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Life Without Alarm Clocks; Or, Why I’m Homeschooling

You’re warm and snuggly in your bed. Cozy. Dreaming. Beep, Beep, Beep, Beeeeeeep!!! Your peaceful reverie is interrupted by the shrill insistence of the alarm clock. If you’re lucky, the ones with the soft beep work for you. If not, you may have one of those awful ringing contraptions that causes you to levitate off the bed when it wakens you.

I really, really don’t like waking to alarm clocks. Man wasn’t meant to wake at artificially designated times. We are meant to wake when we are rested or even with the light. And as my kids have (blessedly) grown out of the baby and toddler stages, they have become much better sleepers. Occasionally, I even wake before they do. But I just love waking to the sound of them giggling or chatting in their rooms. I love that they have the unhurried flexibility to wake when their growing bodies are rested. Then, and only then, do we start our day.

art museum My hair stylist asked me today what drew me to homeschooling. I’m still very new to it–we’ve only been at it for six months–but one of the biggest aspects of homeschooling that I treasure is the freedom and flexibility. Although I developed a schedule at the beginning, we have embraced it as a loose routine, rather than a clock-dictated regimen. There’s a school bus that drives around my neighborhood at 6:45 am! That means the kids are up way before that to get dressed and eat and run out to the bus. Whether we wake at 7 am or 8 am, it doesn’t matter. If we skip schoolwork on a Thursday, we can easily make it up on Saturday. We are never rushing to make snacks or lunches, get dressed, or catch a bus in the morning. Our days are ours, and we have really taken advantage of that. Midweek field trips have been awesome. In October alone, we did a train ride, visited the local art museum (a picture of my daughter with an interactive exhibit is at right), went to the zoo, went to the circus, and went to Disney on Ice.

Homeschooling has also allowed us to maintain an afternoon nap, for both our almost 3-yr old and our 4.5 yr old. They both still happily nap 90 min-2 hrs daily.

So flexibility in scheduling is a great perk. Another is flexibility in curriculum. We began the year using Singapore math and discovered after several months that it just wasn’t a good fit for my daughter. We have switched to Math-U-See, which comes with a DVD of video clips and uses lots of hands-on manipulatives and seems to be “clicking” much better. If she was in a public school and the curriculum wasn’t working for her, it’d be tough cookies. What’s working for us now is Explode the Code for language arts, Math-U-See for math, unit studies for science, and I Love America for history. We do a couple art projects or crafts each week. We use bean bags and a parachute for music and p.e.

The curriculum, then, is specifically tailored to my daughter’s learning style and the “class” pace is dictated by her learning. You can’t beat a class size of one for personalized instruction. I know when she’s confused about new material. She can’t slip through the cracks if she doesn’t understand something. At the same time, if she immediately grasps a new concept, we don’t have to do 50 practice problems.

I love this comic of 20 Great Reasons to Homeschool. It hits on a lot of the biggies for me–everything from randomly baking during the day, to socializing with people of all ages (we go to the gym, library storytime, MOPS, and have playdates all the time, so socialization is not an issue), to teaching values.  I also really appreciate that my kids are eating food that I prepare for them and we can talk about nutrition and what’s really healthy at mealtimes and they aren’t comparing their lunches to other kids’ cookies, chips, and pizza.

We are living life in the present and I can’t say whether or not we will always homeschool, but for now, we are a happy, healthy, well-rested family.

3 Responses to “Life Without Alarm Clocks; Or, Why I’m Homeschooling”

  1. Jill says:

    Having your own schedule DOES sound amazing. 😀

  2. cory says:

    Hi! My name is Cory! I am a Wife to a wonderful man & Mommy to 4 little monkey’s! Do you do an online course for your homeschooling. Exactly how do you go about getting the Math-u- see & Explode etc.? I am contemplating on homeschooling my 8 (almost 9 year old) little guy. He struggles so much in school and has always been slower in learning. Honestly, the thought of homeschooling him scares me out of my mind! He is my most difficult child and I don’t know if I can handle him being home all day, with out me loosing it, seriously! Thank you so much for your time! I really appreciate it!

    • Super Veggie Mom says:

      Hi Cory! I do not do online homeschooling, although we supplement with http://www.starfall.com and http://www.abcya.com. I really like the interaction and my kids are still quite young, so we limit screen time. As far as where I get materials–Math-U-See I ordered from their website and Explode the Code is available on Amazon. We get most of our history and science from library books–huge selection and it’s FREE! :)
      I am still fairly new to homeschooling, but I will say that if your child is struggling in school, esp. with the speed that material is being presented, he could definitely benefit from homeschooling. No one is more personally invested in your child’s learning than you! You can tailor lessons to him, slow down or speed up as required, offer alternative explanations, etc. And if you’re stressed, you can do what I did today and just bake muffins with your kids. 😉
      I highly recommend joining the Practical Homeschooling group on Facebook–it has thousands of members, with many years experience homeschooling among them. You can post questions and get lots of information from them. I learn something new every day. They also have an inexpensive magazine. Their website is http://www.home-school.com/
      Similarly, there are probably homeschooling support groups and co-ops in your area that a Google search will turn up.
      Best of luck in your decision-making!

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