My homeschooling philosophy

This purports to be a homeschool blog so maybe I should have some information about my homeschooling philosophy.  I've been homeschooling for a while now; my kids are 13 and 11 and have never gone to school.  So I should have a philosophy, right?

I started out as a classical educator.  I read Susan Wise Bauer's The Well-Trained Mind and thought that was the perfect way to homeschool.  Then I discovered that my kid was not going to learn to read by age 5, despite everything the book said.  Rather than decide there was something wrong with my kid, or with me, I looked at other homeschooling books. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that not everyone learns to read by age 5!

So I became an unschooler.  No, not really.  Except sometimes, in some subjects.  My boy knows a lot about aviation.  He learned it on his own, after he became a proficient reader at about age 8 or so.  We didn't have a class on aviation; we never will.   My girl has taught herself a lot of art and craft techniques.  She gets books out of the library and tries to make things.  I buy her the supplies she needs and she gets to work.  I can't teach her these things.  I have sent her to art classes from time to time, but for the crafts she is mostly self-taught.  So we are unschoolers.

I also became a Charlotte Mason educator.  Miss Mason, as she is affectionately called, believed in (among other things) giving children time to learn on their own and enjoy their childhood.  She believed in great books and lots of reading, and time to study nature - I mean really study, as in go out and find bugs and plants and animals and draw them and learn about them.  I am not truly a Charlotte Mason educator, of course, but I follow some of her principles.  We read a lot of good books.  But we read our share of twaddle, too, because sometimes...  a little twaddle might be just what we need.

Though I dislike the term, I am also a relaxed homeschooler.  I have read Mary Hood's book and agree with many of her principles.  I like my kids to have leisure time.  I don't teach things that don't need to be taught.  My girl doesn't need spelling lessons, so she doesn't get them. Why waste my time?  So we are relaxed, except when we aren't.

A term I like better is "identity-directed homeschooler" which was coined, I believe, by the owners of the now-defunct Elijah Company homeschool internet store.  This just means knowing the child/student, his or her needs, interests, strong points, weak points, and educating according to that knowledge.

What I don't do is let my children lead in every aspect of their education.  I know that works for some people, but it doesn't work for us. 

I started this page a few months ago. As I'm finishing it up now, my kids are outside playing in the best snow we've had in years.  Earlier, we shoveled our neighbor's walkway and put down some ice melt so she can feel comfortable venturing out this afternoon.  Later, we'll read and do some Bible study and our math lessons and learn the Bill of Rights.  My boy will do some spelling work and my girl won't.  This afternoon my boy will go to a robotics club meeting (where he will learn more about robotics than I can ever teach him) and my girl will do some crafts.  Both kids will do some reading for Reading Olympics, a local (as far as I can tell) Jeopardy-like competition for which kids read books and then answer questions about them.

I guess today pretty much sums it up.