Friday, April 18, 2014

How to Start Homeschooling Naturally

Once the decision is made to homeschool it can be challenging to know where to start and what to do.   When I made the decision to homeschool the 5th child it was when she was 2 years old. There were many avenues I could of taken.  Her environment was already one of exploring, playing and natural learning.  In a short 2 years she had learned to sit up, crawl, stand, walk and talk and think! Wow, imagine the amount the body can absorb and learn to do all that!  I had read a book on baby sign language before she was born and also taught her baby sign language before she could even speak so that I could give her a tool to communicate with.  It was amazing that at 6 months old she used her first sign with me and from then until she could use words, we communicated in sign language.  By the time you get to the 5th child, you get smarter and a little more creative, unfortunately the things you wished you had done, or wished someone had told you when you had your first child, you don't become skilled at until you have parent/child experience and with each child I learned as they learned.  We don't have a parent manual of a one size fits all 'what to do' and 'what not to do' when we become a parent.   I can say I did a lot of the 'to dos' and 'not to dos' by trial and error and by own  upbringing with my parents.  Little D at 2 years old had already so much going for her, she could speak very well, count to 20, do 100 piece puzzles, was super obedient and clearly I decided I was the best mother ever.  It wasn't until number 6 came along that every thing I ever thought I knew about motherhood and parenting went out the window! That is another blog I am going to start soon on the 'Gifted Learning Disabled'. 

Regardless of those experiences, the environment I provided for Little D and with her little sister 6 years later 'Little M' were the same.  The homeschool environment should be matching a place for free play and natural opportunities for the child to explore their world.  I started with just having my mornings devoted to play, reading books in a corner of the living room, or on a couch, or the floor, or kitchen table. We had crafts available, scissors to cut with, glue, and glitter. Toys were in the toy box, in the bedrooms and I would often rotate different ones in and out.   We had drums, a keyboard, maracas and music Cd's galore for singing and dancing along too.  Computers games for kids to learn on were just becoming mainstream and she at 2 could work a mouse and figure some things out. Today with my youngest its a whole different computer scene!  There was the favorite Barney Videos that had to be watched over and over again.  There were characters to act out from the various children movies they watched. Many times Tinkerbell or Snow White would show up for breakfast in the morning and we would play out the role with Little D who no longer was Little D but  in full character.  I acted out many parts for the princess movies she adored watching. There were many apples with one bite taken out of them as Little D would rewind the scene multiple times a day where Snow White would eat the apple and be poisoned.  There was little D also falling on the floor in a full out faint with the apple rolling away.  Often I was the prince, the fairy godmother, the wicked stepmother in each scene where appropriate and she was Cinderella. We must have acted out the same scene 50 times, each time cued perfectly to her timing.   When we went to the store it was learning, when I cooked there was learning, when we gardened there was learning.    The home environment was key to providing her a place to create freely, unencumbered from any structure aside from the structured time I set aside every morning to be completely engaged in their world.

Often I have heard new mothers starting their homeschool journeys concerned about where and how to start.  Feeling so much pressure on them to educate their child to prepare them for life, I know I did.  It can be daunting and seem overwhelming.  Keep in mind that a child has a natural learning ability and they will form their character from those first 7 years.  From the time they are born, speak to them with clear concise words and make sure your words match the correct meaning even through play.  A child's vocabulary or lack of vocabulary has a huge impact as studies now show in the first 18 months of a child's life that affect their learning in higher education.   The more words a child has spoken to them daily has impacts on their learning as they grow.

Here is a quote from the following article ""...By the time a child is three there will be about 1,000 trillion connections in his brain, and that child’s experiences continuously determine which are strengthened and which pruned. This process, gradual and more-or-less irreversible, shapes the trajectory of the child’s life..."

We underestimate the human body and with so much new information coming out with common sense perspectives, we may just be able to design that parent manual after all.   There will be many opportunities for your child to learn as they lead you to their passions and joys through play.  Whether you stick with homeschool or not, the environment is a key point to their natural learning ability and the way they will learn.  Enjoy the moments and watch your child blossom.


  1. Great article.

    My nieces and nephews has been homeschooling for seven years now and is using curriculum from AOP every year. It is so nice to know that AOP is there with so many great products to make mom's life easier. This is their website: