Our Method of Homeschooling

Through the years we have often been asked, which method of homeschooling we use. It has never been important to us to have a method of homeschooling. But we learned that to many homeschoolers it was very important to define themselves in a method. The method defined who they were. Especially with those people we met who defined themselves as unschoolers.

We don’t define ourselves as homeschoolers. Homeschooling is something we do at the moment. We may have done it for 11 years now, but it is still not our identity. It is a personal choice to us.

When we started meeting people who said they were unschooling, we heard about the method and thought, well that is what we do. Child-led and interest based learning. But the people we met said, we were not allowed to call ourselves unschoolers, because we sometimes use classic school material and sometimes teach our children classic knowledge, as learning to read, write and math.

Well, just the fact that other people saw themselves in the position to judge other peoples lives, without having lived it, made us quite negative to the unschooling method. It seemed more and more like an ideology or religion. But most of all it seemed like the main focus in unschooling, was to reject and be against all classical learning and school-like learning.

We see homeschooling as a positive way of learning, that can be merged into daily life and gives you a wonderful opportunity to get to follow your children’s learning and development. What you call that, really don’t matter to us. It is just a definition. There are already too many boxes in life.

Our homeschool is all about content, not ideology. But people around us got more and more angry with us, if we called us the sacred word – unschoolers. So I started looking into what methods there was to choose from on the market, or if I would have to invent my own word, for what we do. Well, we found the following methods on the market (I have organised them in the order of amount of discipline involved. Most discipline first, least discipline at the end):

  • The Classical Method
  • School-at-Home
  • Unit Studies
  • Eclectic
  • Charlotte Mason
  • Montessori
  • Waldorf
  • World Schooling
  • Free learners
  • Natural learners
  • Self directed learners
  • Unschooling
  • un-parenting

One particular box we seemed to fit into, was Eclectic learning. It is a method that mixes all methods and uses it as a palette of colours as you need them. Most homeschoolers end as Eclectic learners, when they have been homeschooling for many years. It is a natural process of learning – to stay open to all methods.

So to us, confining ourselves to a method, is more of a communication tool, to communicate with particularly unschoolers, where method seems very important. We just live and learn.

If it should happen that some people that call themselves Eclectic learners should forbid us to call us Eclectic Learners, we would just call us the Pippi Longstocking and Gyro Gearloose method. It wouldn’t be a problem to us.

Homeschool Burnout

It wasn’t long after I started Homeschooling, that I experienced my first Homeschool Burnout episode. My husband reads a lot and sent me a link to this phenomenon. It actually helped me quite a lot to read and see some videoes on this subject. Then I didn’t feel so alone with this feeling anymore.

I think most Homeschoolers set out with so many ideas about how they want their Homeschool to be. They have great enthusiasm and just really want to do a really great job, bringing up their children.

I have always had larger expectation to live than good is, and it already before having children, some times exhausted myself to the extreme. Having children and 2 children close to each other in age, gave me a wake up call. I had to rethink my gratitude towards what was humanly possible for me to achieve, with all the daily chores on top of teaching the kids.

If you never feel like you get enough done, you have to sit down and think about the way you think. Not just keep on working away until you drop.

My husband said a few magical things to help me. He said:”Does the children look happy? Do they thrive? Do they sing and dance all day? Yes they do! So what do you worry about?” He also said:”When you feel in doubt about whether you are doing a good enough job, always think about the alternative. Then you will never doubt yourself anymore”.

Well, what is Homeschool Burnout? To me it occurs, when all the children ask me stuff, or ask for help at the same time. Meanwhile, the bread is burning in the oven, I did not get enough sleep during the night, because I also had a baby to look after and I also have a job to go to and maintain. When I wake up looking forward to just get all those basic things done, so that we can get to the fun stuff, like painting, going for a walk, sit down quietly and read, or just finish a chapter in history, but the whole day just vanishes between my fingers and I don’t really know what we actually did that day. I am just knackered and feel like I am inside the washing machine on high spin.

So I sat down and thought about how I could look better after myself. Everybody around me said that they loved me, and that I was doing a great job of our children’s schooling. So why was I not satisfied with myself? First reason – I needed more sleep. Second – I needed to look at self love. Third – I had to manage my stress level.

My oldest daughter did a great thing for me. She made this bottle with “I love you because …………….” and allowed me to take a dosis of three notes every time I ended up in this situation. I cried, because it was just the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for me. To receive so much love from your children was magic.

What I have done to manage Homeschool Burnout, is this:

  • I prioritize sleep.
  • I do positive affirmations every day.
  • I meditate for 20 minutes every day.
  • We all have 1 hour quiet time every day.
  • I try to see it coming, and plan ahead, if I have particular large challenges coming up.
  • I hug a lot and laugh and dance.

Make a wish

Every year we make a wish list. Usually we update it half-annually. What does that mean? Well, we sit down on the first day of school (which is usually one week into August, when we decide to start the new formal year).

