What Does Relaxed Homeschooling Look Like?

What Does Relaxed Homeschooling Look LikeA lot of people like the idea of “relaxed homeschooling”, but are so accustomed to what they feel is the only way to “do school”, they just can’t picture anything else.

“How do they learn anything?”

“What if I miss something?”

These are some of the questions that are common to the relaxed approach.

Again, just for encouragement purposes (not to uphold a “this is the only way to homeschool” ideal), I thought I would provide a real-life example of how I believe learning can work. The following is a snippet I took from our day today.

I am standing in the kitchen cooking supper. My three youngest are crowding around on bar stools trying to stir the pot of soup.

“Mmmm….smells good Mommy, what are you cooking?”

“It’s going to be Taco Soup. Right now I’m browning the deer meat, and then I’ll drain it and add tomatoes and beans and seasoning.” (I believe simply talking is one of the most educational things you can do for your children. In relaying to them what you are doing as you do it, you both strengthen their verbal skills as well as transfer information that can be connected to what they can see. I also believe strongly in asking questions.)

“Some people call deer meat ‘venison’.”

“Benison?”

“No, ‘venison’. Just like if you eat a pig it’s called ‘pork’. And a cow is called ‘beef’. And a chicken is called ‘poultry’.”

Enter my 8-year-old son holding a Creation magazine with a picture of a calf that was born with an extra leg. (Keep intriguing reading material lying around the house.)

“Look Mom–this cow has 5 legs!”

“Let me see…wow, it has a mutation. Say ‘mutation’.”

“Mutation.”

(The three-year-old: “Mootation”)

“What does that mean?” my son asks.

“It’s when something goes wrong with the genes, and the cow doesn’t grow right. People can have mutations too, but it’s not that common.” (I stop stirring the soup and read a paragraph from the magazine–not the whole article, just a bit.)

OK. That wasn’t an earth-shattering pile of education. But this is important–it was knowledge built around a tangible, real-life interest, which is what makes information stick.

Suppose I had given my son a list of 10 vocabulary words and “mutation” was one of them. It is likely he may have memorized it for the sake of recall on a test, but it is not as likely that he would learn it. (Remember how much of your schooling you didn’t actually retain?)

And honestly, my son will probably have to hear that word used in context a few more times before he learns its meaning. But he will.

The little ones were getting familiar with different words and their uses in daily life, as well as seeing how I cook supper, which is a pretty invaluable asset.

Multiply these interactions over the course of the day, the weeks, the months, the years, and we get a lot of education just by our casual conversations!

And that doesn’t count what they learn from their own reading and exploring, listening to each other, listening to visitors we have, to my husband and me, to the pastor, etc.

Now certainly that is not the sum total of our educational experiences. We read together, look at maps together, watch videos about things, and yes, do some textbook work too. But the textbooks simply serve to supplement here and there. They serve US, we are not slaves to them.

And as the children get older, it is my goal to see that they are simply able to “learn how to learn”. Einstein said that it is pointless to memorize useless information that can be retrieved from a book as needed. I agree.

My definition of education:

The ability to read well, think wisely, communicate effectively, and gather needed information to solve problems and answer questions. (Not forgetting that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.)

Go ahead and try it…relax!

Think Outside the Classroom: A Practical Approach to Relaxed Homeschooling

Loaded with practical strategies for implementing a relaxed learning environment in your home.

 

 

 

 

 

—-

__________________________________________________________________

27 Responses to “What Does Relaxed Homeschooling Look Like?”

  1. Freie Bildung says:

    Yes, I totally agree with you. We are very relaxed about education. My believe is that children will always learn the right things if they are sourrounded by educational things and an interesting environment. When we interact with each other and the children are taking actively part in everyday life and if the family is leading an interesting life then the children have loads to learn about and from.
    We try to not use textbooks right now (my eldest is only 6) but to learn in context. It seems to work very well.
    (Unfortunately she will have to start school in summer as we are living in Germany and homeschooling is not legal over here…)

    God bless,
    Isla

  2. Zimms Zoo says:

    I thought this was a great post. I do put a LOT of emphasis on reading, writing, and math. IF you can read and write well, you will anything else you need. We do memorize the rules for english. But science, history, etc. is learned by doing and reading. A neighbor is helping us learn how to sew. She showed us how to alter patterns which involved to much critical thinking LOL. But it was good for girls to learn and also to be kind and respectful to thier elders.

