Homeschooling the Eclectic Way. Sometimes Learning Doesn't go in One Direction.

in Natural Medicine2 months ago

My daughters started out in the school system. My eldest, Angel, soaked up information like a sponge and was reading by the age of 3. She just loved to learn and was excited to start “big school.“ Unfortunately, her ability to pick everything up so quickly became a problem as they couldn't keep up with it and she was bored, literally to tears, before half of the school year was done. Basically, she learns however the knowledge comes to her. Some methods might be slower to sink in, but they'll get there in the end.

My youngest, Izzy, was completely different. I often ended up teaching her at home so she could understand the work she was given in school. I've since come to learn that she is probably a right brain learner and often learns things in a different order to the way that schools like to teach. She learns better given a more visual and hands on approach.


I took my daughters out of school just before Angel's, 10th birthday, to start homeschooling them. I'd read about deschooling, which is having a couple of months out for them to get the school routines out of their system. However, they were eager to start, so we only had a couple of weeks out to make the most of Angel's birthday. Unfortunately, my own school conditioning came into action and while Angel lapped everything up, because it was new and therefore exciting, I got off to a bad start with Izzy.

My own school experience wasn't too mainstream, because I went to a Waldorf school, but when my daughters were in school I'd helped out and the teacher “educated” me as to the traditional schooling methods. So off I went with the girls to the library and got Izzy started on the levels reading books. Angel was already way beyond that and got to pick any books she wanted. I soon learnt that Izzy hated those reading levels books with a passion, and it wasn't long before she refused to read anything.

There were fights, tears and I had no idea what to do. I didn't want her to not enjoy reading and miss out on the chance to enjoy a wonderful array of stories. Eventually we reached a compromise. I told her that she had to choose 4 books, whenever we went to the library. She should choose anything that looked like it might appeal to her and if she really didn't like it after the first few pages, then she didn't have to continue reading it. It took several trips, but she did finally find a series of children's books she enjoyed.

Over the years, we tried various learning styles. We started out doing school at home, with a Waldorf flavour. Then we migrated more towards learning through play. I think we ended up just saying we did eclectic learning, because the girls pretty much lead with their own input on how they wanted to learn. We’d start a learning method they enjoyed, then they'd get bored, so we'd try something else. Sometimes it was workbooks, sometimes learning through creating things. Not surprisingly, they particularly liked online programmes and learning games.

In the early days we'd join in with homeschool educational trips, but they were often aimed at a much younger age group, so the girls didn't always enjoy them or feel like they gained much from them. They much preferred spending time with some homeschooled friends they made, who lived nearby and were closer to their age. This foursome became almost inseparable and taught each other so much. It was hard on everyone when the family moved to another state.

Having the girls lead how they wanted their learning to go worked well, up until the last couple of years. Angel wanted to go on to university, so we got in touch with them and they told us that the Math Track course would allow her to enter university with her not having her high school certificate. So she was able to do what she wanted and worked for a while, as long as she focused on completing the course. For someone who was used to everything coming easy to her, she found the course much harder than expected, but got through it eventually and went to England for a few months of life learning. Then she was told that the course was no longer a pathway to university. So she had to wait until her 18th birthday and take the STAT entry test, but finally she was in. She was learning topics that were mostly way beyond me, so I was grateful she was able to manage it all herself.

Izzy doesn't want to go to university. She'd do better in an apprenticeship environment, but she won't be able to do one until the year after she turns 17. So what to do until then. With the employment environment the way it is, she'd probably be better off with some sort of certification behind her to have a chance of being accepted into an apprenticeship. So we face the challenge of formal education for a girl who always struggled with it. However, we may have finally found a compromise with Inventorium. She will still have to jump through the SACE (South Australian Certificate of Education) hoops, but they try to do it in a way that is nothing like school and links the student's interests to the compulsory SACE subjects. To do this we will need to sign up with Open Access College. It's nerve wracking for both of us, because I know she'll likely need more support from myself through it. I hope I'm up to the task. It’s been a long time since I studied at this level.



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I am sure you will enjoy leaning with Izzy.. you are a life-long learner yourself and I am sure you will rise to the challenge. How different your girls are!

We'll get through it, I'm sure.
They are very similar to my older sister and myself, when it comes to learning.

Thank you for this post. I am strongly considering homeschooling my children. My son is supposed to be registering now, but I am still hesitating. If I follow my gut instincts he won't be registering for kindergarten this year. I look forward to reading more articles about your homeschooling journey with your girls.

