In this Series:
Article 1: Homeschool and Trust;
Article 2: Choosing Resources Wisely
Article 3: Individualized Home Education for Unique Individuals (this page)
Article 4: Your Support
You and your family are unique! God made you that way and the more we accept and work with that - the easier it will be to homeschool.
An individualized home education is the way you can discover your uniqueness as a family as far as your goals, direction, children, personalities and therefore learning styles and curriculum. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can style your child's education on exactly who they are and how they learn best.
Our children love to express their individuality just by being who they are.
Some love to cook; Others love to build, create, draw, read, paint, make music, fiddle with computers!
Over the lifetime of this website, I have added updates on our family and 5 years ago I wrote about how our children expressed their own individuality just by being who they are. Check out our homeschooling family in 2009.
So, as I said on that page, I love the fact that as we homeschool, our children have time to develop their own creativity and enjoy expressing their own personality and individuality in their own creative ways.
But what does Individuality have to do with TRUST? If we trust that God has uniquely created each individual child, with their gifts, talents and personalities, it would also mean that He has a specific plan for their lives. We can trust that God will prepare His children for their life of service, equip and develop them. We need to trust, pray, listen, watch and guide.
The most obvious, but sometimes neglected question to our children can be, "What do you love to do?"
If we want to guide our children to pursue their interests, we need to know what they love and the simplest way is to ask!
It is an important skill to be able to verbalize what you really love and create a plan to follow that desire. It takes time, thought, planning, a collection of appropriate resources to help our children pursue their own self directed, individualized home education.
This year, when I asked the question, "What do you think you need to know more about? What is important for you to learn?", I was surprised to hear "Math and Vocabulary" as a part of the answer! The rest of the answer also included, "crafts, cooking, nutrition, being a great writer" from my daughter, and "building Microsoft Apps" from one son and "making music" from another son! So different! But that's the beauty of being able to develop an individualized home education.
So, how do other children express their individuality? Each family is unique and on this page you can read from two other families and how their homeschools look different and how each child has been able to show their individualty as they pursue an individualized home education.
Our homeschool is very hands on. When my kids were in preschool that meant lots of arts and crafts, now that they are in elementary school that means we act out a lot of our assignments, and make it more real to them.
My boys are very interested in military history so we do lots of battle simulations to see why a certain side won the battle, and what advantage there is to that. My daughter enjoys acting out historical events, so we will often act out the lesson or play through it with our toys. We've also taken the time to visit places of interest. My husband and I are both very interested in history, so we spent a week in Colonial Williamsburg when we studied US history to get a better feel for the time period.
I love that homeschooling gives us the freedom to go on vacation in the middle of the school year and we can take our schoolwork with us. That's not a freedom most people have today.
We've also been able to go at my kids' natural pace. That means my daughter who is age-wise in 1st grade has completed all of 2nd grade reading and is roaring through 3rd grade as fast as she can. My sons who were slower in getting started reading have now "caught on," and they are trying their best to finish their 3rd grade reading before they finish 3rd grade and start on 4th grade.
We also had the freedom to look at a math curriculum we were using and decide it wasn't working for us and change curriculum in the middle of the school year because we weren't required to use that curriculum, so we changed to something else that worked. Homeschooling has been very freeing for all of us.
Ticia Adventures in Mommydom
One night when my now-16-year old daughter was about 6, I was saying good night to her and asked if she had a good day. She replied with a deep sigh, "I guess so, but I didn't draw AT ALL today."
This is the girl who spent at least 2 hours drawing during quiet time while her younger siblings took a nap or did their own quiet time and another hour or so at night drawing before lights out. For whatever reason, we must not have been home for quiet time that day and the busyness led right up to a later-than-usual bed time. Even though it was late, I was so happy to let her leave the light on and draw until she got tired.
First of all, if she were in a conventional school, I would never have been able to let her stay up.
More importantly, it was in that moment that I realized that art was as much a part of her as breathing is to me. I also knew that a conventional school schedule would never allow the time (hours a day) for her to immerse herself in drawing, painting, later photography, videography and graphic design. Which, by the way, I'm convinced was so important for her brain development and growth.
Homeschooling has given us the flexibility to accommodate her innate need to truly create. Both she and my younger daughter are gifted artists and I cringe to think that this huge part of them would only be a blip on the radar screen had they gone to a conventional school.
She's had the time to turn her passion for art into a mini business creating custom portraits, blog designs, senior and family photos and even videos.
Home education to me has always been my second education and what I have found over the years is that my enthusiasm is a great encouragement to my children.
Of course, the inverse is true too. When I have been preoccupied (and that does happen!) and I lose focus and just go through the motions of making sure my children have ticked their boxes, their joy is zapped too.
So, I have learned in my situation and in my family, that I need to be fully on board and excited about the process of learning in all sorts of areas.
What are some practical ways we can create a stimulating home environment to develop an individualized home education?
Individual Learning Program
One way to encourage self directed learning in your homeschool is to set up independent or individualized learning programs. These can also be called self directed learning contracts.
Read more about self directed learning.