  3. KimC says:

    Much our school looks like that, too. We use very few textbooks – mainly just for math, and we’re beginning to re-examine our reasoning in that subject as well.
    A little tidbit you may already know: Do you know why an animal’s name changes when it’s on your plate? (Pig becomes pork, cow becomes beef, sheep becomes mutton, chickens become poultry, etc.)
    The live animals are called by English names, while the slaughtered ones have names of French origin. This is from the time when the Normans invaded and became the ruling class in early England; the poor English raised the animals, and the French ate them.
    At least, I think I remember learning that…I hope I’m not imparting old wives’ tales to my children while I stir the soup…

  4. Ashley S says:

    This is how I plan to “homeschool”! These last two posts have been so good I’ve shared them with my SIL but I haven’t commented. Homeschooling really can be so much more relaxed than people make it….

    http://www.homesteadblogger.com/Jonash2004

  5. Word Warrior says:

    Thank you, Kim C, for an additional “educating moment” 😉

    Isla…I’m so sorry about the laws in Germany right now…they are frightening. America is usually just behind Europe–we must raise warriors!

  6. Freie Bildung says:

    No, no worries. The USA is usually about 10 years ahead of us. Things that are normal for you are just about to hit Europe now. 😉
    In the U.S. homeschooling is legal, in Europe many countries have changed their laws recently in order to make homeschooling an alternative to school. It’s only Germany that is holding on to old (excuse me!) Third Reich Laws. *sigh* But we are trying to raise awareness in the public. I hope it’s a matter of time until they change the law here, too.

  7. Amy Wood says:

    These posts on relaxed homeschooling have been wonderful, Kelly! As Ashley said, this is also how I plan to homeschool…and I just found out that I am about 5 weeks pregnant with our first child, so now I can read homeshooling books, etc. without people thinking I am weird 🙂

    My mil homeschooled using strict Abeka…basically school at home- YUCK, I could not stand that. I am going to save these posts and some other things I have been reading so that I will be able to “prove” (lol) that you can be educated without being so schoolish.

    Thanks for the discussion!

    Amy

  8. Kelly says:

    Well said Kelly. I am by no means homeschooling my two year old, yet, but maybe I am after reading your post. I’m not a fan of traditional school methods of memorization. I retained little of what I learned in school. So with my daughter I just keep her involved in my day, whatever we’re doing. Baking, cooking, laundry, playing with blocks. What tv she does watch is educational and I always add my own comments and additions to what she sees. And I’ve had so many comments from shocked strangers when they hear her vocabulary, see her counting items on the grocery store shelves, or reciting her alphabet. Even I always thought homeschooling had to look a lot like traditional school, with books and set schedules, and now I’m sure it doesn’t. Maybe a more relaxed homeschooling approach is perfect for little ones and a more efficient way for them to learn.
    Kelly

  9. bran says:

    Some people don’t change the name of a food once it’s on their plate…my 6 yo son’s favorite food is “dead cow!”

  10. Catherine R. says:

    This is great for me to read about. I didn’t know homeschool existed until I was an adult. As someone who went to public school my whole life I can attest that I retain at the most 5% of what I was supposed to learn. I got terrible grades too. To me, school was jail and a chance to see my boyfriend and that’s about it. I wonder if homeschooling moms get frustrated with lack of alone time.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Catherine, I think it depends on the personality of the mother, the age of the children, etc. I wake up earlier than the children, and stay up later (our children have always had an early bedtime). So, I do get time alone…but not always “enough”. However, the way I see it, this is such a short season of life. I have children ranging from 9 months – 18 years. It goes by so fast! I will not regret the time I invested in my children.

  11. Mrs. June Fuentes says:

    I have heard of this method and interested in learning more but not completely convinced. Can you recommend any good books that teach more on the ‘how-to’ and makes a case for a full rounded education without gaps? I know all education has gaps one way or another, I hope I don’t sound offensive—just really wanting some answers on this topic for myself as I continually explore new options after 11 years of homeschooling!!! I like the traditional approach but I’d like to do it un-traditionally–if you know what I mean.

    Many blessings…

  12. Word Warrior says:

    Mrs. Fuentes,

    Funny you should ask about a book…I’m working on an e-book right now that expounds more on the “practicality” of this method–stay tuned!

    But, in the mean time, there are some good ones.

    One I loved is called “The Simplicity of Homeschooling” (can’t remember the author’s name off the top of my head, but I can find out if you need it) and another good one is “The Joy of Homeschooling” by Mary Hood, I think.

  13. Mrs. Anna T says:

    Kelly, it’s so lovely to read your insight on homeschooling. My future husband and I are considering to homeschool at such a moment when the Lord decides to send us children. I love your approach. I always thought something isn’t right about the get-go attitude of modern schooling.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I actually was an student for awhile in Germany…I got a year of education that surpassed my entire four years in an American high school. I would consider moving to Europe just so my children could get a better education. My husband and I have dreamed of moving to Europe as soon as we are finished with our education. I have many contacts in Germany and France so even if we never move there I want us to at least go study there for a year or so.

