Homeschooling Teenagers in Real Life
Sometimes I'll be on Pinterest, and see an interesting looking pin about homeschooling so I'll click through to read it. I'll get as far as the writer telling me about their 5 year old's curriculum until I leave, because those days are far away and long gone for me. When you're just starting out things are much easier, at least they were for me.
When my kids were kindergartners, we didn't use a formal curriculum because I agreed with Raymond and Dorothy Moore about better late than early. But they were so agreeable at that age, and probably through third grade, they would do anything I came up with according to my latest reading of a new theory or method. We unschooled, tried to implement Waldorf, read classics, and lots of other good literature with Sonlight books and Ambleside Online.
Then my kids got older and I faced more resistance. They started having opinions about what they did or did not want to do. I have four kids, ages 10 - 16, in varying degrees of compliant attitudes and abilities. It isn't so easy anymore to read a blog post with an inspiring idea and try it out on them with success. Homeschooling most days is like swimming against a very strong current.
There is no perfect method or curriculum. Even if there were, my 14 year old would tell you everything he doesn't like about it within minutes.
My kids say they don't want to unschool; we've done it before, and I'd be willing to do it again, but they say they want some structure and an 'education'. I think it's because they know themselves well enough to realize they would spend their entire lives on their consoles or computers if I didn't drag them away now and then to sit and listen to me read some fine literature or do copywork. They're willing to cooperate for the most part. But I only have a short period for their optimum concentration, so I'd better be on the ball.
There are lots of neat websites with beautiful overhead photos of antique books, teapots, watercolor sets and hard bound journals...kids drawing nature whilst enjoying poetry teatime - but my homeschool life has only seen a few days like that out of hundreds.
I had to come to terms with what my essentials were -what I could do so that my ideals weren't entirely squashed and that I was fulfilling my responsibilities. My children are probably not university bound. I don't have any scholars or academically gifted children. They have interests, but aren't particularly self motivated enough to pursue them very far. However, they are bright, have a great deal of common sense, and a firm understanding of who they are. The academic skill is not for a lack of me trying! I have toiled over the years to ways to engage their minds. I still try, but these days I am more interested in heart education and relationships. And I relentlessly pursue my goals and passions in front of them and know that I am planting seeds.
Whatever materials that I am finding success using this month might be pushed aside for something else the following month. It's hard keeping up with children who are all so very different from each other with individual needs. I do believe their future is bright and they are blossoming into some really cool people. Time is running out though, so I'm just going to enjoy them while I can.