Don’t Get Caught Up in the Homeschool Feeding FrenzySuzanne Broadhurst
So many options, so many activities, so many creative ideas are available in the world of education.
It used to be, homeschooled students had to walk a mile or two just to borrow a book. A couple hundred years later, ideas are as close as a click on a computer or a short drive to the library, not to mention the b-word: bookstore.
Given the homeschoolers’ appetite for knowledge, it’s an edu-feeding frenzy out there. And what a gift to our generation that is! There are more edu-fish in the knowledge-sea than we could possibly ever consume. But for your sanity – and your child’s – try not to get caught up in the Gotta Do It All Because We Homeschool Frenzy.
Where’s All the Pressure Coming From?
It’s one thing to eat fish to our heart’s content. It’s another to be driven to eat more than we are hungry for because of pressure from the outside. From my experience, the pressure comes from at least four places:
- the non-homeschooling world
- the homeschooling world
- the secular world
- the Christian world
Each world offers an abundance of options within their systems. The massive measure of imagination in the homeschool world alone creates an ever-increasing kettle of Can Do’s to choose from. If we think we can – or should – do it all, we can feel like we aren’t doing enough. Ever.
An Abundance of Options
Think fish, lots and lots of edu-fish: a variety of sizes, shapes, tastes, baiting-methods, dangers and preparation styles.
- Edu-style choices.
- Curriculum choices.
- Reading choices.
- Home environment choices.
- Even meal choices.
After making the one big decision to homeschool, parents then make many individual choices with conscientious thought toward the needs of their own family.
Much prayer and a steady application of boundaries keep the fishing boat afloat.
Use a Net To Cull Choices
I used to fish with my family from the deck of my dad’s boat. We each had at least one fishing line to watch. We caught fish one by one, sometimes two by two when we had more than one hook on the line, or more than one pole was hit simultaneously.
I still remember my dad scurrying between his fishing poles and mine when we hit a biting school! As soon as he’d get one fish off the hook, the next pole needed attention!
But when we bought bait, we used a net to scoop hundreds of squirming anchovies into our bait tank. If we had to fish for our bait, one anchovy at a time, we would have been out to sea much longer, with a much reduced final catch.
Relating that experience to education, if we use an edu-net rather than a fishing line we can catch more curriculum in a shorter amount of time. And with less scurrying.
What Do I Mean by Edu-Net?
Small publishers have the task – and the pleasure – to carefully choose the materials they sell. They tend to have a statement of faith (or non-faith) whether it’s stated explicitly or not; they sift their offerings through their world view, as well as their educational mindset. Once we find a publisher we mesh with, we can use it as a net from which to choose curriculum.
Let me give you a quick personal example. Years ago, I read a book Maggie Hogan (aka Mrs. Bright Ideas Press) co-wrote called Gifted Children at Home. I found an edu-soul mate. Her edu-heart beats in rhythm with my own.
And just as importantly, with my children. She seemed to understand something about my growing young ones that I only had a vague glimpse of. Although they had not yet communicated with one another, she pegged them and their learning styles.
Thinking of that book like a fish to feed on, I knew I could trust the curriculum that Bright Ideas Press produced. Although each selection would hold a different place on the edu-meal plate, I knew the flavors would be complimentary.
The Publisher Became the Edu-Net
The publisher became the edu-net that freed me from fishing for every meal. I could scoop up curriculum knowing that my children would devour the knowledge set before them with pleasure rather than pick at it with distaste. Yes, Bright Ideas Press knows how children like their learning seasoned.