As I mentioned in a previous post, Learning with Boys turns 1 year old this month. It’s been a great year and I’m so thankful for everyone who takes the time to read the blog regularly or just pop in for an idea or two.
So why do I blog? I’d been kicking around doing a post like this and when Lucinda at Navigating by Joy put her wonderful post out there I knew I wanted to answer this question. Before I started blogging I was always curious, why any one would take the time to maintain a blog? My initial assumption when I heard blogs described as an on-line diary was that bloggers were narcissistic. However, as I read homeschool blogs nothing could have been farther from the truth. The homeschool moms were supportive of each other even when they followed different paths. I found parents very similar to myself – parents who were open to new ideas and methods, who researched learning techniques and methods, and who sought to light the fire of life long learning.
1. Community I started the blog to feel more a part of the homeschool community. I’d been reading homeschool blogs for almost two years and I wanted to “join the conversation”. I love the way homeschool moms support each other by sharing experiences. Many of the books I’d read focused on the “why’s” of homeschooling and offered a broad picture. In the homeschool blogs, I was able to see the everyday experiences and challenges of homeschooling.
2. To encourage science and nature learning. I’m passionate about teaching children from young to old to enjoy science and to see it in all aspects of their lives. Learning about nature helps us find our place in the world.
Sometimes we do a lot of science learning with kits and experiments and other times we focus more on observation in nature. We focus on connections within and between nature, technology, and history.
Science is so much more than a list of vocabulary terms or a process to memorize. It requires time for children to explore and make connections between different disciplines. Few things sadden me more than seeing K and 1st grade children filling out worksheets about the life cycle of a frog without ever visiting a pond. When a reader comes to this blog, I hope they are inspired to get outside and explore the world with their child and to view that type of exploration as a necessity.
3. I love to write. I enjoy the process. Over the years I’ve filled notebook after notebook with my thoughts and scribbles. Writing is how I work out my thoughts and feelings to gain clarity. Until a year ago, I’d never really shared my writing with anyone. Even here, there are many drafts you never see. Those drafts are immensely valuable to me. They are where I refine my thoughts and opinions and sometimes overcome my worries.
4. To create a scrapbook. I’ve never been a crafty scrapbooker. I’ve tried. I really want a collection of photos that tell the stories. I sometimes put together a nice scrapbook on-line, but I never seem to order them. I love the discipline of taking photos and creating a weekly journal entry of what we are doing. When I look back, I remember all the fun we have together, and I can see growth and accomplishments for the year.
5. I blog to learn. A year ago I had no idea how to create content. I wanted to know I could do this. If I do start having ads or such, it will be because I’m curious how to set things up. I want to be able to help my FLL (FIRST Lego League) team create a webpage. As the boys grow older, I think the best way to interest them in writing may be through their own blogs.
6. I blog to keep creativity in our homeschool. Blogging creates accountability for me. It’s easy to get stuck in a homeschool rut. The exercise of writing about our projects / days helps me look at what we are doing from the outside. I will readily admit I sometimes say to the kids, “We haven’t done anything picture worthy all week. Would you like to do an experiment or go for a walk?” I almost always have some good experiments waiting in the wings, but it’s so easy to get bogged down in the everyday reading, math, and language arts.
7. To be an example to my kids. Blogging gives my kids a chance to see me enjoy writing and learning new skills. It’s hard to raise life long learners if we aren’t stretching and growing ourselves.
8. To show there’s an alternative to traditional schools and help open minds. I hope our story will show that all the standardized testing and reading from “readers” isn’t necessary. Yes, we still use some curriculum. Yes, we do standardized testing to meet state requirements, but the amount of testing is far less than traditional school.
We spend lots of time outside “in the field” and even more time reading books that are interesting to us. We watch documentaries on a wide variety of subjects and do experiments.
When we do the required standardized testing, the boys score exceptionally well. When I check the common core requirements, we have usually covered all of them.
Children have an amazing capacity to learn and grow without the coercion of testing and grading. They are interesting people who deserve a chance to learn about things they find interesting.
9. To show homeschool can be great for Dyslexic Children – I felt extreme trepidation stepping out of the traditional school environment and homeschooling our dyslexic son. It’s been an absolutely wonderful solution. We are able to focus on growth at an individual pace and make appropriate accommodations without convening a committee. We are able to spend extra time practicing sounds as a normal part of his day, not as a pull out or more likely as extra tutoring after a full day in school. I can adjust assignments on the fly depending on how he is feeling (sometimes eye strain is an issue). Certainly the individualized attention and pace is helpful for every child, but it seems even more helpful when dealing with dyslexia. In addition, outside the school system it is easy to appreciate dyslexia not as a learning disability, but as a difference in how the brain works.
Before I was a homeschool mom, I was an engineer. The part I loved most about my job was when I was able to share information with a customer that gave them a better understanding of how their system worked. I also enjoyed connecting customers with similar projects so they could help each other. I hope this blog provides information that helps other moms as well as providing connections.
Why do you visit homeschool blogs? Why do you blog? Why do you comment or what holds you back from commenting?