So we sit down together and the children can write their wishes for that year down on a piece of paper. The list could look something like this:

Go to the zoo.

Visit a friend.

Learn to juggle.

Play the guitar.

Learn to make your own clothes.

Go swim in a lake.

Learn a language.

Sleep in a forest.

Visit a museum of choice.

Make a website.

So we sit down, and go through the wishes, talk through what each one involves, and talk about when to do it. And if it is possible for us economically and other practical issues. We set dates and usually we manage to do around 75% of the things during the first part of the year. So after new year, we sit down again, and rewrite our list with what is left, if we still want to do those things left. Then add new ideas.

We are really fond of this idea and have used it for many years now. As a mother I get great inspiration. The children get their influence on our homeschool. The kids learn to feel deep down what they really would like to do.

It is also a practice in communication and negotiation. We do most things together, so sometimes one person really don’t find a thing interesting, and is resistant to come. But sometimes they get surprised that the activity actually was really fun anyway. They get more ready to try new things, and tolerant towards trying to understand other peoples wishes.

We teach positive thinking

Louise Hay has been a huge inspiration in my life. Her book “Heal your life” has helped and still helps me with dealing with past, present and future. I try to give this on to the children. We have gotten so far, with positive thinking, that the children will remind me about it, when I loose focus. They try to help me, and I try to help them to get a great magnificent life that they deserve.

Positive thinking is to us like physical exercise. You have to work hard and regularly at it, to keep the mind thinking positive. The mind really wan’t to go back to negative thoughts.

This exercise is to me much like commercial advertisements. If you keep sending your mind positive thoughts, they will reprogramme your mind. Slowly it will start changing your thought patterns.

Our favorite positive affirmations are these:

  1. All is well in my world.
  2. I love myself and I am lovable.
  3. I am safe and at peace.
  4. I enjoy the foods that are best for my body.
  5. I have plenty of time for all the things I have to do today.
  6. There is always more to learn.

Another great soul to listen to, is Ester Hicks for support to achieve your goals in life.

Let thy food be thy medicine.

In our homeschool food, eating food, making food and talking about food takes up a lot of our time. We are really compassionate about making food choices that benefit our bodies and minds. During the years, we have struggled with different health issues, and found that where the doctor could not help, or ordered medicine that was not a cure, but a symptom treatment, we would try in any way possible to improve our health the natural way. We have had so many great effects on our general health from making specific food choices, that has made the children aware of the effect of food on the body and mind.

An example of our lunch.

A really good book on the subject that we started out borrowing from the library, is “Spisebogen”. After reading this book and other studies, we made a project, where the children made a book where they cut out food from magazines and put into the book, with sections on all the different vitamins and minerals the body need and other vital needs, like water and fats.

This book has been a great inspiration to us.

We have read and talked about ways of choosing to eat. We have also tried many different diets and specifically The SCD diet has worked well for us (Specific Carbohydrate Diet). But we have also found that meat and fat in general does not sit wonderfully with us, so we mostly choose fish and lean chicken if we eat meat at all with a meal. We also eat glutenfree and have done for 6 years now. We don’t drink milk, as we can’t digest it. In general we try to choose foods that give as high nutrition as possible.

We hug vegetables.

We have found that what is the main way to keep healthy, is doing what you can to strengthen your immune system. So making sure you get as many vitamins, minerals and fats through your diet, as possible. But food is not enough. We also try to get fresh air and exercise every day. Positive thinking and trying to put yourself in other peoples shoes, is also a way to better health. We often read Louise Hay and she is a great inspiration to us. So is yoga and meditation.

Christmas Calender Story by our oldest daughter 2018-12-01

Our oldest daughter loves to read and write.  She has written stories ever since she learned to write as a 6 year old. Now she has taken up the challenge to complete a Christmas Calender. The story is called “Snow Storm”. She loves fairy tales and fantasy. She also loves mythology, chemistry, traditions and stories that ends well. So if you like traditional fairy tales that ends well, with lots of excitement and lovely characters this is for you. You can also read the story as text on our daughters own website: martha.schou.dk

Life is Magic. We intend to keep it so.

Life is magic. Learning more and more about Mother Earth, makes us realize just how magic life is. We try to bring that into our Home School. Especially Science is often like magic to us. Our world is just so AMAZING! it is so weird, and the more you read about it the weirder and more magical it is.

We love life! We love nature, we even love the Periodic Table.

We also love the unexplainable magic. The magic that is in our minds and develops our ideas and creativity. The silly magic and the down right childish magic, that adults are told again and again to grow out of. Well, I am sorry, but we just won’t.

On the picture you see the Portal Changer from¬† Hayao Miyazaki¬† movie “Howl’s Moving Castle”. It really got to us. So we decided to make our own, to be able to change world, when we leave the house.