We recently started a homeschooling community, @HomeEdders, to try and help support home educating members and posts on here. It's not very active at the moment, but we've got some lovely members, many of whom are also in the naturalmedicine community. @crosheille, @trucklife-family, @ryivhnn and @bia.birch probably post the most in that area. Some have gone a little quiet on the posting front, but hopefully we'll hear more from them again. If you click on the "website" link on the @HomeEdders page that should have a link to join the discord where you can always ask others more about homeschooling and their views. assuming it's not completely dead. It has gone a bit quiet.

I’m nearing the end of my journey with my girls, but I try to share what I've learnt in hindsight.

Very interesting to read more about you and your children's homeschooling journey.

It's certainly been a changing one.
Thank you for reading.

Good day to you @minismallholding, You are amazing to take on the challenge of homeschooling. I know several families, who took on that challenge, one woman that has 6 children. I was amazed how well the children are doing, but she will be the first one to say, it's not easy because of all the kids different ages BUT also how differently each child learns.
Good for you for rising to occasion, wish you and your girls the very best.

Two children were enough for me! I'm in awe of those who raise and educate more.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

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Had moderator visit the other day and it was strongly recommended eldest do OLNA of thinking about getting a TAFE certificate to assist in the uni application side of things down the line. That one is going to be entertaining as while eldest has to go to uni to b able to do what he currently wants to do, he's really not that interested right now so has zero drive which always makes things fun.

And I think I'd be in a similar boat as you with having to give a lot of support and not having that kind of study for the better part of forever XD

Good luck!

I had to look up OLNA. Why do all the states have to do things so differently?

Do you get certain TAFE certificate levels for free via the school registration? We looked at doing a photography course for Izzy, but it was certificate 4 or a diploma (only up to certificate 3 is covered via the school, costs wise). The cost was $10,000 for the certificate which takes 6 months and $12,000 for the diploma. That's more than the subsidised uni fees I'm paying for Angel!

Just to make our lives difficult! Or maybe because they all think their way of doing it is the best way? Who knows?! [flail]

I actually have no idea as I haven't looked into that. I generally assume we have to fork out unless someone that knows tells me otherwise.

Owch that's pretty expensive x_x

Wow, what a journey. I love reading about homeschooling and unschooling, I hope I can make some humans and let them figure out this world for themselves, I hope I don’t mess them up too bad X-D

I'm sure they'll do just fine! 😆

wow I have this all ahead of me, mine are still young, the eldest only 10 and then 7, it is so obvious to be how differently they learn, I try to let them find there way but it has taken me a lot of unschooling to take a step back. you are an amazing parent xx

Thank you.
I think as you approach the teens that's where many homeschooling parents have the hard choices to make with regards their adult future in this system. Do you put them in some sort of formal schooling to obtain the expected certifications if they aren't interested or don't know what to do moving forward? Perhaps unschooled children will have a better idea of what they want their direction to be by then than those who have had guidance pushed upon them.

I love when we find compromises that works for all. We went through a stage with my daughter where she didn’t want to read any more. We had to figure out something that worked to keep her reading.

One of the joys about teaching your children is having that freedom to try things out and then change them up if need be. You make decisions according to what works for each individual. Kudos to you mama for sticking with it and finding relatable ways that helped your daughters learn :)

I really enjoyed this post @minismallholding. With our large family, we spent years with homeschooling (also public schools, Christian schools, "pre-college" trips to the local community colleges, and mixes ...), so we are very familiar with what you write on here.

We know about how challenging this is ...

"... and while Angel lapped everything up, because it was new and therefore exciting, I got off to a bad start with Izzy."

... as we are all uniquely created. And, therefore, think and work in different ways. No one way better or worse than the other. Just different ...

Now "empty nesters", (do the Aussies have a word for this?), we look back "in the rearview mirror" of life and see much more clearly than we did looking out "the windshield" of life. Oh that we get better at the latter ... A work in progress ...

Your lead image does a very nice job, as a "word picture" for all of this. 👍 Thanks for your efforts in creating this great post!

Thank you for saying so, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I'm actually from the UK originally, so I know the term empty nesters from there. I would assume Australians use the term too, or at least familiar with it.

That's great to hear we have another here who's experienced homeschooling. If you ever feel like writing about some of your experiences I'd love it if you tagged #homeschooling so we can find it to share on the @HomeEdders community account.

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