Friday, October 24, 2008

Our Homeschooling Style: Flopping

I've noticed that I pretty much hear the same questions when I tell people we are homeschooling. Non-homeschoolers always ask about socialization and how I can possibly teach subjects I don't know. Other homeschoolers always ask about homeschooling styles and curricula. I usually answer that we are eclectic homeschoolers, who use whatever is working and adapt as necessary.

The topic of homeschooling styles came up again the other day. Tuesday was one of those really "good" homeschooling days. A lot of dynamic learning went on here. It was palpable. It was chaotic, messy, loud and squirmy, but everyone's needs were being met. As I was describing it to DH late that night, I told him that the four of us didn't leave the 6 ft. x 9 ft. area rug in our family room for about 3 hours, except to get a different book, a drink/snack, or go to the bathroom.

We were sprawled out on the floor, in a mass of books, papers, pencils, laptop, "Pizza Math" game, "Candyland," flashcards, markers, crayons, coloring sheets, and construction paper. LilBro was climbing all over me. Princess made her own phonics reader. BigBro and I worked through some measurement problems, and then he created his own measuring tape... marking spaces down to 1/16th of an inch. The kids pulled together a short play, which I uploaded to the blog. It was exactly how I pictured homeschooling when I first imagined it, nursing newborn BigBro six years ago.

You see, I am a "flopper." My parents bought me a beautiful, matching bedroom set when I was a child. It had a canopy bed, large dresser with mirror, and a desk with hutch. I never once -- not one single time in my entire childhood -- sat at that desk to write a letter or do some homework. I did all of my homework, reading, and writing flopped down on my bed.

When we first started homeschooling two years ago, I turned the playroom into a school room. We have a big table, some filing cabinets and bookshelves, and the computer table in there. The kids spend a good deal of time in there, listening to music and creating art projects. But that's not where we do our school work. We do our school work flopped down on the floor of the family room (except for the science experiments that happen in the kitchen). It turns out, my kids are "floppers," too. We all seem to work better when we can sprawl out, and, really, there is no space in our home that is more cozy, warm and welcoming than our family room. It's no wonder that's where we all end up together every day.

And isn't that what this homeschooling thing is really about anyway? All of us together... living, learning, growing ... wherever and however works best.

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