Back To School Week: Why I’ve Wanted To Homeschool Since Birth
When I ask Bethany when she plans to start moving forward with her long anticipated homeschooling project, she affirms that she has already begun. The family has a Montessori-inspired homeschooling room in their home with low cubbies so that Bethany’s daughter can choose different activities. At this stage in the game, the mother says that she is adhering to Maria Montessori‘s “follow the child” method, as her daughter often requests puzzles and alphabet games. Although Bethany does present her daughter with new puzzles and projects from time to time, it is her daughter who asks to learn.
“She used to regularly carry her wooden alphabet over to me and dump it at my feet so that I’d come sit on the floor and go over it with her. She also demands we come watch and help her, if needed, when she does her jigsaw puzzles.,” she says.
At present, the mother has a two-piece jigsaw puzzle that teaches colors, in addition to a four-, six- , nine-, and 12-piece jigsaw puzzle for regular use, which she believes are perfect for motor skill development and understanding how objects relate to one another. Between puzzle time and the baby’s beloved alphabet sets, the toddler appears to be learning well.
“I taught her all her upper and lower case letters a few months ago with wooden letters and a favorite wooden puzzle of hers. I’m now teaching her the sounds each letter makes with two-piece picture and letter jigsaw puzzles,” Bethany explains.
As her daughter gets older, she says that she is planning on doing a more “eclectic mix” that includes unit studies, in which the child studies one topic in depth covering an array of different subjects, and the Classical Method. Both she and her husband are reading with her regularly and have already started teaching her Latin.
However, Bethany adds that she and her daughter’s father are only planning to continue with homeschooling for “as long as it is working for my family.” Although she is pleased that her little girl is starting out as a homeschooler, she would be receptive to trying school at her daughter’s request.
The normal criticisms Bethany has already started hearing about homeschooling is about socialization and social life, an area that she is not particularly worried about given her other efforts. The family is already a part of a few homeschooling co-ops with other families and kids. Parents organize field trips and mini classes on topics of interest, including a Spanish tutor for five children at time or a LEGO Robotics time. Needless to say, her daughter sees other children. Besides, it’s not like school is necessarily supposed to be a hub of social functions.
“Do you remember what your grade school teachers said when they reprimanded you for talking to friends in class?” asks Bethany. “‘We’re not here to socialize!'”