    I wish more Americans could have the opportunity I had…I got a scholarship to study there for a year at a high school. It was probably the best year of my life, or at least had an incredible impact on the rest of it. I did a two weeks apprenticeship as a teacher’s assistant in a Grundschule, and I was impressed at how much these kids were learning.

    No wonder we homeschool our kids and they don’t!

    I live in Florida and I’m sure most of us know that Florida is usually at the bottom ranking for education. Well it’s true. I almost wish I were either homeschooled or sent to Europe earlier to study somehow, because I didn’t learn that much. School was so easy, I never had to study or anything. Our school system needs a big boost, and I think we could learn something from Europe in that department.

    An interesting thing…the schools here use more and larger textbooks than in Europe, and they seemed to use them less and focus more on discussion and lecture. I learned so much better from the teacher than from a teacher simply using a book.

    I respect anyone’s decision to homeschool your kids, especially if the education they would receive in a public or private school is less than what you could give them. (I went to a private Christian school for middle school and it was horrible. They had no resources and no technology and the teachers were horrible. Simply because it was labled a Christian school my parents sent me there.) However there may be some things you can’t teach them, such as foreign languages or advanced math, where you might need help.

    Have a great day. Happy posting.

    P.S. when your kids get to high school look up scholarships to go to another country as an exchange student. They will learn so much! I am a better person and more independent and responsible today because of my exchange year. I got a chance to live in a different type of household (SAHM in Germany as opposed to my mother working when I was in the states…I won’t say anything on that point but I will say the SAHM thing wasn’t any better in my opinion, the kids were spoiled rotten, but this is only one case)
    So look it up! It is a great opportunity for anyone graduating high school or homeschool.

  15. -Belinda says:

    I completely agree and this is how I have talked and communicated with my daughter from time get-go. Not only are you educating your children but you are creating a wonderful communication element and thought provoking environment. Thanks for sharing Kelly!

  16. Anonymous says:

    you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.you are a terrible person.

  17. Kacie says:

    “Mootation” is an awesome pun! So clever. Tee hee 🙂

  18. Miss Rebekah Ann S. says:

    What a peaceful and encouraging post!! Thank you, Ma’am for it!

    I couldn’t agree more-it’s oftentimes the little everyday occurances that contain the most education!

    This is just a side note, but you know mutations are always downhill. Science proves that as fact. Yet, the “Scientists” that say evolution occured say that it did so by mutations. Things mutated into something else that’s good. Um, excuse me, but doesn’t science itself tell us that mutations bring about bad things? Just another little thing to show that evolution is simply an insult to our intelligence!!

    Many blessings to you, dear sister in Christ. Keep up the great work!

    In Christ’s love,
    Rebekah

  19. Miss Rebekah Ann S. says:

    It appears that anonymous has too much time on their hands!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The Botkins did this kind of schooling, not adhereing to a specific curriculum or schedule, and they had the equivalent of a college education at the ages of 15and 17 respectively.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It’s scary to think that in Germany homeschooling is already outlawed. Unless the Church begins stepping up to the plate, that’s exactly what will happen here in the US as well. My parents have already decided though, that if homeschooling is outlawed, we’ll homeschool anyway. If all the homeschoolers banded together and stood their ground, then the government wouldn’t be able to put us all in prison-there aren’t enough prisons to house all the homeschoolers in the US! There comes a time when we must obey God and thus disobey the government. And this sort of situation is an example of that.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Anonymous,
    You said that, for homeschoolers, there may be some areas “such as foreign languages or advanced math, where you might need help.” I don’t know if you’ve heard of Rosetta Stone, but this is a method of learning foreign languages that can be done at home. Also, there many, many opportunities open to homeschoolers who need/want to learn advanced math, or any other such thing. I’m amazing by all the opportunities that homeschoolers have! It’s really great.

  20. Sally says:

    This rang true for me. Sometimes one of my children (13 &up now) shares something and I ask, “How did you know that?” Usually they say Dad talked with them or they don’t remember, but it still surprises me how much they learn from life. Life is school, all day every day. Sometimes purposefully and sometimes not.

  21. Kim M says:

    Excellent post. I completely agree!

  22. […] practice relaxed homeschooling which is somewhere between traditional schooling and unschooling. What drives our educational […]

  23. Eva says:

    Thank you so much!!!! I plan to go back to homeschooling this season, and I always wanted a simpler way than the classroom setting!! And this just makes so much sense

Leave a Reply

Dissenting comments are welcome only in the spirit of "iron sharpening iron"; hateful or angry responses will be removed at my discretion. You may add your gravatar (image) at Gravatar

WordPress Themes