Friday, September 3, 2010

This is a Real Homeschooler Standing Up

In response to a series of articles concerning homeschooling but written by non-homeschoolers, I asked if the real homeschoolers would please stand up. There are a lot of people writing “how to” essays about homeschooling, but very few of them have any real firsthand knowledge of how to go about educating their children at home. The first homeschooler to raise her hand was TwistedSister. She wrote:

"Eight years ago we started homeschooling. When I decided to leave the classroom to teach our three children, I decided we had to have a specific room with properly sized tables and chairs for the different ages. I learned to drywall, how to install a drop ceiling, and to lay carpet that summer. I also built two tables (with the help of our handyman neighbor across the street) one at preschool height and one normal height. We started with five other families in our basement, four mothers and twelve kids. I closed-in the front porch for an entryway. The kids all had hooks for their coats and a dry place to leave their shoes. I screened in the back deck so the kids would have an area to sit for lunch without a bunch of flies swarming over their food. We had a swing set, a sandbox, and a trampoline in the backyard."

Twisted’s initial approach to homeschooling matched that of several of the Helium writers that suggested homeschoolers needed a specific space designated for homeschooling. How did that work out? “The classroom we built has rarely ever been used for studies. The boys don't like it.” They’ve switched from working at tables to studying at individual desks and moved back to tables. She wrote, “They finally found that they loved working at different spots in the house for different subjects. The kitchen table is best for English, the couch for history and health, the master bed for math.” They study outside, on their trampoline, and even on a Physical Therapy ball. And you don’t want to be a snake in the grass near Twisted’s homeschool. I watched her dissect a snake on her driveway. She’s fast. She had the head off, the body split open, and the still beating heart exposed in less than a minute.

“You don't need a lot to homeschool,” she added. “I still fight the urge to establish our schedule like a public school schedule. That's how I was taught. I then get frustrated within the first two weeks of school because I can't stand it. We are adjusting our workload to fit our style. That doesn't mean I drop any of their lessons. They still keep a full load, and we will get through it together, side-by-side on the couch most of the time.”

She completed her essay with one final thought. “This is a real homeschooler standing up.”

It’s refreshing to read an active homeschooler share her experiences rather than theories presented by writers with no real knowledge or experience about their topics.

You can read TwistedSisterinChrist’s entire essay, Eight Years of Homeschooling Brings Lots of Changes, at her blog, Eat, Fart, and Bark.


  1. I started out with the designated "classroom" - our playroom upstairs. It really was an ideal place for a classroom--room for a whiteboard, for bookcases, for worktables. It would have impressed anyone looking in. Then I began to homeschool. It was so impractical to try to stay holed up in one room for the day. Plus, I'm also the mom around here--there were meals to the kitchen. Now our "base" is the kitchen table, but the kids take their work wherever they will best complete it. It's great being in the kitchen. No, I can't set up the kitchen table with namecards or allow the kids to store their pencils in a neat case under the tabletop, but the kitchen is the center of our home. Why shouldn't it also be the center of our homeschool?

  2. Oh boy. That sounds like me!! (well except for the snake part!) I had a FANTASTIC school room for years. Some days it got used, others it did Playmobil, etc, on their desks. Just not school. If I wasn't in there...which as a mom with stuff to do outside the school room I wasn't always in there...they didn't want to be in there. I'd end up with all three kids at the kitchen table. Or on the couch. Or reading literature in the bathroom! ('s a GREAT place to read!) Thanks, Twisted!!