Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooling Family :: The Mellerke Family

:: Tell us a little about your family, how long you have been homeschooling and the ages of your children.

We have been homeschooling since birth essentially. Both my husband and I were highly disappointed in our experiences in the public school realm and knew we did not want the same set of experiences for our children. Focus on the arts and music and individual expression are very important to us, as well as making sure that individual passions can be pursued without any restraints or interference.  Our children are free to learn their way and on their time so that they get the most out of their experience.  Learning is always happening, at all times, for all ages, in all locations and we wanted to make sure that they grew up with a love of learning.  Here they are free to ask the hard questions, challenge themselves and us, and really experience all that it means to be their own person.  Currently my children are 8, 7, and almost 3. 

:: Do you use a particular method?  Share with us a few of your favorite curriculum.

I do not have a favorite when it comes to curriculum, as we do not use one.  While we have tried all the main different types and ways of homeschooling, and as much as I preferred to have a set schedule, that was just not what worked for us.  While I typically guard against labels, we identify most closely as unschoolers or whole life learners. We do a lot of trips because we highly value experiences.  The kids are involved in all aspects of our daily lives including shopping, budget making, cooking, health and nutrition, keeping house, scheduling activities, and other day to day skills.  They are involved in handicrafts and and other beginning trades.  We give them as much opportunity as we can to learn from a vast wealth of things available to them.  We ask them to identify problems and decide which ones they would like to help solve as they continue to grow and develop so that we can be sure to steer them in the right direction for their futures.

:: Are you involved in a co-op, and/or do you participate in homeschool groups?

We tried out a good number of different groups and co ops but we have settled quite nicely into two main homeschooling groups that we enjoy. So far it does not seem that co ops work well with our current methods, although it does not mean we would not be open to one in the future. 

:: Do you follow a strict schedule, predictable rhythm, or do you work your lessons around that day's activities? 

As much as I would really like to have stricter schedule, we do not.  I am the only one who feels comfortable working under those kind of constraints, so we ditched it.  We are very go with the flow here.  Everyone is typically up by 7, although the youngest may sleep in longer.  We get chores and breakfast out of the way and the kids will typically get some screen time while they decide what they want to work on.  To be quite honest, some days its nothing more than sitting in their rooms with whatever current book I cannot tear them away from.  Other times, they are crafting or interacting with other friends.  Or there are days where they take the more traditional route and take out workbooks and practice writing or math or phonics or writing or whatever interests them during that moment. And still other days they are using the computer to code, or research, or explore deeper areas of math or science or history.  There are days where they do all of these things, and there are days where they just need a break.  The important thing is they are free to make the choices that fit them best.  We are child centered, so each day and each learning experience looks different for each child.  They have a fairly flexible bedtime, although usually no later than 10, and sometimes as early as 7.  Its done to make sure that they are learning to listen to the cues of their bodies and learn to meet their individual needs, which is a skill that I feel is important and many adults have had to relearn.

:: How long does it take you to do school everyday?

There is no set schedule or time frame.  Here learning can take place at any time and anywhere.

:: What advice would you give to other homeschooling families?

Do not feel like you need to pick one type or label of homschooling and fit into it exactly.  Mesh a few together, try a bunch of things.  Keep what fits and toss what does not.  There are not homeschool police who will tell you that you are not following classical education right, or you aren't a radical enough unschooler, or anything like that (and if they do, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life anyway!). And the biggest thing, DO NOT compare your children to anyone elses children.  Each child is different and each child will learn differently.  Each family has a different method.  And try not to compare your children to their public school counterparts. They are not being taught the same way or with the same philosophies, so its entirely okay if they are entirely on different playing fields in certain areas, things will always eventually even out.  

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to join us Nikki!

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