Hanging out with friends and their little ones, the talk turns to education. My ears always perk up, since it’s one of my favorite topics, and I’m eager to hear everything they have to say. Then the inevitable question: “So what are you going to do when they get old enough to go to school?”
Well, we’re home-schooling. Yes, she is eighteen months old (why don’t we say young?), I know.
I used to say, “we’re planning to home-school”, since that was something my husband and I had already decided. And then I thought, “why do I put it in the future tense? Harmony is already home. We are already learning every day. That counts as home-schooling. The journey has already started!”
It’s been only within the past few months that this realization came. Since then, I’ve been eager to find other like-minded families. We love hanging out with our friends from church and a local play group, but in a few years the vast majority of those children will be off to preschool, and I want Harmony to have friends who will also be on the same educational path as she is.
Now we’re in the process of making friends, planning gatherings, learning what fun crafts are good for tiny hands, chatting online and face to face about what we hope for our children, and figuring out what we want “school” to look like. What DOES it look like for this age?
For us right now, “education” looks like everyday activities around the house. Harmony follows me everywhere: we cook, clean, do laundry, organize, and shop together. She is learning to stand on one foot, jump, climb up and down stairs, get on and off chairs, eat with a spoon or fork, drink out of a glass, do a somersault, run. We also do fun games like finger play, dancing, marching, hide-and-seek, drawing with crayons, playing with shapes, stacking blocks, and matching objects. She is learning imaginative play with stuffed animals, dolls, pretend food, and most especially her beloved toy horse figurines. We also spend a lot of time outside on walks or at the park. We read books, dozens of books, sometimes for over an hour straight.
She is always curious. She always wants to know what things are, asking, “dis? dis?” when something new comes up. The eighteen month marker, like magic, has brought new words every day. While she is very shy in new situations, she is still growing more confident on her feet, interested in the world, and ready to explore. It would impossible to make her STOP learning! And so we hope to continue this way, as she learns naturally about her surroundings. We will be her comfort when she is overwhelmed (which happens often; she’s still tiny, I have to remember), her support when she falters, her encouragement when she hesitates, and all the time remember that there is no rush.
With this in mind, I am working on writing myself a guide, a set of thoughts that I want to have as a kind of manifesto as we begin this beautiful journey in life. What do I want to keep at the forefront as we establish ourselves as a home-schooling family? What are the most important ideas to keep in mind? What do we want to always remember?
What do YOU think? I’d love to hear ideas!
If you’d like more background on our decision to home-school, please check out this post.