Monday, April 7, 2014

What is Relaxed Homeschooling?

I'm excited to be participating in the Schoolhouse Review Crew's 5 Day Blog Hop again!  These have been so much fun in the past, and this time I am sharing 5 Days of Relaxed Homeschooling.

I wanted to discuss Relaxed Homeschooling, because when I am among local homeschoolers, I feel out of place.  I am definitely the most non-traditional homeschooler in the room.  That's okay, I don't mind being different.  The most important thing is that I know I'm doing what is right for my kids right now.  Things may change, but this is now.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a little bit more about what we do, as well as the why and how we do things this way.  I say Relaxed Homeschooling for simplicity, but I like to think I'm Relaxed Charlotte Mason.  Charlotte Mason was my first love, and I spent years researching it.  I began implementing age-appropriate methods from the beginning.  I believe Charlotte Mason is a beautiful philosophy, particularly for the preschool years, with it's informal and gentle introduction into the beauty of the world through nature, art, music and fine literature.  I've even written a series on Charlotte Mason Preschool.  However, I think the gentle rhythm of those preschool years can be used for older students, with an appropriate increase in intensity and structure.  I needn't be a purist to see and realize the beauty of a philosophy.  We still incorporate living books, nature study, copywork, art, music, narration and other elements of the Charlotte Mason method, but within the framework of our more Relaxed nature.

So, here is how Relaxed Homeschooling (with a Charlotte Mason flair) looks in our homeschool.  My Philosophy of Education, if you will.
  • Children are born to learn; they are always learning and we do not confine "school" to certain hours of the day, days of the week or or core subjects.  It's not just about the book learning.
  • Children learn at a unique developmental pace; no scope and sequence can define that.  I do not rush or hinder, or follow a specific sequence
  • Valuing the child's input about curriculum, topics of study and length of study helps them own the experience 
  • Exposure to new experiences, living ideas and interesting places encourages a wider breadth of learning and knowledge
  • Learning is a lifelong process; you cannot cram a certain body of knowledge into a child in 18 years and be "done" with education
  • Learning should be engaging and useful, not a chore or a checklist
  • We are a cultivating a family, not a student/teacher relationship
  • Recognizing and acting on teachable moments as they occur, so the moment is not lost
  • Flexibility is essential for growth of the children and the parents

What it comes down to, for me, is valuing the natural rhythm and needs of the child. 

Articles for further reading:
Relaxed Homeschooling:  An Interview with Dr. Mary Hood
The Relaxed Homeschooler by Pioneer Woman
The Relaxed Homeschool Mindset

Day 1:  What is Relaxed Homeschooling?
Day 2:  Masterly Inactivity, or Not Becoming a Helicopter Parent
Day 3:  Relaxed Homeschooling, A Day in the Life
Day 4:  Relaxed Homeschooling, Just Another Day
Day 5:  Relaxed Homeschooling on the Go

Throughout the week, I'm going to give you a peek into our day, so come back to see our relaxed approach in action!  Today, check out these other fabulous bloggers who are bringing you some amazing topics. . .

Lisa @ A Rup Life ~ Our Favorite Books
Melissa @ Life Off the Paved Road ~ Fit From Home
Michelle @ Faith, Family, and Fridays ~ Clearing Out the Clutter
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Educational Apps
Jenni @ Conversaving ~ Homeschool Cooperatives
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos ~ Celebrating Lent
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling ~ Spring Schooling
Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog ~ Christ Centered Character Training

Then head back over to the main hop to find even more interesting topics!

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  1. I am a textbook kind of gal, so this intrigues me! Looking forward to following you this week and seeing how you do things. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Michele, we do use some textbook/curricula, but not in a structured or formal type way. :)

  2. While we use textbooks, test and all I think our style is very relaxed. We just plow through a bit each week. Focusing on learning not just getting it done.

    1. Yes, I can honestly say I don't worry about "getting XYZ done by a certain date" so I never schedule anything anymore.

  3. Great post, and oh so true...though I'll admit, I have a hard time relaxing as much as I know I should. I have gotten a lot better than when we first started though!

    1. It does take time. I know this is the direction I want to go, but sometimes I still want more "control" than it requires!

  4. I love hearing how other families incorporate homeschool philosophies and make them their own. I am a Type A personality type and I could use some relaxed homeschooling. I have to agree with Jen Altman that I am much improved over the early years. We use Sonlight as our base curriculum so we have a schedule and a checklist:)
    Right now it works for us, but I am beginning to be much more relaxed about our time off and starting and ending date. I am even leaning toward year round schooling.

    1. I definitely think year-round schooling helps relax the schedule and the atmosphere!

  5. We sway between relaxed and more structured. After a winter season of relaxed I'm back to structured. I want to go back to relaxed!

    1. Yes, we have times where we're more parent directed, but for us it's in the winter! :) When the weather is nicer and we're traveling or just outdoors more, we're much more informal and unstructured!

  6. Oh man I love your philosophy! :) Sounds perfect to me.

    1. Why thank you! I'd love to have a chat with you about homeschooling! :)

  7. Really great series! Kids really do learn all day long.