask God to help you to learn to pursue excellence instead of perfection.

And you should certainly be making excellence a key part of your child’s training: excellence in speech and manners, excellence in caring for others, excellence in whatever they put their hands to, whether it’s their chores, schoolwork, or any activity they are involved in.  As I look around at the world, I don’t see much excellence training going on, and I think that’s why my children and other homeschooled children I’ve known stand out so much.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve had people tell me how polite my children are with this sense of awe in their voice.  How sad that politeness is so rare in kids today that people are shocked when they come across a kid who actually treats adults with respect, can carry on an interesting conversation, and who carry themselves with dignity and poise.

F is for Fun: I know sometimes in this homeschooling journey you’ve probably wondered how the words “homeschooling” and “fun” can possibly be used in the same sentence!  But if your homeschooling has become drudgery, it’s time to change things up!

As I mentioned above, I tend to choose curriculum that I enjoy using.  It only makes sense.  Curriculum that makes you grumpy is not likely to gain any fans among your kids either!

If you have felt like your homeschooling has become monotonous or drudgery, I suggest you step back and try to analyze why.  Are you simply trying to do too much?  I hear from homeschoolers on a fairly regular basis who are harried and overwhelmed, and it’s no wonder when they start telling me all they’re trying to do with their kids!  Preschool homeschooling?  Really?!  Why?  Before your child is of mandatory school age, stick with educational toys, some Leapfrog DVD’s and just relax.

If your kids are older and your homeschooling is in full swing, are you endeavoring to incorporate some fun activities?  Have you given up on field trips because you think you have to get through that science curriculum?  Again, step back and evaluate.  Being harried and overwhelmed doesn’t help you or your kids.  Take some time off.  Heck, take a whole week off and just chill out, watch some old movies, go to the zoo…in other words, take time to recharge your batteries.

And above all else, make sure your curriculum is working for you.  If it isn’t ditch it.  Resell it if need be.  Find something else that makes you look forward to your homeschool day.  Homeschooling and fun can go together, but it’s up to you to make that happen!

So what would your Homeschooling “D, E, and F” be?  I know you can come up with something!  Let me know in the comments!