Eclectic homeschooling involves meshing different educational philosophies and methods into something that works for your family. As a result this will look different from family to family. We are featuring a series of interviews with eclectic homeschoolers to show how varied eclectic homeschooling can be.
Meet Jessica from http://reinventionat30.blogspot.com/
Why did you decide to homeschool?
I feel my reason of why I went into homeschooling is important. I was raised in private school and wanted the same for my children. My oldest tested gifted in first grade, straight As all year. The next year, we reluctantly put her in public school. I was changing jobs and needed to make sure my kids could get picked up. When I met her teacher, I took her gifted test results that were no more than 3 months old to show. The school wouldn’t accept them and offered their test. She on their test didn’t score on a gifted level. Soon, my child would not do her work and the teach felt compelled to tell me that she probably had Adhd/add and probably needed medication. She even said that she should go back to first grade! I freak out! I know what my child is capable of and so confused by what this lady is telling me. I am even starting to wonder is she autistic to a degree? My child was starting to hate school.
So, we get my daughter tested by the best child psychologist in town over Christmas break. Once we get the results, I am blown away! My child DID NOT have any attention disorders, not autistic, and need medication. The test also stated that my child WAS gifted, had a HIGHER IQ then previously tested at, and was on a grade level TWO years above her current level!
On that first day back to school after the break, I go to the office and schedule a meeting with the guidance counselor, assistant principal and teacher. I highlighted the results and asked them to read it, OUT LOUD! They looked at me like I was crazy! I asked them to humor me, please. So, they did. They look at each other and then me. The assistant principal was the first to speak. She asked if I wanted to skip my child to the appropriate grade. My answer, “HELL NO!” I explained that they were so quick to write my child off, not listen to me or documented paperwork to her learning abilities that I did not trust them to educate my child and I wanted her withdrawn immediately. They tried to back peddle and keep me form doing it, but they couldn’t deny me.
It took me almost a year to undo the damage that they did to my child. She was afraid to make a mistake. She was afraid of anything being times, even games. It caused her extreme anxiety. I am glad that I have my child back and she loves to learn once again.
How long have you been homeschooling?
I started homeschooling in January of 2014 with my then 2nd grader and started homeschooling both fall of 2014.
What ages/grades are you homeschooling?
I currently have a 10yr old and a 7yr old. My oldest is more of a 5th grade level and my youngest is 2nd grade.
What were your results on the What Kind of Homeschooler Are You Quiz?
Score for Waldorf Education: 13
Score for Traditional Education: -19
Score for Unit Studies Education: 23
Score for Montessori Education: 19
Score for Thomas Jefferson Education: 12
Score for Unschooling: 23
Score for Classical Education: 6
Score for Charlotte Mason Education: 21
Use 3 words to describe your homeschool:
On the Go
What makes your homeschool eclectic?
As you can see from my results, I pull a little from all “types”. I do focus on reading, math and writing, but those 3 things you have to do for life. I try to make our learning “portable”. I am on the go a lot, but we learn in a way that travel and errands do not disrupt. My kids may use a workbook for one subject, an app for another or it maybe completely by experience. I do not have a day by day schedule for them. If one of my children all of a sudden gets interested in something, it may lead to an impromptu lesson or even a unit.
Have you always been an eclectic homeschooler?
No, I have not always been this way. When I first started homeschooling, I tried to make it like school at home; in the evenings! That as a BIG MISTAKE.
What do you think makes your homeschool unique?
I think my approach to homeschooling vs. my friends who homeschool may make ours unique. I have no set plan and I can make a learning experience out of anything for my children. My kids have a say so in what they learn.
What does a typical day or week look like in your homeschool?
A typical day, lol! They are all so random. I aim to get up before noon.(I am currently suffering form insomnia since September) Once we are all up, a meal is served and we discuss what we are going to do for the day.
This can include a day that I take my grandma to her doctor appointments. If so, they pack a book bag with a book to read, a workbook that they are working on, a blank notebook, and maybe a tablet. They will work on a lesson in the notebook and then free to read or draw/journal. I do encourage extra work, but not required.
If we aren’t scheduled to go anywhere, I try to get them to help with house cleaning. Then after that, I always ask the oldest to read and I read with my youngest. Then we move on to a workbook, maybe. If not, its educational app time. I always try to get them to do something artistic also.
What curriculum has worked in your homeschool?
Curriculum? What is that? J/k. Some of my friends think I am nuts with my approach. Its a hodgepodge! I will buy a comprehensive curriculum book at Sam’s/Costco and supplement form there. I am a big proponent of Google/Pinterest/youtube/khan academy for homeschooling. There is so much at your fingertips for FREE! I refuse to pay hundreds of dollars for the same stuff off the internet for FREE! I will buy specialized workbooks depending on the concept the child is currently working on. I love educational apps! We also buy educational games. Above all of that, everyday life is the best curriculum.
Do you have any favorite homeschooling books?
I personally haven’t read a book in forever. I do follow homeschool blogs and that’s about as much reading as I get. I love to see how other moms are doing it and seeing their children thrive. its nice to see different versions of what you do.
Do you tweak curriculum to work for you? Describe how you do that.
Yes, I do tweak! I believe in teaching by concept. Don’t just stop because the work is done and you learn the next step next year. I am trying to catch my 2nd grader up to my 4/5th grader in math so I can teach them at the same time. They work great as a team and learn better that way. I also use science to get my garden in shape! This year, we are learning about propagating plants. They love science and getting dirty. So, no weeding for my this year! I hope! Instead of volcanoes(chemical reactions), we do it in the bathroom sink and tub and this makes her want to clean the bathroom. Is that bad?