Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What Works Wednesday: How I Educated Myself

I already knew how to read when I entered first grade at St. James Elementary. In fact, I don't remember a time not being able to read, or write for that matter. Maybe it's just my poor memory, since I do have what seems to be years of my life that I cannot remember at all, or maybe it's because I'm already half-past the age toward self-destruct. But I don't want to go there . . .

This July 18th post I'm linking up with What Works Wednesday thanks to Upside Down Homeschooling:
 When my first child was born 26 years ago my husband gently brought up the subject of homeschooling—NOT! He matter-of-factly told me that we would homeschool. (It was kind of like the way he announced that we'd have our babies at home the year before.) His desire for homeschooling stemmed from his misadventures in public school education. He did not want his sons to have to go through what he did. I however, loved school, and used to play teacher to my younger sister, the student. I kind of liked the idea!

 My baby—the last of the bunch!

So, I  left nine years of registered nursing behind to embark on this new journey called boys and all that would come with it. My heavenly dreams of having a child finally materialized, but with my mind reeling and my heart skipping, there was a lot I needed to know, and quickly. I had a great desire to learn. I read numerous books. I interviewed people. I took classes. I discussed things with hubby, and the perfect plan ensued.

In time, I found myself as the nurturing Momma hen to four delightful boys (about three years apart in age). Our homeschool journey fascinated me. Having loved books and going to the library as a child, I adored taking the boys to check out books and we read aloud 'til they dropped off to sleep at night. And I discovered the classics that I had missed as a child (pretty much all of them) so I delightedly would read, while the child-in-me clapped at each book's end for an encore.

 Just about all grown up!

It dawned on me down the road, somewhere between consonant blends and algebra, that I was getting much more out of homeschooling than I'd realized. I had been educating myself right along with the boys! 

The history and geography I knew little of and hadn't liked in grade school, now caught my attention through the lively stories we read and fun activities we did. The arithmetic I had forgotten, reappeared with new meaning. Experiments pretty much just happened in our household and my love for nursing and the workings of the human body kept me on my toes fashioning unit studies using living books in many fascinating areas of science. The arts I enjoyed gave me opportunities to share with my sons and we ventured into new crafty areas. The creative writing I adored (needing much polish) opened doors for self-improvement as I learned many of the missing links in my English education. Bible studies came alive as we took from what we learned to make our lives more complete and useful with our new understanding of God's design for our lives and grace through Jesus Christ. 

Of course, parenting, being a homeschool Mom, and attempting to keep a marriage in swing was/is quite an education in itself.

I think there is a point here somewhere . . . You will learn what you have an interest in learning. Force feeding doesn't work. A child needs to be engaged to learn, just like we do as adults. Sure, I learned things and passed tests with As for many years growing up, but that information quickly left me. Last year I studied for four months every day and re-took my RN licensure exams and passed! I was stunned, but you know, I had some interest in the material, but did cram a lot in and that short-term memory study for a test didn't last too long. If I don't use the material much will be lost. We can expect the same from our kids.

Perceptions are important. Writing is not a school subject, it's a necessary life skill. Engaging children in such a way that appeals to them is a worthy goal in all subject areas. Embracing a child's learning style and individual abilities just adds more education to your life! 

Now that all my sons have graduated, homeschool hasn't ended for me, and it hasn't ended for them. In fact, my youngest son wasn't all gung-ho about the graduating aspect completing 12th grade at all. I thought it was a big thing—apparently not for him. He said he doesn't like the way some new grads he knows think that they've arrived somehow. For him the transition toward his future life is just another step in the learning game, as it should be. Every day brings something new and there is so much to learn! I like that mindset. And I admire and respect his perspective, so I didn't make a big deal of graduation (even though I wanted to).

We educate ourselves in our own ways. Just by living, we learn whether we want to or not. Make the most of it!

“I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope” (Psalm 16: 8, 9).

I think I've had a pretty good education thus far—thanks guys, for all you've taught me!  

Happy Homeschooling!


  1. What a great post Kathy. Something we homeschool moms to small children can learn from. Sharing this with others.

    Blessings gentle friend.

    1. Thank you for visiting again and for your kind words of encouragement.


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